Whether it's lower back pain, sciatic nerve pain or a slipped disc, back pain is the most common pain to experience at some point in your life. A shocking 30 million working days were lost to musculoskeletal problems including back pain, neck pain and upper limb problems in the UK in 2016.
According to studies back pain can affect us at any age but those aged around 50 and over are the most likely to suffer with around 4.2 million working days being lost by those aged 50-64 years-old alone.
These figures led to health experts warning that the increases in sedentary lifestyles are to blame, according to statistics the average Briton can spend can spend around 6.5 hours a day sat in front of a computer.
If your back is particularly bothering you try taking a break and rest for a while but don’t stop moving entirely, Web MD recommends slowly returning to do activities whilst avoiding any that may aggravate your back pain.
The health and medical website also says that studies have shown that bed rest doesn’t relieve back pain and that it can be more beneficial to stay active. They explain that this is due to the fact that bed rest can make your back worse and can lead to other complications, such as stiff joints or muscle weakness.
Following on from above, it is easy to think that your best course of action from suffering with back pain is to simply rest and refrain from staying active, however the NHS recommend staying active as it may help to make your recovery quicker.
This could range from simply walking around the house, to every day errands such as walking to the shops. At first you may experience some discomfort so slowly doing more each day might help to improve the pain.
You can try alternating between both hot and cold treatments. Everyday Health explains that cold treatment is usually best for a fresh injury, like a bruise or a sprain.
For example using an ice pack or frozen vegetables be effective in relieving the pain you’re suffering from; don’t put ice directly on your skin as it may cause a cold burn, simply wrap the ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables in a cloth before placing it on your skin.
Whereas for chronic/reoccurring pain this may be best treated through heat such as a hot bath or a hot water bottle. This helps to relieve your back pain by helping to open up your blood vessels, which will increase the amount of blood in the area that contain oxygen and nutrients to help with the healing process.
By changing your sleeping position you may be able to reduce some of the strain on your back and as a result it might help to ease the pain.
The NHS recommend trying the following:
If you sleep on your side, draw your legs up slightly towards your chest and put a pillow between your legs. If you sleep on your back, placing pillows under your knees will help maintain the normal curve of your lower back.
It may be worth evaluating what it is you’re doing that is aggravating your back pain; this could help to prevent any further episodes.
It is not uncommon to suffer from back pain if you are overweight, have poor posture or suffer from stress. To avoid these causes of back pain try a daily dose of exercise as it may help to keep your back healthy and strong.
Try doing activities that are enjoyable and that benefit you without worsening your pain.
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