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5 ways to help relieve your back pain

Did you know that back pain is the most common pain to experience at some point in your life?  A shocking 10 million of working days were lost to back pain in 2014 with it costing us about 1 billion in lost earnings1. 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 alone.  

These figures led to health experts warning that the increases in sedentary lifestyles are too blame, according to statistics the average Briton can spend can spend almost around 4 hours a day sat in front of a computer1. Need inspiration to reducing your sedentary lifestyle? Read 4 ways to help implement a healthier lifestyle.   

Here are 5 ways that could help you to relieve your back pain…

Take a break – If your back is particularly bothering you try taking a break and rest for a while but don’t stop moving entirely, Web MD2 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.  

Keep moving – 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, in fact the NHS3 recommend staying active as it may help to make your recovery quicker. Staying active 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.

Hot or cold treatments – You can try alternating between both hot and cold treatments.  Everyday Health4 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 may be best treated through heat such as a hot bath or a hot water bottle 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.   

Change the position you sleep in – 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 recommends 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.”3

Evaluate your lifestyle – 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.   

Find out more about back pain causes and treatment.  

Sources

1. The Express - Millions of working days lost to back pain - and it costs us £1BILLION a year

2. Web MD - Upper and Middle Back Pain - Home Treatment

3. NHS – Treating back pain

4. Everyday Health - How do you know when to apply heat or cold to relieve pain?

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