80% of the population suffers from back pain at some time during their life. For many, it is a chronic problem without a specific cause that can be pinpointed. The American Chiropractic Association estimates that Americans spend $50 billion a year in search of relief.
Fortunately there are many ways to prevent and relieve back pain naturally without popping a pill. Most of these remedies are simple lifestyle adjustments that lead to a relaxed spine and relief from pain.
Remedy #1: Props And Devices That Promote Relaxation
The majority of back pain comes not from a dramatic injury or medical problem, but rather from day-to-day activities. We spend half of our day either commuting to work only to end up sitting at the desk looking at the computer for eight hours. With a simple inexpensive device, you can correct your posture and help alleviate back pain.
Poor posture is often the cause of back pain. Finding a good ergonomic chair is great, but most office workers don’t get the opportunity to pick a chair. Fortunately, you can turn most standard issue office chairs into one that supports good posture with a lumbar device.
For those who suffer from back and neck pain, there are also devices that when used for 20 minutes a day can relax muscles and relieve pain. Many manufacturers make neck relaxation props and neck and back orthotics that can help retrain muscles to hold the neck in a proper posture, which in turn helps the entire spine.
Remedy #2: Sleep On It
A good night’s sleep is essential to good health. A good mattress can make all the difference in alleviating back pain caused by unsupportive mattresses. Cervical pillows cradle the neck during sleep to relax muscles. Special pillows that provide support between the legs can help side sleepers to reduce pressure on their lower back, hips and knees.
Remedy #3: Get Moving
Exercise can be your back’s best friend or worst enemy. Often when people start a fitness regimen they want quick results, so they overdo it by either lifting too much weight, or using improper techniques that can actually do harm rather than help the spine. Whether you are a newbie or have worked out for a long time, hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions can be a good idea. The trainer has experience in training proper techniques that support spine health.
It’s also important to stretch properly before an intense run or workout to relax the muscles and not shock them into spasms.
Yoga is also a great exercise for many with chronic back pain. Regular classes provide relief, not just from stretching and moving, but also from the deep breathing techniques that are used in the practice.
Remedy #4: Relax
Sometimes relaxation is much easier said than done. Meditation has been widely used in holistic medicine for years, but now medical doctors are recognizing its benefits and suggesting it to patients.
There are several types of meditation to research and decide which is best. The easiest form to incorporate into your daily routine is mindfulness meditation, in which you focus on your thoughts, body and sensations while tuning everything else out. Many websites and YouTube videos are readily available for free to lead you through guided meditation, in as few as 10 minutes a day.
For those who feel meditation is a bit too “granola” or new age, simple deep breathing exercises can help. Its as easy as finding a quiet place and following these steps:
* Inhale. With your mouth closed and your shoulders relaxed, inhale as slowly and deeply as you can to the count of six. As you do that, push your stomach out. Allow the air to fill your diaphragm.
* Hold. Keep the air in your lungs as you slowly count to four.
* Exhale. Release the air through your mouth as you slowly count to six.
* Repeat. Complete the inhale-hold-exhale cycle three to five times.
Remedy #5: Eat Right
We are constantly bombarded with the mantra that “you are what you eat”, through the media and medical community to prevent a wide-spectrum of health issues. There are several steps to clean up your diet that can have a huge impact on the prevention of inflammation and pain.
* Eat organic when possible to avoid pesticides, toxins, antibiotics and hormones.
* Make sure you are getting enough essential fatty acids in your diet. Good sources come oily fish, seeds and nuts, and certain plant oils.
* A variety of fruits and vegetables that provide vitamins and nutrients essential to good health.
* A good balance of protein, whole grains and healthy fats.
* A daily multi-vitamin can assist in meeting your body’s nutritional requirements.
These five natural remedies may be your DIY approach to getting rid of that pain in your back. If your back pain is severe or persists its best to turn to a health practitioner who can take x-rays or use other techniques to diagnose if there is further treatment needed.