This week is Back Care Awareness Week (3rd – 8th October 2016), so with back pain being a common problem we thought we’d fill you in with our findings on the matter. With reports suggesting as many as eight out of ten of us will suffer from it at some point during our lives. Around 5.6 million working days in the UK are lost each year due to back pain, second only to stress.
Back pain includes sore muscles and tendons, slipped discs, fractures and other problems affecting the back. It can develop over a long period of time, or can result from an accident or heavy lifting.
Back pain ranks high on the list of self-inflicted ailments. We are all guilty for developing these bad habits which include: poor posture, overexertion, sitting incorrectly and lifting things incorrectly.
Do you want to take back control? Here are some useful “back pain” tips as to how…
Back pain is often linked to inadequate hydration, so drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary, refined foods and be sure to consume anti-inflammatory omega-3-rich fats. Research also finds white willow (Salix alba) bark and cayenne (Capsicum frutescens) useful for low back pain. Consider anti-inflammatory botanicals like boswellia, ginger, nettle, and turmeric as well.
For acute pain resulting from trauma, Arnica is a wonderful homeopathic medication that treats swelling, bruising, and pain, either taken under the tongue in pellets or applied topically. Rhus toxicodendron (or rhus tox) is a helpful homeopathic remedy for joint pain and arthritis that is improved by motion and worsened by rest and humidity. Other useful homeopathic remedies include Natrum sulph for injury or trauma to the area where the spine meets the lower part of the skull and Magnesia phos for back spasms after heavy lifting or straining the back.
Many people benefit from Yoga and Pilates. Pilates and Yoga both develop strength, balance, flexibility, posture and good breathing technique. Both systems emphasise the connection between physical and mental health, although yoga places more emphasis on relaxation and uses meditation.
Chiropractic treatment is effective in dealing with pain and as a preventive treatment because it relieves nerve pressure. The blood supply and detoxifying lymphatic drainage surround the nerve, bringing the body out of balance.
Osteopaths can use a wide range of gentle manual treatments depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis. They gently massage the soft tissues of your back or rhythmically “rock” the joints to release tension and sometimes gently manipulate the back to loosen the joints to the point where you may hear a “click” sound.
Stress management is critical, both in preventing and relieving pain (especially when it’s chronic). Try deep breathing, meditation, relaxation, and visualization techniques. Not only can these therapies help relieve stress but they also encourage good sleep habits.
Massage therapy is becoming more widely accepted in the medical community as a credible treatment for many types of back pain and/or as an adjunct to other medical treatments. Research shows that massage therapy has several potential health benefits for back pain sufferers, including:
- Increased blood flow and circulation, which brings needed nutrition to muscles and tissues. This aids recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or soft tissue injury (such as muscle strain).
- Decreased tension in the muscles. This muscle relaxation can improve flexibility, reduce pain caused by tight muscles and even improve sleep.
- Increased endorphin levels – the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. This mood enhancer can ease depression and anxiety, which can help reduce pain and speed recovery–particularly important for those suffering from chronic back or neck problems.
So, what are you waiting for? With so many remedial options out there, isn’t it time you saw the back of back pain?