When back pain flares up, it can make it hard to think about or do much of anything. In all likelihood, you want to grab your pain medication and lie down with a hot pad until the pain subsides. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option, especially if you have a full day of work or a long to-do list ahead of you. When back pain is persistent, it can reach the point that it affects your ability to work, do things you need to around the house, and so much more. If back pain is an issue for you, try these tips for fighting back pain naturally.
Heat and Cold
If you have access to a freezer and a microwave, you can provide yourself with a couple of quick, natural pain-relief options. Cold helps reduce inflammation, which can minimize pain caused when inflamed soft tissue presses against nerve endings. Cold is also valuable for working as a natural anesthetic; it helps slow down nerve responses, which dulls the pain you feel.
Heat, on the other end of the spectrum, helps encourage increased blood flow to the area, which can bring much-needed nutrients. Heat also helps inhibit pain messages, so even if the cause of the pain is still there, warming the sore area will help soothe some of those sensations. If you know you are prone to back issues, we recommend keeping a reusable freezable wrap and a microwave-safe hot pad at work and at home so you can find relief quickly when you need it.
Stretch It Out
Tight muscles, ligaments, and tendons can press against your joints and nearby nerves. This can be a common cause of back pain, so one good way to relieve that pain is to do some stretching and work to release those tight muscles. Muscles can become tight because of stress, poor posture, being overworked, or any number of other related reasons — and keep in mind that working a desk job is a big factor. Get up and move around every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the day to loosen stiff muscles. While you’re at it, take the time to stretch. Focus on areas that get stiff, but also include stretches to connected muscles like your hamstrings and the muscle groups of your shoulders. If you have an injury or ongoing health issue, check with your local chiropractor or physical therapist for exercises that will work with your body’s needs.
Distract Your Mind
Now, to be clear, we’re not advocating ignoring your pain. However, that being said, a little distraction can be a good thing — when done safely and after caring for your back pain, of course. After you’ve warmed up the hot pad and taken care of your immediate pain needs, it’s time to get your brain involved. If there’s nothing else to focus on but the pain, this can make the feelings seem worse. Find something that gets your brain fully engaged, like a crossword puzzle or conversation with someone, for example. That distraction can help the painful feelings seem less overwhelming.
Build Up Your Core
A major part of fighting back pain is something that can, and should, be done before pain has a chance to flare up. Building up strength helps give your spine the support it needs, which can help minimize pain flare-ups and ongoing issues. Building up the muscles of your core can help support your back muscles, meaning they won’t be as strained and providing some pain relief. Something as simple as sitting on an exercise ball for half an hour can go a long way toward strengthening your vital back-supporting muscles.
This last suggestion isn’t necessarily one you can do at your desk, but we have a feeling you’ll welcome the advice anyway. Go get a massage! Massage therapy is designed to help release tight muscles, which in turn will relieve pressure on joints and nerves. Regular massages can help keep those tight muscles at bay and provide you with longer-lasting relief from your back pain.
At Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa, our team includes physical therapy, chiropractic care, and massage therapy, as well as other modalities, so we can provide individualized, natural back pain relief. Contact our Peoria location to schedule your consultation for massage therapy and more.