Back pain is a common problem that many people throughout the world suffer from. It can rear its ugly head in various forms, from stiffness and shooting pains in the lower back, to tension and burning in the neck and shoulder area. The cause of the pain can be as a result of issues with muscles, nerves, joints or even discs. Most annoying; there often isn’t any warning before back problems strike and even a relatively minor injury can be felt for several weeks. Those that suffer more chronic problems can be in pain for upwards of 6 weeks, either intermittently or on a constant basis. In such instances it is not uncommon for the pain to spread into other areas of the body, such as the arms and legs. If you suffer from back pain then there are a few steps that you can take to help alleviate the problem or avoid it in the first place.
One of the key triggers of back pain can be an inappropriate sleeping posture. Whether you prefer to sleep on your side or your back, a good firm mattress and pillow is a must. The mattress should help to fill the gap between the neck and the head; keeping the head and spine aligned. Try not to sleep with your arm at shoulder height with your head rested on it, as this can cause problems around the neck and shoulders.
Exercising and monitoring your weight
In order to lessen the pressure put on your back you should try to make sure that your weight is as close to your ideal weight as possible. Alongside a healthy diet, you should try to do some gentle exercise. Avoid high impact exercise, such as running, which could inflame any back problems. A particularly good activity for back pain is swimming, as the water provides support to the body whilst you exercise. It is also a great way of putting your body through a range of movements, which can help relax muscles and loosen joints.
Hot and cold treatment
If your back pain causes inflammation in any areas then you can apply ice to help reduce the swelling. Where you have stiffness, cramping or muscles spasms you should instead apply heat to the area. Wheat bags that can be warmed up in the microwave are great for heat treatment.
Protecting yourself at work
If you work in an office then it is important to have a good posture at your desk. Everything from how high your screen is positioned, to how far from your body the keyboard is set should be taken into account. If you raise the issue with your employer then they should provide you with a work base assessment to review how you sit. It may be that you need an ergonomic chair to offer your back support in order to avoid recurring problems.
In more physical jobs where you are likely to be lifting heavy items then it is of course always important to lift properly; bending from the knee and not the back. Also try to share the burden of lifting heavy items with a colleague.
Seeking professional help
If your back pain does not abate after following the guidance above then it may be time to seek professional assistance. Choosing the right professional to alleviate your pain can be a problem in itself; do you need an Osteopath, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or Massage Therapist? Your best option is to look for a clinic that specialises in all of these areas and then arrange a consultation. The fact that they can provide the right treatment, whatever it may be, means that they will not try to pressure you into a service that is unlikely to help you. It will also save you a lot of time, hassle and money and ensure that your problem is addressed quickly.
Article is provided courtesy of Freedom Clinics – providers of a range of medical services in the UK. If you are in need of physiotherapy in Leeds or throughout the north of England then visit their site today.