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Need help to relieve back pain?

A sore and stiff back will affect just about everyone as some point in our lives, in fact the number is as high as 8 out of 10 people. Your back holds your whole body up right and only really ever gets a rest when you lay down, all this work it gets through eventually takes its toll on your back. Many people just accept that they will be a victim of back pain for the rest of their life so accept medication as their only option. However medications can have nasty side effects on your health so relying on them isn’t a reccomended, but what else can you do?

What causes back pain?

A lot of back pain is caused by muscle and ligament injuries when you have overstretched them, this causes strains and sprains. It becomes even more complicated if your muscle fibres tear and especially if you damage your ligaments and tendons, as your joints become less protected and accelerates the wear and tear that occurs as part of the natural ageing process. These injuries can happen to anyone at any time, you don’t have to be an athlete, it could be down to lifting heavy items incorrectly or even just bending down to tie your shoe laces. It might not feel like you’re hurt at the time but these little strains all add up over a lifetime and eventually takes its toll if you don’t do anything to prevent it.

Not all back problems are the direct result of movement that injures you. If you have back pain you should also consider other aspects of your lifestyle. Being overweight will put added pressure and stress on your spine, smoking can cause tissue damage in the back which weakens it, the extra weight you carry in pregnancy can add strain to your back and if you are stressed out, your back muscles can tense up which causes pain. Even viral infections like influenza can cause back pain. All of these factors should be considered if you suffer from back pain and want to treat it.

When push comes to shove though, most damage to your back is usually developed over time, caused by degenerative change and ageing. It’s a fact – age will get us all in the end!

Preventing Back Pain

When you have back pain it can make you feel like curling up into a ball or lying flat on your back and not moving, ever! However, more often than not, you should try to keep active and keep moving. It might be your instinct to rest as much as possible and avoid painful movement, but it can actually be counterproductive, getting yourself moving as soon as possible is actually very good for your back. It is widely believed that those people who remain active are likely to recover more quickly from muscle and joint problems, in particular back problems. Which exercises you do are going to depend on the cause, location and severity of your pain, but the main thing to do is move, as inactivity can make your back pain worse.

Even light and gentle exercises can improve the muscle strength and flexibility which will both improve and relieve back pain. Exercising will also allow your body to recover more quickly as more blood, which carries more nutrients will be forced into the muscles.

Watch the video for some suggestions of exercises you should do...

(Source http://www.nhs.uk/Video/Pages/Backstretches.aspx)

You know your body better than anyone else so you should always modify each exercise to your level of comfort and stop doing any that make your pain worse.

In addition to aerobic exercise, yoga and Pilates are known to be beneficial for back pain. Find out the health benefits of yoga here!

As well as exercise, it would also be beneficial to improve your posture as over time, poor posture can lead to muscle imbalance, pain, and discomfort. Becoming aware of your posture is the first step in preventing injury and doing exercise is important for maintaining your posture. If you have a job that requires you to be sat in one place for long periods then the chances are your posture will be bad, hence the need to stretch every time you stand up. Small adjustments to the way you sit can correct these posture issues and the pain that is a result. The BackJoy SitSmart Posture Plus placed on your office chair will automatically adjusts your posture without you even needing to think about it.

Sometimes you may be looking for something quick to just temporarily soothe pain, heat therapy works perfectly for this and is completely drug free. Appying heat to muscles and joints encourages blood flow and increases circulation which soothes pain whilst also aiding recovery. The Hot/cold Back Support Wrap can be quickly heated in the microwave and wraps comfortably round your back for relaxing and soothing treatment. For an even more relaxing form of pain relief treat yourself to a home massager!

If you are uncertain about exercise, check with your GP first, but don’t avoid it, as its benefits negate any of the negatives. It’s important you don’t let fear of pain keep you from trying gentle activity. Start your exercises gently and increase them gradually. Too little activity can lead to loss of muscle flexibility, strength and endurance – which will only lead to more pain and further problems!

Most people accept back pain and a life of medication as the norm but you don't have to!

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