If you experience constant back pain, you are not alone. 80% of adults have reported some kind of back pain at one point in their life. Because our lifestyles are becoming more and more sedentary, bad posture and lack of movement both contribute to increasing back pain and immobility. If you suffer from back pain, there are still some great, healthy ways to ease pain and improve your lifestyle.
One of the easiest ways to alleviate continuing back pain is to perform daily stretches. Stretching works because the movement of muscles increases blood flow and reduces pressure on the intervertebral discs, which are the spongy sacs that cushion your vertebrae. Popular stretches include twisting, pulling, and pushing motions that are designed to ease tension and get regular hydration to your intervertebral discs. The next time you experience back pain, try these stretches for immediate relief. Of course, if you experience any sharp pain while performing these stretches, stop and see your regular physician:
- Child’s Pose
- Place your knees on the floor with the tops of your feet resting behind your bottom. Fold forward with your hands reaching outwards until your forehead meets the floor. Hold for up to 10 seconds.
- Prone Back Twist
- Lay on your back with your arms in a T position. Place one knee to the opposite side of the body, next to the other side of your hip. You should feel a twist in your lower back. Repeat on the other side.
- Legs Up the Wall
- Find an empty wall and lay with your feet closest to the wall. Pick your feet up and slide them up the wall until your bottom is also against the wall. Splay your hands out in a T position. Hold for at least 10 seconds.
- Pigeon Stretch
- From a plank position, place one thigh on the floor with your shin perpendicular to your body. Rest your body weight down to the floor until you feel a stretch in your upper hip and in your lower back. You can rest your upper body on the floor for a more intense stretch. Repeat on the other side.
As mentioned before, your intervertebral disks maintain the cushion in your spine, giving your spinal cord room to breathe. The intervertebral discs are fluid-filled, which allows them to keep their shape. If you don’t drink enough water, the discs may not be getting the hydration they need. A healthy adult consumes an ounce of water for every pound they weigh. Try to carry a water bottle with you at all times as a reminder to stay hydrated: your discs will thank you in the long run.
3. Sleeping Positions
Your sleeping position can also have a large effect on how your back feels throughout the day. If you sleep on your side or stomach without any support, you may be putting your back at a larger risk for pain. Holding up your lower back and extremities is a great way to lengthen and support your spine.
Consider your mattress: is it more than 6 years old? If the answer is yes, it may be time to search for a new mattress. Purchasing a bed that comes with built-in support mechanisms specifically tailored for back pain, like the Saatva Hybrid mattress, will improve your lifestyle drastically. Reverie has the best adjustable mattress on the market right now: their DreamCell technology and adjustable bases offer customizable support. For back pain, sleep on your back or side with more support underneath your knees to adjust the lower back and alleviate pressure on your spine.
Finally, exercise is a great way to get your blood pumping and improve your back mobility. Research has shown that regular aerobic exercise, or cardio, improves back pain considerably in respondents who previously experienced back pain. In addition to providing much-needed blood flow and strength of the muscles surrounding your spine, upright or supported cardio, like jogging, the elliptical machine, and the seated bicycle improve your posture. Any exercise is great for your overall health, and shedding some pounds with a good diet and regular exercise can reduce the weight that your spine has to bear, which also soothes chronic back pain.
With these 4 tips, you should be able to alleviate your back pain naturally. Keeping a healthy lifestyle with water, exercise, and good quality of sleep will improve every aspect of your life, in addition to the overall welfare of your spine.
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