According to a 2013 study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, almost one out of ten people in the world suffers from back pain (9.4% to be specific). What is more, the researchers concluded that chronic back pain causes more disability than almost 300 other medical conditions on a worldwide scale. As you can see, constant back pains can affect your ability to live a fully active life. Even though not all of the types of back pains can be treated without medication, there are still several things you can do to strengthen your back and relieve the pain without taking prescription drugs or getting a surgery.
1. Improve Your Posture
People with poor posture are in constant danger of developing a spinal curvature. Your spine has four curves that make up an “S” shape. Bad posture causes your spine to experience pressure and forces the curves to change their positions. Your spine has the ability to absorb shock and keep you balanced. However, if the spinal position changes, this ability is compromised. In addition, poor posture does not only affect your physical health, it can also affect you mentally. A study published in the Health Philosophy found that you could lift your mood and lower your stress levels by sitting up straight during the working hours.
2. Eat More Greens
While everyone knows that calcium is key for solid bones, according to the National Institute of Health, researchers have identified something else your body needs – vitamin K. This vitamin (found mostly in dark leafy greens such as broccoli and spinach) makes your bones denser by helping the calcium deposit in them. Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, a neuropathic doctor and a best-selling author, estimates that nearly 80% of the people in the United States do not get enough vitamin K in their diet. The inclusion of broccoli in your eating habits can strengthen your body and lower the chances of back injuries.
3. Change Sleeping Positions
Just by making a few simple changes to your sleeping positions, you can take the pressure off your back. Firstly, you have to think about your mattress. While you may enjoy sleeping on a hard mattress, it is probably not be the best option for you. According to the “Mobility and Independence” report from the Harvard Medical School, people who sleep on harder mattresses experience the poorest sleep quality and usually have longstanding back problems. In addition, if you sleep on the side, you should pull your legs toward your chest and put a pillow between your knees.
4. Get Some Exercise
Even though an intense exercising routine can aggravate acute back pain, light aerobics exercises such as swimming, walking and cycling can relieve back pain. A 10-week study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that a moderate aerobic workout reduces the need for physical therapy. In addition, having strong core muscles will protect your back from injuries, and specialists recommend that you should do at least two to three core-strengthening exercises every week.
5. See a Chiropractor
Chiropractic treatment is one of the most popular back pain relief alternatives – over 20 million of citizens in the United States visit chiropractors every year. The hands-on spinal manipulation treatment is mostly used to treat injuries caused by a traumatic event and repetitive stress. Many chiropractors include rehabilitation and nutritional counseling into their treatments. For example, a Sydney chiropractor Jackie Costan developed a “take care home” program, which allows the patients to have the treatment in the comfort of their own home.
Nearly anyone experiences back problems at some stage in their life, in fact, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults experience it during their lifetime. However, the good news is that most of time, with the right exercise and diet regime, the pain goes away after a few weeks. In most cases, simple self-help strategies such as the ones we mentioned above are shockingly effective at preventing chronic back pain.