Back pain is a major problem in the United States. With the increase in the amount that people are expected to sit, it is likely to get worse. Your back was not meant to sit in a chair for eight, 10, or even 12 hours a day. However, this is the painful reality for many people.
As you start to notice back pain, you will see what a toll it has on your health. Back pain impacts every part of your life, and can easily make you miserable. While you may not be able to quit your desk job, there are things you can do to help improve the state of your back.
In the past, it was recommended that bed rest and taking it easy was the best way to recover from back pain. Doctors now realize that rest will only make it worse, and you and your back are much better off getting up and moving. Preventing and recovering from back pain can be done with several different strategies.
With the bed rest method debunked, other ideas have cropped up on the best way to manage back pain. When you are actively suffering from back pain, it may seem unreasonable to try to move around much. However, that movement is going to help your body heal.
When you stay in bed, and are generally sedentary, the muscles in your back do not get a chance to stretch and move. This can cause greater pain because of the stiffness and tightness. Not only does it hurt more, it can also make you prone to re-injury.
You will want to engage in some light activity to promote healing and movement. It does not have to be much, even just short walks can help you start feeling better. Be sure to listen to your body, and take breaks when you need to; the idea is to add some movement, not push or overextend your abilities.
If your back pain is not as severe, you can increase your exercise regime. Gentle stretching helps relieve tension in your back muscles, and strengthening your core can be a successful preventative measure. Yoga is a great method to include both core strength and stretching, and you can tailor your yoga experience to your level of fitness.
Much of the back pain you feel comes from tight and tense muscles. A deep massage can help alleviate pain caused from these stiff muscles. This massage will also promote the release of toxins that can be held deep in the muscle tissues, and increase the blood flow. Good circulation promotes healing, and can help your body recover from injury.
Posture and Ergonomics
Chronic back pain is usually made worse with poor posture. If you are a desk warrior, like many Americans working desk jobs, you may find that your back is more painful as your day progresses. This is a telltale sign that your desk and chair are not ergonomically optimized.
Many companies now hire professionals to adjust their employees’ desks to ensure the best comfort for the workers. They will look at how you sit, your own personal proportions, and analyze your desk habits. They will adjust things like desk height and monitor placement, as well as give you tips on how to reduce your back pain.
Even if you do not have a professional adjust your desk, there are still some things you can do to make your desk space more comfortable. Your back should rest comfortably in your chair, which includes your lumbar area. A quality desk chair will provide ample support of your lower back. Your chair should be low enough that your feet are flat on the ground and the desk height should allow your wrists and forearms to be straight when you use the keyboard.
There are also a number of habits that can help your back survive the work day. Getting up regularly can increase blood flow and reduce tightness in your back. It is also recommended that you pay attention to how you sit. Slumping is going to cause rounded shoulders, and also increase your back pain throughout the day. “Chin up and chest out” are easy to remember mental cues to keep your posture strong, and your back pain-free.
The reason that posture is so important is that your posture can shape the alignment of your back. When you back is not aligned properly, your muscles must compensate for that. This causes pain, stiffness, and even injury over a prolonged period of time.
While adjusting your posture is part of the long term solution, you are going to need to fix any issues you already have. A chiropractor is a doctor who specializes in the alignment of your skeletal system, and they can work with you to get things back where they belong.
It is common to feel discomfort after your first visits; your body needs to get used to being normal again. You may also find that you require several follow up appointments. If you have suffered from back pain for a long time, your body will take a little persuading to return to the correct alignment.
Your Back and You
Chronic back pain can reduce the quality of your life drastically. It will impact your work, your rest, and your leisure time. With all that back pain impacts, it is important that you take steps to take care of your back; allow your back to heal, and work on preventative measures.
Healing is done through loosening tight muscles, and letting them repair themselves. This is going to be most easily done if you engage in gentle exercises and stretching. You want to avoid time in bed, as this will increase tightness, which leads you to more pain and longer recovery time.
You are also encouraged to take part in activities that can prevent further injury. It is important that your core is strong because it protects your spine. It is also a good idea to look into any alignment troubles that could cause problems later, and adjust your posture. After you are healed and taken steps to prevent re-injury, you will find that your back and life see a great improvement.