At some point in your life, you may have suffered from back pain. The pain, when left untreated, becomes chronic. This is why it’s necessary to pay attention to what your body is telling you.
It’s crucial to note, however, that this pain is a symptom and not an actual diagnosis. As a neuroscientist and an osteopath, I highly recommend consulting with your doctor if you are experiencing chronic back pain so the underlying cause can be addressed immediately.
Obviously, back pain is often uncomfortable and saying that it is terrible is an understatement. A mere back pain can lead to more pains in other parts of the body such as your knee, shoulder, neck and arms.
Prolonged sitting or inactivity can be literally painful. People whose job involves staying in front of the computer for hours or standing for a long time are prone to this. If you’re experiencing back pain, you might want to try these 5 simple habits to help you relieve discomfort or get rid of it before it escalates completely.
Stretch and exercise. Upon waking up and before sleeping, always do some stretching. My personal favorite is practicing yoga and doing poses such as cat cow, bridge pose and downward-facing dog. Stretching and daily exercise even if it’s low impact helps soften stiff joints and relax the muscles. It also helps release stagnant energies you accumulated throughout the day.
Again, it’s important to consult with your doctor as there are certain exercises that can aggravate your existing back pain.
Avoid sitting for too long. Our body is not designed to sit or lie down in one position for hours straight. This leads to posture problems. My personal trick used to be setting my alarm every 30 minutes so I’d be reminded to stand up and move around. Now that my body is used to it, I don’t need any alarm and it just becomes a habit.
Have a break from gadgets. When I started my “digital diet” for 4 hours a day, my back pain was gone. Of course, there are other factors that contributed to this healing but this one is certainly one of those. Bending your head to use your phone stresses your neck and cervical spine. You’re doing your spine and yourself a huge favor by letting go of gadgets even for a short while. This practice deserves a “heart” from you so share it with your friends and loved ones.
Consume natural anti-inflammatory foods. Back pain is not only caused by bad posture. Most of the time, inflammation is the real culprit. Eating fruits, green leafy vegetables and foods such as turmeric which naturally decreases swelling are highly advisable.
Pay attention to your emotional and mental health. Pain is oftentimes a physical manifestation of what’s going on inside us. By inside I mean our conscious and subconscious feelings and thoughts. Stress can be tricky and the things you often have to deal with end up being suppressed most of the time. Your brain stores this trauma in your system to help you cope with it and the more this sits inside you for a long time, the deeper the pain and suffering.
Manage your stress by talking about it with trusted family and friends. If this is not your kind of support system, help can also be found through speaking with professional mental health practitioners, psychologists and therapists. Make time for yourself by doing your favorite hobbies and unwinding to let go of daily worries. Don’t forget to prioritize your mental health because if this is not good then there’s no such thing as overall wellness.
Remember that pain is not always a bad thing because it is an indication that your body is warning you of something. There are many everyday little things that can contribute to your back pain. At the same time, there are everyday simple activities that you can also incorporate into your routine for you to live a healthier life. It’s always easier said than done but certainly not impossible.