In just one minute, the lower back could be in terrible pain, and that’s the price we pay for evolution. Harmless movement, tilt, body rotation and you are not able to bend over, turn around or straighten your back. Blocking all your vital and future plans, this pain is really frightening. Alas, this often happens to many of us. It’s a fee for being able to walk on your feet. But is there no workaround?
Let’s get this over with. Every moment our body experiences gravity. Our spine literally squeezes when we work in the office sitting at a table. It suffers when we ride in transport, overwhelmed when we unknowingly lean in the wrong direction to lace up our shoes.
Weakness and limb numbness are the symptoms that should not be ignored. Few people can boast they have never experienced back pain, especially after reaching the age of 40. Pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, from normal muscle spasm to destruction of the spine caused by osteochondrosis. In addition, many different diseases can directly damage nerve fibers, destroying the processes of nerve cells, especially their “protective covers” – myelin sheath.
As a result, peripheral neuropathy (pain syndrome) is in the first place. Due to the damage of myelin sheath, which protects the nerve from external influences, feeds it, and accelerates the nerve impulse, nerve cells become excessively excitable, so a painful impulse may be caused by even a minimal and insignificant impact.
Typical symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are tingling, burning, itching, feeling goosebumps, loss of sensitivity or cutaneous/cold sensitivity. What do you do if you have “shots” or a persistent painful severity in your back?
Diagnosis of neuropathic pain requires a particularly thorough examination. Despite the fact that it occurs quite often (7-8% of people), it is still underestimated and requires adequate treatment. As a result, a person suffers from chronic pain which reduces the ability to work, worsens sleep, and quality of life in general. Of course, the first thing to do is to see a doctor. Assume you have undergone an examination (MRT scan) and the cause/treatment is clear. What’s next? Is there anything you can do to alleviate the pain and prevent it from recurring (of course, in addition to what your doctor has recommended)?
When it comes to a health matter, it’s best to prevent all the risks in advance. You don’t have to bring your back to such a state. Plus, it’s quite easy to avoid. Follow the simple rules below and witness the result.
Keep your body healthy, control your weight, do exercises, avoid sedentary lifestyle to prevent back muscle weakening and the associated risk of injury. The more you move, the healthier you are.
2. Do exercises
Start your morning not with Facebook, but with joint and muscle warm-ups. Do simple exercises with your legs and hands, stretch before you get up (do it without sudden movements). 10-15-minute exercise normalizes blood pressure and improves lymph/blood circulation in the body. In addition, warm-ups will cheer you up and prepare you for new challenges in public transport or traffic jams. But if you are used to getting to work by bike or on foot, you will be double charged!
Any exercise must be painless. If you have even minor painful feelings, you should stop. The most important thing is to relax. To do this, you need to lie down on your stomach. The floor must be flat and hard. After a few minutes, you need to turn over carefully on your back and raise your legs, locking at them at a right angle. That’s how you relieve the load from the spine.
Whoever called you, do not rush to stand up after the exercises. Turn to the right/left side and slowly, leaning on your hand, stand up. No massages, rolls or needles can replace the exercises. It is physics that pumps the “inner” muscles of the back.
You can add some strength exercises, e.g. working with lightweight adjustable dumbbells will be useful for the upper back and shoulder girdle; quiet lifts and twists not only pump the press but also involve deep muscles of the spine.
Don’t forget to add flexibility exercises. Stretching improves muscle elasticity and joint mobility. Regular back flexibility stretches, chest and shoulder girdle exercises simultaneously involve the spine, improve your posture, and help get rid of back pain.
Swimming, running (with shock-absorbing insoles and special sports footwear), and skiing will also be useful.
3. Quit smoking
The nicotine contained in cigarettes disrupts the water balance in the intervertebral discs, making them brittle and vulnerable. This is another reason to break up with the bad habit.
4. Understand the reasons
It is useful to understand what provokes another pain attack. The pain appears when the back is stressed, e.g. when lifting weights. In addition, pain can be caused by incorrect posture, stress, metabolic imbalance, hypothermia, infection and intoxication (including alcohol).
If this is the first time you have back pain, you may be able to do the usual thing, overcoming pain and discomfort. But in this case, you should rest your back and take painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. If you also feel numbness, weakness, and leg pain, be sure to consult a doctor.
5. Keep your back straight
Many people have to sit for a long time during their days. According to this article about lower back pain on thehomedweller blog, make sure your chair is ergonomic (has a lumbar and head/neck support). Control the position of your back. Set your PC screen at about eye-level, slightly tilted upwards. The chair seat height should make your legs, bent at a right angle, feel comfortable. Do not lean far back/forward. Press your back against the backrest. Change your leg position every 15 minutes, stretch.
Stand and walk correctly. Stand up against a wall and touch it with the back of your head, blades, buttocks, and heels. When walking and standing, you should try to maintain this position.
When carrying heavy objects, do not lean over or turn your torso.
Do not bend over when cleaning, use a vacuum cleaner handle and mop extension (do not wash the floor on your knees).
Do not carry heavy bags in one hand. Distribute your purchases evenly in two bags.
Do not carry a bag over your shoulder. A backpack with two straps is more useful for your back.
No matter how difficult it may seem, try to always control your posture while sitting and keep your back in the right position. Can’t keep track? Ask your colleagues for mutual supervision and let everyone “correct” you.
6. Take breaks
Regular short breaks are better than a single big one. Get up every half an hour (or hour) to take a couple of minutes to take a walk and relieve the spinal column tension that inevitably occurs when sitting for a long time. Once every 40-45 minutes it is better to give your nerves a break, get up and stretch your back.
7. Minimize the use of laptops and smartphones
It may seem ridiculous and false, but a laptop is the worst ergonomic invention in the world. Smartphones aren’t much better, since we unwittingly turn our heads sideways, while using it, which leads to a steady tension in the neck. Use a headset.
Strengthen your lumbar region
“Pump” your core. Combine twisting on abdominal muscles (abdominal wall muscles) and stretches (hyperextension).
8. Sleep right
Sleep on your side on a flat, hard surface. Such “embryo” position allows you to relieve tension from the back. A cushion placed between the legs will relieve the tension from the knees. The wrongest posture is sleeping on your stomach which increases spine tension.
Check if your mattress is to blame for your troubles. Experts believe that it is best to sleep on a medium hardness orthopedic mattress, contrary to popular belief about the usefulness of hard beds. Check its wear. A mattress older than 6-8 years should be replaced with a new one.
You can also lie down on a bolster (put under your lower back) and stretch your hands and legs.
9. Avoid certain movements and loads
Try not to bend over, keeping your back as straight as possible. If you work out in the gym, do not make presses in the vertical axis, avoid weight squats, shoulder presses, twists on the press. Do not run.
10. Speed up your recovery
If back pain allows you to move, allow it to work in a safe mode. Walk or swim. This will relieve the spine without the risk of getting worse.
11. Eat well
It is better to completely eliminate salt (NaCl) from the diet or at least replace it with sea salt. It is the inorganic salt that causes the fossilization of the spine. Keep an eye on the balance of magnesium and potassium in your diet. Consume nuts, fish, seafood, spinach, cabbage, beans, peas, grapes, apples, strawberries, pears, lentils, hazelnuts, pumpkin, green salad, and raspberries.
Here’s what else you can try in case you have back pain. Warm up the muscles of your back. To do this, take a bath with mustard. Dilute 3.5 oz of dry powder in 39 oz of boiling water and pour into the tub. Lie down for 15 minutes and then make a moist heat.
You can also remove severe pain with a simple cold application. It will not provide complete deliverance but will ease the condition. It can be a product from your freezer, an ice pack, etc.
Don’t forget that a healthy back is a movement. And the movement is life.