Up to 80 per cent of us will experience back pain in our lives, so it’s important we take care of the problem as soon as it starts – we all want to be as active as long as we can. If you have mild to severe back pain and have tried everything, there are some simple tips that may see a reduction in your pain. Here are the best ways to relieve your back aches:
1. Gentle exercise
Some will tell you that lying down and resting is the best way to cure a hurt back, but sometimes this can make it worse. Try some gentle stretches or a slow walk, even doing it on days you don’t have pain.
2. Aquatic therapy and hydro pools
If you have chronic back pain, hydro pools are a great way to sooth the aches. The water helps to get rid of the strain and to strengthen muscles while you float. The heat also encourages relaxation so you can get a gentle massage while you’re in the water.
It might sound like a bit of a cliche but yoga, tai chi or pilates are all great forms of exercise. Beginner classes focus on certain parts of the body and teachers will accommodate to any issues you have. These practices are very relaxing and can also help with anxiety and stress, which can sometimes be the cause for back pain.
4. Healthy weight
If you weigh more, chances are your back will be taking a lot of that strain. Some people find just eating healthily will reduce the pain they feel in their back and can even stop taking medications. Speak to your doctor or a nutritionist about what works for you
5. Maintain a good posture
Your mum always told you to sit up straight but for good reason! Your back can get strained easily, even if you bend over a sink or lean down to talk to the grandkids for a short time. When you’re sitting down, make sure you aren’t slumping over, pretending there is an invisible thread pulling your head up straight. Yoga (as mentioned above) can help with posture problems.
6. See an osteopath
Osteopaths focus on how your skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves and circulation work together to improve your health and wellbeing. They can massage and stretch your back muscles so you can feel fabulous sooner.
7. Sleep properly
It’s not just about the hours, it’s also about the position and type of bed you have. How many times have you woken up with a back ache? It might be time to change your mattress. If you do have a supportive mattress, try these tips:
- Back sleepers should put pillows under their knees.
- Side sleepers should place pillows between their knees to keep their spine in a neutral position.
- Stomach sleeping causes the neck and head to twist and can put undue stress on the back.
8. Electric stimulation
You may have seen a TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator) machine before – they transmit low-voltage current through electrodes that are attached to your skin. They have varying results but a lot of patients swear by them, with a theory saying that this safe type of pain relief scrambles pain messages to the brain so your brain cannot feel anything.
Remember to ask your doctor if you’re unsure of where to start or have any concerns.
Do you have back pain? What do you do to stop it? Have you tried any of these remedies? Tell us if you have any other tips to add!