The Nine Most Common Sources of It
and Natural Steps to Remedy It
Back pain is extremely common, with four out of five adults facing it at least once during their lives, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Most back pain is caused by overusing, straining or injuring the muscles and ligaments in your back — while doing routine, everyday things!
And a nationwide phone survey of over 1,200 Americans, sponsored by Stanford University Medical Center, ABC News and USA Today, found that back pain was the most common type of pain reported (followed by knee and shoulder pain, joint pain and headaches).
Because your back is part of your body’s core muscles, and is necessary for nearly every movement you make, it’s also very vulnerable to injury. In fact, most back pain is caused by overusing, straining or injuring the muscles, ligaments and disks that support your spine.
Back pain, therefore, commonly results from:
- Poor posture
- Sitting at a desk all day
- Lifting something heavy improperly
- A sudden, awkward movement (such as from sneezing)
- Sleeping on an uncomfortable, or unsupportive, mattress, or in an awkward position
- Carrying around a heavy handbag or backpack
- Being overweight
Relieving Back Pain Naturally
Surveys have found that more than half of Americans are suffering from physical pain that leads to stress and irritability, and has a negative impact on their personal relationships, work productivity and daily routine.
Fortunately, there are many natural tools within your reach that can help you relieve back pain and support a healthy spine.
- Use Proper Posture. This includes while standing or sitting. How do you know if your posture is proper? Stand with your back to a wall. If your shoulders, bottom and back of head are all touching the wall, then your posture is correct.
Exercise not only strengthens your back, making it less prone to injury, it also prompts your body to release endorphins, which block pain signals from reaching your brain.
- Get a New, Medium-firm Mattress. An old, lumpy or overly soft mattress could be causing you unnecessary pain. Studies show that a medium-firm mattress is best if you have back pain.
- Lose Weight. If you’re overweight, you’re straining your back muscles with every move you make.
- Exercise Regularly. Low-impact exercises such as aerobics, yoga, swimming and walking will increase the strength in your back and help your muscles to function better.Further, according to the Mayo Clinic, exercise also helps relieve pain by prompting your body to release chemicals called endorphins that actually block pain signals from reaching your brain.
“Endorphins are the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals that in many cases are more powerful than morphine,” says Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
- Be Careful when Lifting. If you’re lifting something heavy, let your legs, not your back, do most of the work.
- Stretch Regularly. Stretching helps to reduce tension in your muscles, improve flexibility and range of motion, and may slow the degeneration of your joints. The act of stretching alone will also improve your blood circulation and help you to relax — a key to pain relief.
- Get a Massage. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) says massage therapy helps patients become more aware of their bodies and the sources of pain. It also better familiarizes patients with the pain they experience, and improves confidence by encouraging patients to effectively cope with their pain.
- Make a Chiropractic Appointment… Chronic Pain May Not Be Coming From Where You Think? As Dr. Fabrizio Mancini stated on the TV show “The Doctors”, your pain “may not be coming from where you think it is.” In fact if you have back pain it very well might be coming from your neck… or your back and neck pain may have the same origins.
- Reduce Inflammation in Your Body. When your body is in a chronic state of inflammation, the inflammation can lodge in your muscles, joints and tissues. Over time, this can lead to physical pain, as well as a number of diseases including heart disease. Emotions (too much stress), diet and lifestyle all contribute to inflammation.
One of the safest, low-risk things you can do to lower your risk of inflammation is to modify your lifestyle and dietary choices. This means eating a variety of anti-inflammatory foods (fruits and vegetables), limiting or avoiding all together the pro-inflammatory foods (highly processed foods, high-sugar foods, trans fats, etc.), exercising and quitting smoking (if you do).