Perhaps you bent the wrong way while lifting something heavy. Or you're dealing with a degenerative condition like arthritis. Whatever the cause, once you have pain, it can be hard to shake. And almost everyone can expect to experience pain at some point in their lives.
Sometimes, it’s clearly serious: You were injured, or you feel numbness, weakness, or tingling in the legs or arms. Call the doctor, of course. But for routine and mild pain, here are a few simple tips to try at home.
Chill it. Ice is best in the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury because it reduces inflammation. Even though the warmth feels good because it helps cover up the pain and it does help relax the muscles, the heat actually inflames the inflammatory processes. After 48 hours, you can switch to heat if you prefer. Whether you use heat or ice -- take it off after about 20 minutes to give your skin a rest. If pain persists, talk with a doctor.
Keep moving. Our bodies are meant to move. Keep doing your daily activities. Make the beds, go to work, walk the dog, do not over do it and do things pain-free. Once you're feeling better, regular aerobic exercises like swimming, bicycling, and walking can keep you -- and your back -- more mobile. Just don't overdo it.
Stay strong. Once your pain has receded, you can help avert future episodes of pain by working the muscles that support your lower back, knees, legs arms and neck muscles including the back extensor muscles. They help you maintain the proper posture and alignment of your spine. Strong hip, pelvic, and abdominal muscles also gives you more back support. Avoid abdominal crunches, because they can actually put more strain on your back. Having strong muscles helps to avoid injury and pain.
Stretch. Don't sit slumped in your desk chair all day. Get up every 20 minutes or so and stretch the other way. Most of us spend a lot of time bending forward in our jobs, it's important to stand up and stretch backward throughout the day. Don't forget to also stretch your legs. Some people find relief from their back pain by doing a regular stretching routine, like yoga. Stretch your arms, hands fingers and neck muscles regularly to avoid poor posture and the associated pain that may come with it.
Think ergonomically. Design your workspace so you don't have to hunch forward to see your computer monitor or reach way out for your mouse. Use a desk chair that supports your lower back and allows you to keep your feet planted firmly on the floor. Work safely and always make sure you lift with your legs and not your back.
Remember the best way to manage pain is to avoid injury!