“Oh, my aching back!”
If you’re one of the 31 million Americans dealing with back discomfort you’ve never had before, it may be a sign that you’re feeling the effects of age-related back pain. Our experienced medical team at Chesapeake ERgent Care in Gambrills, Maryland, is well-versed in treating common types of age-related back pain.
We want to share some tips with you, so you can be proactive and try these natural pain management remedies before your back pain becomes a more complicated issue.
- Get more physical activity. When it comes to your spine, moving is what helps keep it healthy and agile as you get older. Sitting for long stretches of time puts too much pressure on the discs in your spine. When you stay active, you relieve that pressure and keep your muscles strong for better back support.
Staying limber through exercise also helps you be less prone to injury, and physical activity helps heal an aching back and prevents future problems. As an added bonus of moving more, you may become more physically fit, too.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight is a contributing factor to back pain because extra weight puts pressure on your spine. When you maintain a healthy weight, you’ll help alleviate pressure on your back, and your knees and hips, too.
- Use a combination of hot and cold therapies to ease pain.
When back pain first hits, apply ice for 20 minutes, remove for 20 minutes, then repeat. This will help decrease any inflammation and minimize muscle spasms, both of which may contribute to your pain.
If you still have back pain after a couple days, try a hot bath or a heating pad to relax your back muscles and stimulate blood flow. Once your muscles are warm, try gentle stretching to ease tension and prevent muscle spasms.
- Try a complementary therapy like acupuncture.
Before you take medications for persistent age-related back pain, consider complementary therapies like acupuncture. Acupuncture is an age-old practice that involves inserting tiny needles into your skin at specific points. This helps realign your energy, or “chi,” and stimulate your body’s healing response, thus alleviating the painful symptoms of back pain.
- Get a massage.
Who doesn’t love a good massage, even when you’re not in pain? Massage therapy can soothe your muscles and help relieve spasms that may be contributing to your back pain. As an added bonus, you’ll feel more relaxed, more limber, and less stressed.
- Try physical therapy.
Since exercise is part of the foundation of treating back pain, a physical therapist can teach you exercises to help relieve your specific type of pain. The same set of exercises may not work well for everyone, so learning which ones can help you is beneficial.
- Strengthen your back muscles. Gentle stretching exercises, like the ones you do in a yoga class, can help strengthen and stretch your back muscles. When you keep your muscles strong, you’ll have better spine support when sitting and standing, which can lead to better posture. Stronger muscles and correct posture may even help prevent future back pain.
- Limit bed rest.
When your back hurts, you may want to rest for long periods of time. This used to be a recommended treatment for back pain, but today, doctors recognize that too much bed rest can actually slow down recovery and keep you in pain longer. Stiff, tight muscles often contribute to back pain, so try to move as much as you can, even if it’s simply walking around the house until your back feels better.
- Be mindful and meditate.
Back pain can make you feel older than you are, especially when it limits you from doing things you enjoy. If chronic or recurring back pain is causing you to feel frustrated, try meditating or another relaxation strategy to keep your mind off the pain. For some people, focusing on the positive aspects of your day or closing your eyes to meditate for a few minutes each morning can make a difference in your psyche.
- Make lifestyle modifications.
Consider the foods you’re eating and any activities that may be aggravating your back. Processed foods that are high in refined sugars and trans fats are inflammatory foods. They can actually make your back pain worse if inflammation is contributing to your discomfort.
Additionally, consider any activities you do regularly that make your back feel worse. Avoiding these things until your back feels better can prevent pain from getting worse or becoming chronic.
Our staff at Chesapeake ERgent Care hopes you can manage your age-related back pain by combining several of these natural remedies. But if you’ve tried without success, or your back pain gets worse, come on into our clinic in Gambrills, Maryland. We’re here to help — seven days a week.