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Back Pain: Causes, Treatments and Prevention

Back pain is incredibly common but can be super frustrating. Any area of the back can be impacted, but the most common is the lower back (lumbago) or near the neck.

Although back pain isn’t often down to a serious underlying issue and will get better over time, it can be debilitating. So, if you’re struggling with back pain, here’s an ultimate guide to causes, treatments, and prevention.

Causes of back pain

It’s difficult to pinpoint what’s causing back pain because it can be by just about anything. What's more, back pain can come down to a combination of different things, making it even harder to identify the cause.

A major cause of back pain, however, is stress and anxiety. Depending on how your body responds to stress, you may suffer from physical symptoms like changes in your breathing, aches and pains, and tension headaches.

How to reduce back pain

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to alleviate back pain or at least soothe it. Everything from the way you stand to the way you sleep can be impacting the pressure on the back, so there is a world of treatments that can help you get back to feeling good.

Stretches and exercise

Staying still is probably the worst thing you can do for back pain. By allowing your muscles to be stationery, you can easily make your body stiffer and achier. If you’re struggling with back pain, it might seem logical to take a rest, but you should aim to keep moving.

Not only will exercise prevent muscles from stiffening, it’ll also keep your mind distracted from the pain while your body takes time to heal.

The best way to exercise with back pain is by walking around or doing gentle stretches. If you’re usually couped up at a desk 9-5, your posture can quickly become a problem. With a few stretches and regular breaks, you can keep your muscles healthy, improve flexibility and reduce tension.

Change the way you sleep

What might feel relaxing as you fall asleep, could actually be causing your back pain throughout the day.

To help neutralize your sleep position, place pillows under your knees so that the mattress doesn’t create extra pressure on the head or heels.

Always sleeping on one side can also cause back pain and create an imbalance within the muscles. Swapping sides from time to time can help rebalance things. Alternatively, the best way to sleep is on your back so that your body can fully relax into the mattress.

Finally, consider changing your pillow. A pillow that is too thin or thick could be causing tension in the neck. When resting your head on a pillow, the padding should support the crevice of the neck.

Natural pain relief

If you’re finding very little relief from over-the-counter pain killers, perhaps a more natural approach should be your next choice. It is said that essential oils like citronella and eucalyptus have anti-inflammatory properties which could relieve pain from the muscles. CBD is also suggested to have similar properties, which could help reduce pain. Although there is currently little evidence into how CBD can benefit the body, it has become an incredibly popular supplement.

Physical therapy

Who can resist a massage? As well as being a great little treat, massages and other physical therapies can help relieve back and neck pain. Professionals like chiropractors, osteopaths, and physiotherapists will be able to find the root of the pain much better than the untrained eye. They’ll then be able to provide a relief plan including massages, stretches, and more to alleviate the discomfort.

Preventing back pain

Of course, while there are plenty of ways to relieve back pain, it would be better not to have to suffer at all. As such, there are a lot of things that can help to prevent back pain from becoming a problem in the first place.

Regular exercise

Exercising can not only help to remedy back pain but it can also prevent it. If the pain is caused by strain or weakness, exercise can support the body and build strength within the muscles to improve mobility and stability.

Get up

From sitting at a desk all day, driving home, and plonking yourself on the sofa, there’s very little time for your back to actually be in the proper position. Avoid sitting down for long periods and make sure to get up and take regular breaks. Even just a little walk around the living room while the ad break plays could help stretch the muscles and return the spine to its natural position.

Upgrade your sleep space

If you’re still using the same pillow you’ve had for years, or chose the cheapest mattress available, it might be time to upgrade. Memory foam pillows or supportive mattresses can significantly help your body relax in a natural position at night. And if the bedding is doing the work for you, that’s one less thing you need to worry about.

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