At some point, most people will suffer from back pain. In fact, back pain is the most common cause for limiting physical activities for people under the age of 45. With over 1/4 of adults reporting that they have suffered from back pain for an ENTIRE DAY at least once during the last three months, it’s easy to see why there are so many different products and techniques developed for getting rid of back pain. The question is – what is really effective at not only getting rid of but also preventing back pain. Below we will discuss three tips and techniques that really are effective for getting rid of back pain.
3 Tips For Getting Rid of Back Pain
#1 – Make Your Life More Ergonomic
How many hours do you spend sitting down at a computer during the day? Chances are, the answer to that questions is: A lot! I know I sit in front of a computer about 6-8 ours per day, on a good day. Making your desk at home and at work ergonomic can go a long way to preventing back pain. Specifically, you need to do the following:
- Start with your chair. Your chair should be at a height where your legs are comfortably at a 90 degree angle. In addition, it’s best if you have the ability to adjust the firmness of your chair’s backing. Start with a firm setting in the morning, and adjust to less firm as the day goes on. And don’t go cheap – you’ll end up paying for it in the long run.
- Next work on your desk. Your desk needs to allow you to do two main things: 1) have your arms at a 90 degree angle while typing, and 2) be looking slightly (about 10 degrees) down towards your monitor. Yes, this means you should not be slouching! Basically, you want to be sitting up straight, with your arms and shoulders relaxed while typing or browsing on Facebook.
- Get up and move! Every 30 minutes to 1 hour you need to get up, stretch, and walk around a little bit.
#2 – Get Your Core Into Shape
Being overweight isn’t just bad on your pant’s size – extra weight around your middle section also put extra pressure on your lower back and can greatly increase your back pain. In addition, not having sufficient strength can also make lifting objects much harder, forcing you to use your back more than you should and increasing the chances of ‘tweaking’ something. In addition to traditional workouts (weights, etc.), you should dedicate at least one workout a week to a core workout. No, you aren’t working out your core to get a six pack. Instead, you are working on your core because it’s the core that supports your back. In other words, by having a strong core you build a strong back, especially your lower back.
The nice thing about core workouts is that they are very easy to do at home, don’t require a lot of expensive fitness equipment, and are very effective. Unfortunately, not to many people learned how to effectively target their core during gym class in high school. As such, here are two basic yet effective core workout moves that are great for building up those muscles that help prevent and get rid of back pain.
1) Traditional Planks. A plank is an isometric exercise in which you basically hold your self as if you were going to do a push-up, only you don’t go down. At first, hold this for 30 seconds, and do 4 sets – you will be amazed at how difficult it can be if you have never done them before. Make sure to keep your back straight and don’t ‘slouch’ your head – keep looking straight ahead. After you get this down you can try a different variation where instead of holding yourself up with your hands, you hold yourself up with your elbows.
2) Side planks. These are basically the same things as the traditional planks, except that your goal is to have your body on it’s side with your belly button facing forward instead of straight towards the ground. This will be more difficult than a traditional plank, but really does a great job at reducing and preventing lower back pain. Start with holding the position for 15 seconds for 4 reps, alternating sides each time.
By doing these simple core moves for just a few minutes a day you will be surprised at how much stronger your core will become. This helps both if you already suffer from back pain and if you want to prevent back pain from returning.
#3 – Try Good In-Home Back Pain Devices
Yes, there are literally hundreds of overly-gimmicky back pain relief products on the market today. However, just because many (if not most) are gimmicky doesn’t mean that their aren’t a few diamonds in the rough. Here are three that will really work at both reducing back pain and preventing it:
- An inversion table. Inversion therapy has been around for a very long time (see the history at Wikipedia here), and can be very effective at reducing back pain. An inversion table decompresses the spine, reducing the pressure on the nerves that run in between the vertebrae in your spinal column. This can help with both sciatica pain and pinched nerve pain. In addition, inverting regularly for just 5-10 minutes a day in your home can help relax your muscles and realign your spine. You need to invert to at least a 60% angle to fully relieve your back and body of the stress put on it due to gravity each day – stress and pressure that leads to back pain. Unfortunately, sitting can actually make this pressure increase, and laying down flat doesn’t fully relieve that pressure.
- Use a foam roller. This simple (and cheap) device can work wonders on your sciatic area, as well as your upper back. In addition, there is a wide array of core exercises that you can perform on a foam roller. Think of it almost like a deep tissue massage for almost any part of your body – yes it will hurt at first, but can really relieve stress that gets knotted up in your muscles throughout the day.
By using just these two at-home devices together for about 10 minutes a day (total) you can significantly reduce your back pain, build up your core, and relax your entire body. Combine these with an ergonomic lifestyle and an effective workout schedule and you will be on your way to a back pain free life!