So why does the pain go away for a while and then come back? Or why doesn’t the back pain ever go away?
Back pain is highly prevalent and many people who experience back pain have a higher likelihood of having a recurrence of their back pain.
Each time the back pain starts up, it can bring on frustration, and worry about it happening every day. Unfortunately, back pain can limit an active lifestyle and create a fear of movement to avoid further injury.
Here are the 5 secrets to easing low back pain and tips for back pain relief that I have come across most often while helping older adults keep active so they can continue to perform the necessary household tasks to help maintain their independence:
1. Try paying more attention to your posture
Sit with your feet on the floor – avoid crossing your legs or ankles which decreases blood flow to your feet and changes the angle of your hip rotation; therefore, increasing stress on your low back. Try using a towel roll or small pillow in the lower back to encourage the natural curvature of your spine and to decrease pull on the muscles around your spine. When sitting while you are watching TV or while working at the computer, remember the three ‘L’s’, try to sit with feet flat on the floor with knees bent in an ‘L’ position, hips bent in an ‘L’ position, and elbows bent in an ‘L’ position.
2. Sleep with a pillow between your knees or under your knees
If you sleep on your side, then place a pillow between your knees to maintain good spinal alignment and try to prevent your top leg from falling over the bottom leg (the leg closest to the mattress) which can lead to increased stress your hips, low back and the surrounding muscles. If you sleep on your back, then try placing a pillow under your knees which helps support against the mattress and reduces strain on the lower back muscles. Try to avoid or minimize sleeping on your stomach because this position can increase stress not only your lower back but also can place strain on your shoulders and on the neck. Waking up with a tight back, shoulders, or neck can wreck your day and lead to poor mood or even low energy levels. Here's a tutorial video: Sleeping Positions for Back Pain: How to Achieve Restful Sleep
3. Add posture exercises, back exercises, and stretches
As you age, your muscles start to lose strength and flexibility so learning stretches to maintain your flexibility can be a major influencer on your back pain. Understanding the stretches and exercises to help your posture and back pain is essential. Strengthening your lower and upper back along with gentle stretches will promote good posture and decrease stress or strain on the entire spine. Make sure that the exercises you want to do are correct for you and that you are doing them correctly by consulting with a physical therapist. Check out this video I created called Seated Exercises for Seniors to Improve Posture in 10 Minutes:
4. Try not to overload one side of your body
Do you favor one side of your body? If you always carry your purse or bag on one side of your body, then you are setting yourself up for a possible muscle imbalance that might contribute or cause increased back pain. Always carrying extra weight on one side of your body disproportionally distributes the stress and load which can throw off your center of gravity causing a muscle imbalance - leading to increased back pain. Here are a few ways to equally distribute the weight we are carrying: try to use both straps on both of your shoulders when carrying a backpack, alternate arms when carrying a purse or bag, and instead of carrying one grocery bag in one hand, try splitting the contents into two bags and carry one bag in each hand.
5. Try or re-visit physical therapy
Some back pain especially lower back pain can be stubborn. If you’ve been battling with low back pain for an extended period of time, it might require the benefits of a hands-on specialist like a physical therapist. Seeking physical therapy is the faster way to reduce your back pain because you are going to receive quick access to care that will ease muscle tension, soothe achy muscles, loosen stiff, stuck and painful joints, and strengthen your body so your back pain stays away and you can get back to doing the activities you love in life.
If you live in the Greater Milwaukee area and would like to learn more about how physical therapy or a trained physical therapist can help you please reach out to us CLICK HERE.
Talk more soon!!
P.S. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your back which restricts your ability to move without pain or limiting your movement making house tasks more challenging, click here to download my free back pain tips guide which includes actionable tips I give to my patients at Prestige Therapy and Wellness, LLC. Click here to get your free copy: https://prestigetherapywellness.lpages.co/back-pain-freebie/