The last few weeks I have met some amazing people who have one thing in common: They all suffer from back pain. Stabbing, aching, debilitating. They do their best to participate in everyday activities, but walk around like frozen statues, aching with every step. Talking to these people inspired me to put together two posts especially about preventing and overcoming back pain, based on what I've learned about it the last 14 years.
PS: these are only tips based on my personal experience, and are not medical advice. Always check with your doctor before you make any changes to your treatment.
Back pain prevention 101:
Whether you've gone through several back surgeries or you have a recurring backache that is just a constant part of your life, these are some simple tips that may help prevent more pain.
1. Prevent flares. If you have a condition which gives you back pain regularly, focus on preventing pain flare ups instead of becoming frustrated and seeking treatment every time the pain becomes acute. Try to avoid activities that you know provoke your pain, adjust your schedule and pace yourself so you don't overdo it on good days and provoke a new flare.
2. Get physical and keep moving... Only a very few and extreme cases of back pain require bed rest, for most types of back pain, resting just makes it worse. Start by building support core muscle, through balance training, pilates, chi gong or specialized physiotherapy and work from there.
3. Watch your posture, both when you're sitting and standing. Tuck in your chin and keep your back straight. Practice variation, swap between sitting, standing and moving around. Make sure you carry balanced if you carry at all, if you bring a laptop around with you, carry it in a backpack.
4. Do some kind of gentle warm ups first thing in the morning before you start using your back for anything heavy. Start your day with a cold shower, then scrub or brush your back and legs and switch to hot water to increase circulation.
5. Have a good bed, and support your spine with bolster shaped pillows or wedges.