Back pain is among the most widespread health problems in the world. It can strike men and women, both young and old, and can cause a lot of distress and discomfort. People who work desk jobs and spend the majority of their time just sitting are very likely to have back pain, as sitting for long periods of time, especially if accompanied by poor posture, subjects the muscles, joints, and discs to excessive pressure.
What are the types of back pain?
Back pains can be classified into two: acute back pain or chronic back pain.
Acute back pain is defined as a type of back pain that lasts six weeks or less. The more common between the two, its usual symptoms include dull aching in the back muscles, and pain that gets worse every time you bend or lift.
Meanwhile, chronic back pain is a type of back pain that lasts longer than three months. Its common warning signs include persistent pain in the back muscles that may extend down to your leg, and stabbing pain that gets worse every time you try to bend to lift or pick something up, to walk, or even just to stand up.
Who are at great risk of back pain?
No one is safe from back pain. However, there are certain factors that make some people more likely to get it. Below are the factors that can increase a person’s risk of back pain:
Older people are more prone to suffering from back pain. Once you are in your 30s, you may start experiencing it, and have it more often year after year.
Being overweight or obese
If you are packing too much fat in your body, the extra weight puts your back and other body parts under too much stress, resulting to pain.
Lack of physical activity
People who do not exercise have higher odds of getting back pain. Their sedentary lifestyle causes their muscles to become weak and stiff, increasing the risk of pains and injuries.
In some cases, your genes can play a role in your risk of back pain. If your family has a history of certain types of arthritis, your chances of developing it is higher in comparison to someone whose family does not have it.
Cigarettes and tobacco are made up of substances that are bad for your health. Once these get into your body, your different vital organs and their functions are negatively affected. They can also trigger what is called the “smoker’s cough,” which can be painful if it happens frequently.
What should you do to keep back pain away?
Eat foods that are rich in vitamin D and calcium.
To build strong bones, your body needs a constant supply of vitamin D and calcium. These two nutrients are important in keeping your spine and other bones sturdy and resistant against osteoporosis and other bone problems. Examples of excellent vitamin D sources are egg yolks, fatty fish, and sunlight, and some calcium-rich foods are vegetables, yogurt, and milk.
Practice good posture.
Having good posture is not only for looking prim and proper, but is also for good bone health. When sitting or standing, you should keep your back straight, pull your shoulders back, and keep your head up to not put unnecessary stress and strain on to your spine. Slouching or rounding your shoulders for too long can alter your spine structure, and can cause long-term complications.
Do stretching exercises.
Staying in one position for an extended period of time is not healthy for your spine. If you stand, sit, or lie down too long, your back is burdened with more stress than it can handle. Eventually, you will get back pain, and may have to deal with more serious problems if the situation is not remedied right away. To prevent that from happening, you should try doing some stretches, such as calf raises, hamstring stretches, shoulder stretches, butterfly stretches, or triceps stretch for a few minutes, every couple hours or so.
Buy comfortable shoes.
Wearing poor quality footwear can contribute to back pain. You should get yourself a pair of nice, comfortable, and well-fitting shoes to minimize the strain and stress on your back when you are standing.
Improve your core strength.
Regularly training your core can bring about a long list of benefits not only to your back but also to the rest of your body. By exercising your core muscles, you can reduce your odds of suffering from strains, muscle spasms, and other back injuries. Even just by working out your core twice a week, you can build stronger back muscles that can properly support your spine and protect against back pain.
There are many hazards associated to smoking. It feeds your body compounds that are poisonous to the body, and cause health problems like asthma attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, pneumonia, and lung cancer. The nicotine found in cigarettes can restrict the blood flow to your spine discs, and cause cracks and ruptures. It can also cause a decrease in the oxygen levels in your blood, resulting to poor nourishment of your back muscles and tendons.
What should you do if you have back pain?
Many cases of back pain get better on their own. They can usually be treated by resting, relaxing, or getting a massage. You can also take ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, or pain relievers to relieve the pain. If you can, you should try being a bit more physically active by moving around or stretching to ease the stiffness and untie the knots in your back.
However, even after trying all these do-it-yourself treatment solutions your back pain persists, you should go see a doctor right away. You may need stronger prescription medications, or a surgery if you have complications in your spine. You may also have some underlying illness that causes the pain, and it needs to be diagnosed as soon as possible before your conditions gets worse.