Back pain is an extremely common medical condition that affects 80 percent of the population at some point in their lives. Although anyone can have back pain, getting older, certain diseases, occupations that demand physical labor, smoking, excess body weight and poor physical fitness can all vastly increase your risk of suffering with it. Unfortunately, inflammation quashing drugs such as Advil and opioid pain killing drugs such as OxyContin are oftentimes used in lieu of more natural pain relief techniques when it comes to dealing with back pain.
This is problematic because drugs often cause unwanted side-effects, you can build-up a tolerance to them overtime, and when it comes to prescription painkillers, there is a possibility of developing a deadly addiction. Luckily there are some exercises and other natural back pain relief techniques that you can do from the comfort of your own home which will help to reduce or eliminate your need for drugs.
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Exercises for Pain Relief
10 to 15 minutes of stretching based exercises per day is a great way to reduce current back pain and prevent more serious back pain related problems from developing. It is important however that you never push yourself to the point of pain during the exercises and that you consult your physician first if you are suffering with ongoing or severe back pain.
Exercise 1 – Knee to Chest Stretch
This exercise is recommended by the Mayo Clinic and it is ideal for relieving chronic (ongoing) lower back pain. To do this exercise you simply lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. You then use both hands to pull up one of your knees to your chest, and hold it there for 20 to 30 seconds. Release the knee back to starting position and repeat the process with your other knee. Release back to starting position again and then bring both knees simultaneously up to your chest and hold. Mayo clinic recommends repeating the whole process 2 to 3 times, preferably in the morning, afternoon and evening.
Exercise 2 – Upper Back Stretch
This exercise will help to target upper back pain. Start off sitting on a stool with your back and your head flat against a wall. Lift both arms over your head and hold them there for 5 seconds. Then, with your arms still over your head, attempt to keep your back as flat as possible while simultaneously keeping your shoulders touching the wall and hold this position for an additional 5 seconds. Then release back to the starting position and repeat the process three times.
Exercise 3 – Side Bend
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Then slowly lower your left shoulder to the side, bend your entire trunk at the waist and run your hand down the outside of your thigh. Concentrate on taking deep breaths while you do this and do not push yourself to a point where you feel strained. Hold the position for 5 seconds, slowly return to the straight, standing position and then repeat the move with your right shoulder. Repeat the whole process 3 times on each side. .
Additional Pain Relief Techniques
Inflammation often accompanies both acute and chronic back pain and reducing the inflammation can help to reduce the pain. Animal fats and trans fats from hydrogenated oils contain an inflammation promoting substance called arachidonic acid, and you should try to reduce your consumption of them. Also, increase your consumption of anti-inflammatory foods such as the omega-3 containing cold-water fish, fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds. Three final at home pain relief techniques include getting plenty of rest (your body heals when it sleeps), icing where it hurts (this will reduce inflammation and pain) and supporting your back with pillows when sitting and lying down.