Back pain can be uncomfortable and debilitating. It is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work and is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.
Almost all Americans will experience back problems at one time or another. It can be caused by something as simple as sleeping awkwardly or wrenching your back while lifting something heavy. Some may hurt themselves in an accident. “But more often than not, the culprit is too much sitting and not enough moving,” says physical therapist, Eric Robertson.
“We’re largely a sedentary society, and so that sedentary lifestyle is the primary thing that we have to work on,” says Robertson, who also is a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). “So, any sort of movement exercise, walking, working with a physical therapist to give you an individualized, customized program is a great idea.”
Many people take to bed rest after they hurt their back, but this could be doing more harm than good. Mounting evidence over the last 25 years has shown that too much bed rest can interfere with recovery. The key is to keep as active as you can with your back pain. You don’t want to over-do it, but keeping moving will help keep your back muscles strong.
Most back pain is not severe, even if it is very painful. Not being afraid of motion and continuing to move despite the pain is something that is important. Walking is a great exercise that you can do slowly to help get you back into shape. Working with a physical therapist is helpful to learn which exercise moves are best for you, and they can also help with how to spot dangerous levels of pain.
As mentioned earlier, sitting can be the culprit behind back pain. This is why keeping good posture by paying attention to the way you hold your back when sitting, standing, walking, and even when you sleep is so important. Poor posture can leave your back stiff and tense, which will often lead to back pain.
Inflammatory Back Pain
Many people who experience back pain also report pain in the hip joints and knee inflammation. This could potentially mean that inflammation in the body is what could be causing your back pain. Inflammatory back pain is different than mechanical back pain.
Mechanical back pain is typically caused by an issue with the spinal joints, discs, vertebrae, or soft tissues. Inflammatory back pain, on the other hand, is caused by inflammation in the body. One way to help reduce inflammation in the body is by consuming anti-inflammatory foods and cutting out food that can make it worse.
Back pain can also be linked to tension, stress, and other non-physical problems. Getting regular massages or acupuncture, practicing yoga, meditation, and other mindful practices can help lift your mood and make you relax, which can also help to manage back pain.
By keeping active, consuming a healthy diet, and reducing stress, many people find that they can handle their back pain without the use of medication. If you are suffering from back pain, talk to your doctors. They can help pinpoint the cause of your pain and may suggest new therapies.