Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
Most people at some stage in their lives will suffer from back pain, particularly lower back pain. Most back pain is caused by sprain, pulled muscle, inflammation or soft tissue strain. Back pain is the most common cause of loss of productivity in work and missed days from work. It is the second most common neurological ailment apart from headache. However the good news is that most back pain resolves itself within a few weeks with proper treatment.
If back pain persists beyond a few days it is important to seek medical advice. Rest, ice, heat, exercise and medication may be prescribed. Medication of course has a place in pain relief and in a case of chronic or acute back pain doctor’s advice should always be followed. Anti-inflammatory tablets will help reduce inflammation and pain killers will reduce the pain. Muscle relaxers will relax muscles which have become tense causing pain.
You can with your doctor’s permission help relieve your own back pain. Research has shown that walking and good posture can help persistent back pain. It is important to encourage as much movement as possible despite the pain. This in time decreases the pain and speeds up recovery. Too much rest and inactivity will cause the muscles to seize up and cause the pain to last longer.
Good posture helps prevent lower back pain. Stand up tall and straight. Do not hunch shoulders or lean forward or backwards. Leaning causes back pain. Keep your chin up and look straight ahead, not down. If you have got into bad habits it may take you a little time to improve your posture but it is worth the effort.
Walking is an excellent way to increase blood flow to the muscles. This helps remove the toxins and reduces inflammation. Exercise increases the amount of endorphins and serotonin released into the body which reduces pain. Walking is a great stress reliever and a reduction in stress will produce positive effects and help pain reduction. For these reasons walking is an excellent tool in the management of back pain.
Walk slowly at first. As you assess the effect of the exercise on your back you can decide whether or not you want to increase your pace. The important thing is to only do what you are comfortable with. Ten minutes walking each day in the early stages of your back pain is sufficient to maintain mobility. As your pain reduces and your back heals you can increase your time daily.
Walk on level ground as walking on an uneven surface may cause you to turn or twist your back or lose your balance which could cause more pain.
Walk on flat ground. Walking uphill or downhill will put too much pressure on your back and may worsen the situation.
Do some gentle stretching exercises after your walk. Raise your hands slowly above your head until you fell a gentle stretch on your back and abdomen muscles. Hold the
position for thirty seconds, lower your arms and then repeat the stretch ten times.
Walking regularly is an excellent way to prevent back pain. Now that you have started keep it up and try and get in three hours brisk walking per week.