Find Relief for Back Pain
According to the American College of Rheumatology, back pain strikes nearly as often
as the common cold—in fact, nearly 80% of people in the world develop back pain. Fortunately,
you can take steps to keep your back healthy and keep back pain away.
A car accident, a sports injury, and lifting a heavy object are obvious causes of
back pain. But lifestyle factors can cause back pain, too. Being overweight—especially
having excess abdominal fat—strains the lower back. Lack of exercise, poor posture,
and sitting too much can also weaken and stress back muscles.
Back pain can feel sharp, aching, dull, tingling, or burning. The pain comes from
damaged muscles, ligaments, and nerves, or from the spine.
Acute back pain will usually go away on its own within 1 to 6 weeks. Although it might
be difficult, it’s better to move about than stay in bed, as long as you take it easy.
Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever and applying ice or hot packs can ease pain
and stiffness. These measures can also help chronic back pain (pain that lasts longer
than 3 months). Surgery is seldom needed for chronic back problems. Some people find
relief with massage or chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic or manipulation therapy
is provided in many different forms. Check with your health plan to see if these services
If you suffer from ongoing back pain or frequent bouts of acute back pain, and you
don’t have an underlying medical condition that’s causing it, lifestyle habits may
be the problem. Follow these steps for a healthier back:
Lift safely. Bend your legs and keep your back straight.
Do aerobic exercise, stretch, and strength-train regularly.
Improve your posture. Don’t slouch or sit in one position for too long without a break.
Manage your weight through exercise and a healthy diet.
Find time to relax. Stress can aggravate back problems.
Always talk with your healthcare provider before starting a new physical activity.