Back or neck pain is very common among adults. Some people are lucky to get rid of the pain while others suffer longer. Caring for spine at home can help you fight off acute back or neck pain.
Recovering from acute pain in back or neck is possible by following the tips mentioned below:
1. Don’t Worry
You do not have to worry a lot. In most cases, a few days of restricting activity and taking medication helps. You simply need to allow the strained muscles to relax and release.
2. Heat and Cool
Icing for 48 hours and then heating helps. The method alleviates local pain arising from muscle and ligament strain. Ice will reduce swelling and inflammation and even acts as a local anesthetic. Heat increases flow of blood to the deep tissues and relaxes muscle spasms.
Use of over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, or naproxen sodium will help relieve pain. Also known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), these medications will efficiently reduce inflammation and relieve pain. However, these are only recommended for short-term use. So make sure you do not use these for more than a week unless prescribed by your health care professional.
It is good to get a gentle relaxing massage. The process stretches tight ligaments and tight muscles to provide you some relief.
Most people tend to restrict their activity for long. They take too much rest believing that it will help relieve the pain. However, this is just a misconception. Studies have revealed that restricted movement of muscles and joints will treat simple back pain more as compared to passive approaches such as rest and medications. Although restricting activity is crucial, you must move your muscles and joints as the pain eases. Consult your doctor for an exercise regime that is correct for your condition.
Proper Way of Standing
Practice the proper way to stand. Keep your head up. The shoulders should be straight, chest forward, hips tucked in, and body weight balanced evenly on both feet. Do not stand in the same position for a long time. It helps to adjust the height of the work table to a comfortable level. When working in the kitchen, open one of the cabinets under the sink and rest a foot on the cabinet interior. Switch feet every 5 to 15 minutes.
Proper Way of Sitting
Always sit with your hips and knees at a right angle. You may even use a foot rest or stool. Do not cross legs. Keep feet flat on the floor. Avoid sitting for a longer period of time. Get up after every 15-20 minutes. Always keep a back support at the curve of your back.
It helps to sit in a high-back, firm chair with arm rests. Adjust chair height and workstation to be able to sit up close to your work and tilt it up at you.
Always use a back support at the spine curve. Keep knees at the same level or even higher than your hips. You should move the seat closer to the steering wheel to be able to support the curve of your back. Keep the seat close to allow the knees to bend and feet to reach the pedals.
When lifting a heavy object, keep your back straight and bend at the knees. It is better to avoid lifting objects as far as possible. In case, it is unavoidable, do not lift objects heavier than 30 pounds.
Care While Sleeping and Lying Down
Keep your neck, low back, and knees supported while sleeping. Always sleep in a position that allows you to maintain the curve in your back. The mattress should be firm. Take care that the box spring set does not sag. Placing a board under mattress will help. Use a firm pillow to support the curve of your neck. Avoid sleeping on your side with knees up to your chest.
Avoid Certain Activities
You need to avoid activities that demand bending forward at the waist. Also avoid stooping as far as possible. Stand up when sneezing or coughing. Also bend a little backwards to increase the curve in your spine.
Keeping the spine in correct alignment is very important. This is possible by practicing correct posture. Remember that the lumbar curve or lower back bears most part of your body weight. Hence, proper alignment can prevent injury to the discs, vertebrae, and many other portions of the spine. In case, you are presently suffering from back or neck pain, try making adjustments to your daily activities such as sitting, standing, and sleeping habits. Also learn proper ways to bend and lift. The spine should not slouch at any point. So make sure the workspace is arranged in a way that it has very less impact on your spine. Try reducing weight as extra pounds can worsen back pain.
Regular exercise will help prevent back pain and injury. Doctor will recommend you exercises that strengthen and stretch back. The aerobic exercises will enhance your overall fitness level. Studies have proved that active individuals who are physically fit show less vulnerability to back injuries and pain. The injuries will heal faster than those who less physically fit.
When to See a Doctor
Usually, most simple back pain starts showing improvement within a day or two of rest and over-the-counter medication. However, if you can’t do without taking more pills for relieving back pain, or if you feel the pain is getting worse day after day, consult a doctor. Visit a reputed spine center near you and get a consultation from a specialist. A thorough medical history, diagnostic tests, and physical examination will help the doctor determine the specific cause of your pain. You will be recommended appropriate treatments.