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Try These 5 Tips At Home to Avoid Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common complaints heard by physicians as it affects nearly 1 out of every 2.5 adults. As a spine surgeon I see firsthand the impact that a spinal injury can have on an individual and the countless activities they give up because of their pain. While surgery is necessary in some cases, the surgeons at Virginia Spine Institute aim to treat back issues without a trip to the operating room, and that includes implementing easy tips to help prevent back pain.

5 Back Pain Prevention Tips to Try At Home

1. Sleep on the proper mattress. 

Maintaining proper spine posture during sleep is critical to keeping a pain-free day.  If a mattress is too soft, your spine conforms to the cushion and spinal alignment is completely reversed.  If a mattress is too firm then your spinal alignment may be maintained but the muscles hurt from pressure points.  In general, medium firm mattresses are the best, but the true answer is to try many types to see which one works for you! Check out this blog I wrote for more information.

2. Core strengthening. 

The abdominal and back muscles need to function as a cohesive unit because together they provide dynamic stability that keeps the spine in its proper form. When there are muscular imbalances or weaknesses, the spine loses that stability which results in back pain. Working on a strong core will go far in both improving your current painful episode as well as preventing pain in the future.

A strong core does not just mean washboard abs, though! Make sure you spend as much time strengthening your abdominal musculature as you do strengthening your lower back muscles. A simple daily exercise plan that I recommend includes:

Forward Plank

 

 

Side Plank

 

 

Bridge Exercise

 

 

3. Stretch. 

Tight muscles hurt.  If your core is rock solid but you’re inflexible, you will most likely have back pain.  Before you get up and start the day, loosen up your spine!  Gently flex your lumbar spine forward, backwards, and side-to-side.  Gradually rotate your spine each way.  If professional athletes, whose bodies are in tip-top shape, need to stretch before activity, it certainly makes sense that the average person also should be stretching.

4. Massage. 

Studies have shown that massing sore spots and muscular knots can help with pain control.  If you are lucky enough to have a willing masseuse at home, take advantage of it!  If not, a simple home remedy is to use a tennis ball.  Put your back up against a wall, place the ball at your sore spot, and roll your back around the ball.  Make sure to use the proper amount of force.  Too light doesn’t break up the knots but too much pressure can cause pain.  You’ll know when the force is just right.

5. Use ice and heat. 

Patients always ask when to use ice vs. heat when it comes to an injury. Jessica Aldo, Physical Therapist at Virginia Therapy & Fitness Center, does a great job of explaining the differences between these quick remedies and when to use them in her blog post. 

Although these are useful tricks to help control your symptoms, not everything can be treated with home remedies.  Schedule a consultation with a spine specialist today if you’re continuing to experience back {or neck} pain – it’s the quickest and most effective way to get rid of the pain and get back to the life you love! 

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