You have big plans to make the most of this weekend.
But if you’re one of the four out of five American’s who sometimes struggles with back pain, your back could have other ideas.
Because at any given time, over 31 million of us find ourselves putting our plans on hold because of an achy back.
But you can make sure you’re no longer one of them starting today, with some simple and effective tips to erase the pain.
Back pain solutions that don’t require drugs
Most mainstream docs will advise bed rest and risky painkillers. Some will even propose dangerous, and often ineffective, surgeries.
But eliminating back pain from your life should start BEFORE your next bout begins.
With some good-old-fashioned common-sense solutions, which tackle the underlying cause of the ache, instead of chasing the symptoms.
1. Check your mattress:
Take a good honest look at your bed. Has it seen better days?
Few things aggravate a bad back more than a soft, sagging mattresses or worn out box springs. If your mattress has some life left in it, move on. But if you find it is past its prime, go ahead and replace it.
Mattresses don’t come cheap, but you use it every single day. And replacing it could mean far fewer sick days and broken plans. Not to mention pain free days and nights, which is priceless.
2. Adjust your driving stance:
When you suffer from back pain time spent behind the wheel can be agony. Take the pressure off with this easy position fix.
Start by leaning slightly forward while you’re driving. Keep your knees even with your hips (or higher than your hips if possible) by adjusting your seat.
If you’re going to be driving long distances, schedule in regular stops. Getting out of the car and stretching, and maybe taking a short stroll, can help keep the pain at bay.
3. Take a stand against back pain:
Standing for long periods in one spot is a common back pain trigger. But you can stop the burn before it even begins with two easy moves.
First lean slightly forward, moving some of the weight off your back. Then pretend you have on your dancing shoes and start shifting your weight from one foot to the other. The mild movement will help keep the muscle in your back loose and limber, heading off the pain.
4. Learn to lift properly:
Repeat after me. “I will NEVER bend over to lift anything.” And mean it.
Even if the object you want to lift is light, bending over to pick it up could be all it takes to strain a sensitive back. Instead, squat down bending your knees, and keep your back straight. This way your legs do all the work.
And be sure to avoid what my mother always called “a lazy man’s load.” Lighten the strain on your back by making several trips, or using a dolly instead.
5. Commit to rest:
Shortchanging yourself on sleep can take its toll on your back. Most adults require anywhere between seven and eight hours of solid, quality sleep.
Not getting enough shuteye can leave you feeling achy and out of sorts. But even worse, being overtired can cause you to make the kinds of mistakes that lead to you injuring your back.
Need some help falling sleep? Check out our special report, 8 food secrets to help you sleep like a baby TONIGHT.
6. Sleep in an “S”:
Although rest is key to avoiding back pain, for some folks spending time in bed can become uncomfortable. If that’s you, don’t worry there’s a solution.
To relieve pressure on your back while you’re snoozing adopt an “S” position. Place a neck roll behind your head (a rolled towel or plumped up pillow will do in a pinch), and a pillow under your knees so your body forms a loose “S” shape.
7. Perfect your posture:
Mom was right all along, slouching is a bad idea. Sitting hunched over doesn’t just look bad, it can hurt your back.
Sit up tall and straight in your chair. Firmly plant both feet on the ground. And keep your knees level with, or higher than your hips. Every time you catch yourself reverting to a slouch, correct your position. And after a while, your new posture will become second nature.
When you have a choice, choose a chair with a nice straight back. And avoid sitting on overstuffed and soft sofas and chairs for long periods.
8. Wear “sensible” shoes:
At some point someone in your life—perhaps your mother or grandmother—likely told you to wear “sensible” shoes. Turns out, she was onto something
The sturdier your shoes are the greater the support they give to your back. Ladies who wear high heels are especially prone to lower back pain.
Save the sky-highs for special occasions and wear sturdy low-heeled shoes whenever possible. And consider adding an arch-supporting insole, especially if you have flat feet.
Still not sure what shoes you should be wearing? Sneak a peek at the nurse’s feet next time you’re in the hospital. Or take a glance at the waitress’ feet when you go out to dinner. Both spend a lot of time on their feet and are likely pros at protecting themselves from back pain.
9. Make a move:
Try not to stay in the same position for too long. No matter whether you’re sitting, standing or lying down, sticking to one spot without moving can cause an achy back.
Stuck at a desk all day? Set a thirty minute timer and stick to it. You can take a stroll around the office or simply just stand and stretch. But try to avoid sitting for longer than a half an hour at a time.
10. Warm up:
Be sure to stretch for at least five minutes before you exercise. It will help loosen up your muscles, and get your blood moving.
But don’t save the stretching for the gym alone. Any sort of physical activity from scrubbing the bathroom to mowing the lawn can cause you to strain your back if you don’t limber up first.
And speaking of exercise, one of the best things you can do to ease back pain, and keep it from coming back is to get some. Any kind of regular movement is helpful. But moves that concentrate on your lower back and stomach muscles are the most effective.
I’ll have more on a simple way to do just that coming up tomorrow. Be sure to keep an eye out for this one!