Our backs are facing double trouble right now. And back pain is on the rise as a result.
First of all, the pandemic has kept us stuck at home moving less and sitting more than ever before. And now that the holidays have arrived, we’re suddenly asking our backs to do things we haven’t done in months.
This is why it’s no real surprise that a new study finds three in five Americans are experiencing new aches and pains as a result.
Research has confirmed that 74 percent of us are sitting more than we did before the pandemic. In fact, we’re spending an extra FOUR hours a day parked on our rear ends. And that leaves 39 percent of us in physical pain by the end of the day, with 22 percent of that being back pain. OUCH!
So now, whether it’s putting up the lights or hauling in the tree, somewhere along the way you know it’s going to happen. Your back is going to start to scream at you.
A lot of folks end up reaching for the painkillers this time of year as it is. But now, with our new couch potato habits, those numbers are likely to go through the roof.
And that can lead to a whole new form of agony in the form of the notorious stomach and bleeding problems caused by some of the most popular pain meds.
Erase barking back pain without risky drugs
But you don’t need to keep popping those risky pills. And you don’t have to suffer through this season or any other, either. Because there are safe and effective alternatives to beat those aches without drugs.
And my early present to you this year is FIVE of the best of them, all in one place.
You’ve heard of acupuncture before, I’m sure. It’s the ancient treatment from China that gives needle-phobic folks the shakes just thinking about it.
If you’re NOT afraid of needles, feel free to give acupuncture a shot. Research and real-world results prove it works. But there’s another option that skips the needles and doesn’t require a specialist. Which means you can do it at home.
It’s called acupressure. It targets the same points on the body as the needle version of the treatment but uses your fingertips instead.
In one study, daily self-treatment with acupressure led to significant improvements in back pain. Google or search YouTube for “acupressure points for back pain” to get easy-to-follow instructions with photos and videos.
A good massage used to be a special indulgence. One you’d occasionally allow yourself to have maybe for a spa weekend or when you were staying at a fancy hotel. After all, it was hard to justify the expense.
But if you battle back pain, it may not be so hard to justify it after all. Studies show massage is highly effective for treating back pain. One published in 2011 found weekly treatments for 10 weeks delivered relief that lasted at least a full six months afterward.
The downside? We’re not exactly visiting massage therapists during the pandemic. But once it’s safe to do it again, go ahead and consider making an appointment. In some cases, your insurance may even help pay for it.
In the meantime, if you have a spouse or other loved one sheltering in place with you to help, head over to YouTube. Search for some videos on pain-relieving massages you can try at home. Search for something like “back pain massage techniques.”
3. IT’S A STRETCH:
Never underestimate the power of a good gentle stretch to help loosen up tense muscles and relieve back pain.
You can try something more formal, like yoga. Studies show it works. You don’t even need to go to a yoga studio since you can follow videos online.
But really, it’s not about the yoga. It’s about stretching. And simple exercises you can do with a chair, in a doorframe, or even on the floor can be beneficial for back pain.
One study in 2012 found a self-guided stretching program delivered moderate to high levels of relief from low-back pain in 81 percent of patients.
To get started, check out my guide to seven basic stretches to back pain right here.
4. TAKE TWO:
This one isn’t quite as easy as swallowing a pain pill. Because in most cases, you need two pills. But don’t worry neither is a risky drug.
The first is a fatty acid called alpha-lipoic acid. ALA fights free radicals and helps with healing muscle damage and nerve-linked pain. The second is the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which fights free radicals and cuts inflammation.
In one study, 600 mg of ALA and 140 IU of SOD led to such dramatic improvements in low back pain that 92 percent of patients could QUIT painkillers.
Sometimes, you’ve got to attack the back-pain problem at the source. Topical treatments can be rubbed directly into the trouble spot for almost instant relief.
Just be sure to look for a cream or ointment with proven pain fighters. Check the label for verified ingredients such as DMSO, MSM, capsaicin, and menthol.