Treating Back Pain
Walk This Way
Like grey hairs and slowly degrading eyesight, we seem to accept that as we age we will experience back pain. Back pain is one of the most common health complaints. While over 80% of us will have back pain at some time in our life, it is most prevalent in people 40 to 80 years old, and in women.
The onset of back pain is due to multiple factors beyond the aging process. A significant cause is our sedentary life style with far too little exercise. Even worse is when this lifestyle is punctuated with brief bouts of strenuous exercise (remember that New Year’s resolution). We do ourselves no favours with our poor posture, especially when sitting at computers or hunched over, engrossed with our smart phones and tablets. Adding to the risk is the potential of disc disease or spinal degeneration, which also increases with age.
Acute (or short-term) back pain is the most frequent type. It generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Most acute back pain is the result of trauma to the lower back (sports injury, housework, gardening, accident or sudden jolt) or arthritis. Some acute pain can become more serious if left untreated. Chronic back pain is often progressive, getting worse and causing more difficulty as time progresses.
Now that we know (and can feel) the problem, what can we do to prevent it? Lots.
First off, your mother was right; you should “Sit up straight!” Stop slouching and sitting with your legs here and there. Sit up straight in a stiff high back chair with your entire back (and upper bum) pressing into the back of the chair.
Secondly your father was right; you should “Stand up for yourself!” Many people walk as though walking itself is a fashion statement or sporting event (look up the “ministry of silly walks” on YouTube). When you walk, do it heads up, shoulders back and spine straight (not leaning to one side or another) Distribute weight evenly to both legs and put your weight on your heels not your toes
Thirdly, bend better. When most people bend to pick something up, be it light or heavy they keep their legs straight and bend from the waist. This puts all the strain and pressure from lifting directly on your lower back. The proper way to lift is to bend your knees, try keeping your back straight and let your legs (not your back) do the work.
Now that you know, you’ll try to implement these three guidelines, but what if you already have back pain. Here you have options as well. Try to stretch every day throughout the day. Not a 20 minute routine to get you ready to compete in an NFL game, but stretching each morning and throughout the day to keep you limber and less likely to get hurt.
Many people find relief from massage, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture and acupressure. Turn to a professional who has studied properly (and is both licensed and certified) and who can manipulate your body (muscles and bones) to ease pressure points and provide relief. Remember that unless you change your daily routine, any relief you receive will be temporary at best. Long term relief requires changing your patterns.
At times in my life, I have suffered from back pain (luckily for me I worked to remedy it successfully). My solution was to implement the three guidelines (sitting, standing and lifting properly) as well as massage. In addition, I alternated heat (hot pack) and cold (ice pack) whenever the pain was significant. However, the best credit I can give is to the two supplements I used.
I cannot say enough good things about oil of oregano & curcumin. Oregano is the super spice that has hundreds of therapeutic uses. Curcumin is the primary bioactive compound found in the spice turmeric. I used the oregano (super strength oil of oregano liquid drops) internally to boost my immune system and circulation (2 drops twice daily). I used the drops externally (2-3 drops in a teaspoon of olive oil) as an antinflammatory warming rub each night before I went to bed. I took 3 curcumin (750-1000mg capsules) twice daily as a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. I am so convinced of the power of curcumin that I still take it every day (1 capsule) and recommend it to my family and friends.
By combining supplements, therapeutic treatments and preventative strategies, you can work to overcome back pain and live the healthy active lifestyle everyone wants.