Advice for taking proper care of your back

If there is one ailment that is particularly debilitating it is back pain. If it is especially severe sufferers are often unable to continue doing the things they enjoy, for example, walking; even lying down can be difficult.

Those suffering problems with their backs do not have to be particularly active to be struck down with this affliction. Indeed, Detroit Lions chiropractor Dr Sol Cogan is on record as saying that treating athletes with back problems is not much different to treating members of the public.

The symptoms of back pain do tend to differ. For instance, lower back pain can be felt down the legs; pain in the upper region or middle of the back can cause a feeling of weakness or numbness in the limbs, chest or abdomen and even lead to a loss of bladder or bowel control.

Back pain can be caused by a slipped disc, sciatica and arthritis; however, many of the problems are self-inflicted, such as through poor posture or failing to lift heavy objects properly.

Avoiding such problems can mean introducing some minor lifestyle adjustments. Regular exercise such as walking and swimming can help strengthen the back muscles. Good posture can also aid back comfort, so slumping while sitting on a chair should be avoided. Wherever possible it is also advisable to sit on chairs with a backrest and with the feet placed flat against the floor. When bending it should be done through the knees and hips rather than the back, and it is important never to twist and bend at the same time.

Lifting is a major cause of injury to the back, so to avoid such issues heavy loads should lifted and carried close to the body. Other ways to avoid back strain and the resulting pain is to sleep on a suitable mattress and if applicable, lose weight.

As soon as back pain appears physical activity should be stopped, but for only a few days. A heat or ice pack can be used on the affected area and pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen taken to ease the pain.

The sleeping position is very important when trying to overcome back pain. Those who sleep on their sides are advised to adopt a fetal position with a pillow between their legs. People who lie on their backs should put a pillow under their knees to relieve pressure on the back.

Recovery time will depend on the symptoms, but generally it should have no major impact on the sufferer’s life and he or she can begin to exercise again after two or three weeks. However, this should be done slowly and it is suggested that heavy lifting be avoided for a period of six weeks.

When suffering back pain a visit to a chiropractor can help. Regular consultations can ensure the back remains pain free and help prevent a repeat of the problem.

If proper care is taken back pain is much less likely to reoccur. However, there are steps that can be taken if symptoms do appear and which will help ease the pain.