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woman doing yoga stretch

4 Ways to Self-Treat Back and Neck Pain

It’s estimated that eight out of ten people will suffer from back or neck pain throughout their lives, with many of these suffering chronic discomfort. While medication and painkillers can help to alleviate the symptoms of such maladies for some people, they’re by no means a cure-all solution.

Self-Treat Back and Neck Pain

If you’re one of the unfortunate souls for whom taking painkillers just doesn’t seem to help, or for whom constant medication is an unattractive option, here are four alternative ways in which you might be able to address the root cause of the problem.

1. Stretch it out

Much back and neck pain arises from stiffness and tightness in muscles and ligaments. Conducting a series of stretches and movements on a regular basis (every morning before showering and every evening before bed, for example) can increase the flexibility of your joints, thus providing pain relief and reducing the chances of suffering a recurrence of the complaint in the future. If you have a willing partner to hand, gentle massaging is another great way to self-treat back and neck pain.

2. Change your diet

Did you know 70% to 80% of the discs in our spinal column consist of water? For that reason, it’s imperative you stay hydrated throughout the diet to replace these vital fluids and minimise tension on your vertebrae. Meanwhile, magnesium is well-known for its abilities to help relax strained or sprained muscles, so increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods (such as fruit and vegetables, soy products and whole grains) can help to alleviate back and neck pain, too.

3. Take to the pool

The therapeutic effects of exercise in general should not be underestimated, and swimming in particular poses an attractive method of easing stiffness and reducing inflammation of sore muscles and joints. Be careful to choose a stroke that doesn’t cause severe discomfort and avoid over-exertion – breast stroke or backstroke can be very effective, since they avoid minimal movement of the neck. For best results, find a heated pool.

4. Adjust your posture

We often think of pain arising from an injury or accident, but much of the time chronic aches and pains are simply the result of poor habits. More than half of back pain sufferers report that they sit down for the majority of their working day – if that sounds familiar, consider purchasing or requesting a lumbar support chair for the office (and perhaps for the car, as well). Meanwhile, choosing a mattress that’s right for you will minimise any exacerbation of the issue overnight.

See a specialist

While these home remedies may help to take the edge off your back and neck pain and even reduce its long-term impact, there’s simply no substitute for the advice and treatment of a trained professional. At CW Chiropractic, we have years of experience in identifying and treating a multitude of back and neck pain complaints. To see how we can help you, get in touch today.

man stretching his back doing exercise at beach

Why Exercise is Vital for a Healthy Back

Staying active and taking part in regular exercise is crucial for a healthy spine, and the symptoms of chronic back pain can usually be mitigated with physical activity. It’s understandable that some sports and activities involve risk, and it is possible to suffer a sprained muscle or hurt the back with too much physical exercise – but a back injury is not the same as ongoing back pain. You can recover from a pulled muscle in the back caused by playing sports, yet chronic back pain is difficult to treat.

Exercise Improves Back Health

This is why even if you suffer from back pain, you should still take part in physical exercise. Keeping the back mobile is vital for spine health, and will stop the back muscles losing their strength. People often self-medicate a bad back with bed rest but this is in fact the opposite of what health professionals now recommend. Sitting down too much and inactivity can cause lower back pain or make it worse.

If you have a tense, stiff or sore back, you should complete an exercise regime which aims to mobilise and strengthen the spine and the muscles. Every case of back pain is different and you should speak to a doctor and physiotherapist about the best exercises and stretches to do to help ease the pain. However, in general, these physical activities are recommended to prevent and treat back pain.

Swimming and other water activities

Swimming is a low impact exercise, which means it’s easy on the joints. Doing some lengths in a swimming pool a couple of times a week can keep the back mobile. However, if you prefer to swim with your head out of the water this can sometimes cause neck or back issues. In this case, try water aerobics or another water based activity.

Walking

Going for a brisk walk, even if it’s just round the block can help to keep your back mobile. From walking the dog to walking to the bus stop, short but regular walks can boost energy and keep you active.

Cycling

Tell back pain to “Get on yer bike!” Cycling is a gentle activity which can be enjoyed by all ages. Always wear a helmet and stay safe on the roads – you may wish to stick to woodland cycle paths. Going for a leisurely bike ride can do wonders for your back.

Yoga

Many chronic back pain sufferers recommend yoga for easing pain. The series of stretching, poses and breathing exercises helps to improve mobility and flexibility, and is reported to be more effective than painkillers and back exercises according to The Daily Mail.

Staying active is key to easing the symptoms and improving your condition.