Is there anything for back pain relief that I can do myself?
Managing your back pain yourself is essential, however it is always important to check in with your G.P. before starting anything. If you are on medication, having a treatment also is not a problem but it is always safer to have it checked by a doctor. Once you have the all clear, you can look into the advice below and if you are in the Galway area, you are welcome to come for a treatment.
I have chronic pain in my middle and upper back what can I do?
Pain in this region is nearly always due to poor posture, especially if you sit at a desk all day. The advice below will help and what you need to focus on is stretching and opening the chest. The reason your back is sore, the muscles are constantly working to keep you upright against tight chest or pectoral muscles.
The foam roller is also brilliant for this area (see below) and something I had to do myself is get a large screen and stop looking the laptop plus put the cushion between me and the desk. Yes, you read that right, put it on tummy area to keep you back and conscious of leaning into your laptop. Try it and see!
Have to keep cracking my back is this recommended?
Personally I wouldn't recommend forcing your back to ‘crack'. While it can give some instant relief it will soon return and you can hurt yourself is you do it too severely. Ideally working on spine flexibility and articulation will help prevent the problem and reduce back pain. Also incorporate ways to release tension prior to exercising as certain types of exercising on tension can bring another set of problems. Improving your flexibility with the likes of yoga is the best long term solution rather than the quick fix.
I can't sit down for long periods of time comfortably.
In fact you shouldn't be sitting for long periods especially with back pain. Max recommend time sitting is 45mins. It is better to start working towards getting rid of your back pain rather than making the pain worse over a long period of time. Working in your flexibility, strength and fitness is your best course of action and having some treatments of course will ensure you are building on a good posture, not exacerbating problems with a poor posture.
I find standing kills my back, why?
When you are suffering with back pain, there has been studies which show reduced core engagement and over a period of time, your core also
Advice for back pain relief:
Personally I wouldn't recommend forcing your back to ‘crack'. While it can give some instant relief it will soon return and you can hurt yourself is you do it too severely. Ideally working on spine flexibility and articulation will help prevent the problem and reduce back pain. Also incorporate ways to release tension prior to exercising as certain types of exercising on tension can bring another set of problems.
To improve your spine flexibility, Yoga is a fantastic way or Pilates, always go for recognised and recommended teachers. Make sure you explain to your teacher about your back pain as with any exercise class. For me I love to dance, the movement of dance is a great way to release tension in the body. If it is a fluid type of dance like say salsa and is great fun and exercise too.
Body awareness and relaxation techniques are another way to get the body to release and give back pain relief. You will find if you get the body to relax and let go of tension on a regular basis your back may release and you will feel come small ‘clicks’ on your back but there is no fear of damage with the spine as it releases on own.
3. Warm Epsom Salts bath
You will find using things to get muscles to relax will be more effective over time. Even an Epsom salts bath, not too hot is great for the muscles, the magnesium is really beneficial for muscle soreness and for me, a super easy way for back pain relief.
4. Correct Sitting Posture
When sitting, make sure you aren’t stooped over a laptop, make sure the spine is straight and supported. Your feet should be comfortably on the ground (use a foot rest or box) and wrists straight. It is only recommend you sit for no more than 45min before moving position. It could be useful to put a funny image on your desktop to remind you to stretch too. Here is a blog on some ways to exercise at your desk to keep you moving.
5. Foam Roller
One last handy device for when you have overdone it and your back aches (let’s face it we all do it trying to hit a deadline, even me) is a foam roller. You can place it horizontally or vertically along the spine, lie on it looking at the ceiling and simply roll over it and give yourself a quick fix massage 🙂
Of course if your pain and tension has built up over a period, or say stress has exacerbated it, trying to release tension on your own is difficult. Some sort of treatment to help you get ahead again can be the simplest way and then follow on yourself so much as possible.
6. Getting Stronger & Fitter
This can be a challenge with back pain and you need to listen to your own body on this one. Walking will always be the safest option. Some people find swimming helps, it nearly killed me and made my back pain worse because I can't swim. Trying to learn with back pain and being terrified of water meant I was stiff and tense in the water. What did work, was aqua fit and walking the pool when I was very bad but please look for a pool that is easy to access. Trying to lift your body weight out of water up a vertical ladder which some pools have with severe back pain is no joke. I went to a different centre after finding out the hard way which had steps like a stairs into the pool. I also recommend to my clients to go as deep as they can once the severe pain is gone as this is a great way to challenge the core gently as you have to keep your balance, plus the added bonus of the resistance of the water. For aquafit classes, I recommend this in particular. The classes I had the most success with were deep water aquafit but I haven't seen many of these classes since.
I hope you find something that helps there.