How much do you know about your back pain? What can you do to alleviate it? Is it time to see a doctor?
Walking is a great way to gently exercise the back and eliminate the stiff, tight muscles that can lead to back problems. Avoid strenuous exercises and/or forced stretching that may aggravate the problem.
In addition to sitting in a chair with good low back support, you should remember to keep your knees slightly higher than your hips while seated. You can use a low stool or another flat surface to raise your feet and knees.
The correct answer is true. It’s possible to have pain caused by nerve compression in the back and not feel pain in your back at all. Because of the way your nerves branch out from the spinal cord, your back problem can present as leg pain such as sciatica or arm pain.
All of these can cause leg pain. When you are sedentary for prolonged periods, your muscles become stiff. Over time, they become weak too. Lack of muscle strength or control can lead to an aching back, as can injury, strain, or carrying around extra weight.
The correct answer is true. Low back pain is one of the most prevalent health issues facing Americans today. In fact, four out of five of us will experience back pain during our lifetime and it’s a leading reason for short term disability claims in people under 45 years of age.
The correct answer is false. Because many back problems can cause pain with overlapping symptoms, the exact cause of low back pain can be difficult to pinpoint. Common causes of back pain include spinal degeneration, spinal stenosis, overuse, strain or sprain, or slipped disk.
The correct answer is a. When lifting a heavy object, keep your feet wide and bend at the hips and knees slightly. While squatting, lower yourself until you are able to firmly grasp the item you are picking up. Keep your abdominal muscles firm and your back flat. While lifting the object, keep it close to your body and don’t forget to breathe.
The correct answer is true. In most cases, low back pain will not need to be treated with surgery. Usually physical therapy, supportive devices, medication and changes in activities, ergonomics, and lifestyle will ease the pain and promote healing.
The correct answer is c. Side sleeping is best for your back—and a pillow between the legs promotes correct alignment of the spine and hips, and easing the stiff back feeling when you wake in the morning.
The correct answer is all of the above. These are all contact sports and involve a quick, ever-changing pace, and twisting. Such movements greatly increase the risk for back injury.
For the first two days of back pain, alternating the application of ice and heat should provide relief. In addition, a massage appropriate for your type of back pain —by a licensed massage therapist—can target trigger points and ease tightness and muscle pain. Remaining in bed for extended time periods can create additional muscle stiffness, causing more back pain.
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor.