Most people are affected by back pain at some point in their lives. Spending long periods slumped in front of a television or peering at a computer puts our musculoskeletal systems at greater risk. While good posture is no longer associated with moral superiority as it once was, it is still one of the best ways to prevent back pain.
In addition to good posture, lifting and carrying things correctly and using a chair with a backrest can all help to keep your back healthy. However, regular exercise is the top tip for a strong back. Not only will it help you to control your weight (being overweight is linked with back problems), but physical activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling will strengthen back muscles, taking pressure off your joints and tendons.
Home Remedies for Back Pain –
If you suffer acute back pain, a short period of bed rest may help, but more than a couple of days will do more harm than good. Gentle exercise, such as cycling or swimming, improves circulation and helps prevent further problems.
- Apply heat to a sore back. Good choices include compresses made with rosemary or thyme tea; warmed wheat bags (available from health food stores or pharmacies); salt packs (see “Salty relief,” above); heat packs (from pharmacies); or infrared light treatment.
- Take hot oil baths with thyme extracts to soothe pain, followed by massages with hand-warmed massage oil. Oils that contain lavender, rosemary, and ginger are found to be particularly effective.
- When you can, bathe in a natural hot spring. It can be just as good for your psyche as for your back.
- Rub your back with lemon balm. To prepare, steep 1 cup (200 g) fresh lemon balm leaves for 10 days in a tightly sealed container with 1 quart (1 L) of rubbing alcohol and leave in a warm place. Strain and dilute with water in a 4:1 proportion.
- Try a hot wheat pack. Boil about 2 pounds (1 kg) wheat grains until soft. Put the hot mixture into a cloth bag and place it on your sore back for 15 minutes.
- Ease soreness with a hot bath to which you have added 1 cup (250 g) Epsom salts. These magnesium-rich salts promote relaxation, relieve pain, and have a mild sedative and antispasmodic effect.
- Place a thick cushion under your legs at night so that your thighs can be straight up, and your knees are bent at a right angle to take the strain off your spinal column.
Back Pain Prevention –
- Don’t carry lopsided loads. Lift heavy weights with your knees bent and always keep your back straight.
- Keep your back warm. Avoid exposing it to cold and drafts.
- Replace a saggy mattress. Do not penny-pinch when you buy a new one. It should be made from high-quality materials and neither too hard nor too soft.
- Avoid sitting in chairs without proper back support. Replace old, worn-out chairs.
- Use a wedge pillow to encourage erect posture while sitting.
- If you have a sedentary occupation, change your sitting position frequently and stand up and stretch every 30 minutes.
- Avoid high heels—wear comfortable shoes as often as you can.