Your back takes on a lot in a day. Between bending, stretching, sitting, twisting, pulling, and lifting, it’s no wonder back pain is one of the most common reasons people make doctor appointments. Thankfully, there are some things we can do to help ease the strain and take care of our backs.
Keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for another, but there are simple actions you can take to find relief when you feel that twinge or ache.
The human body isn’t meant to sit all day. Movement increases blood flow, bringing fresh nutrients to your muscles so they can work their best. This also helps inflamed muscles heal faster. When your back hurts, moving may seem like the last thing you want to do, but you don’t have to break a sweat to see the benefits.
A short, easy walk or gentle stretching can make a difference. If your day is usually packed, set a reminder to take a five-minute walk every hour. Once a day, treat your back to a ten-minute stretch session. Avoid taking the easy route when you can and park farther from the door or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Food choices can have a big impact on our ability to fight inflammation. The same goes for pain. Some foods can boost inflammation, getting in the way of healing. Others may promote recovery while helping fight pain.
Eat less of these inflammatory foods:
Eat more of these delicious, anti-inflammatory foods:
You know what stress feels like—tense muscles, a clenched jaw, maybe changes to your breathing. Less obvious is what’s happening deep inside your body, where stress hormones could be causing inflammation and triggering pain. Turns out that getting a handle on stress does a lot for both your mental and back health.
You can take control of stress by practicing mindfulness. While meditation has several benefits for your overall health, even deep, focused breathing can calm the mind, refresh the body, and relax tense muscles.
In addition to the benefits mentioned earlier, moving your body is great for helping the mind and body relax. Stretching, yoga, or a relaxing walk in nature all help.
Journaling is a good way to uncover what causes you stress and reflect on how your body responds. Brainstorm ideas for changing your response for a more positive outcome—physically and mentally.
Restorative sleep helps our bodies relax and repair. Sleep position, nightly bedtime routines, and sleep environment can all play a part in easing potential back pain and helping you sleep better—which will help you feel better too.
Investing in a pillow that supports the neck properly for your preferred sleep position can be a game changer when it comes to back pain. Try placing a small pillow between the knees if you’re a side sleeper or under your knees if you sleep on your back. Make sure your hips and knees are level with each other to keep your back in a neutral and more relaxed position.
Building a soothing nighttime routine including a hot bath or shower and light stretching can help too. Giving your muscles the chance to relax after a long day of use might make it easier to fall asleep, so your body can start repairing itself faster.
Getting a handle on back health requires a whole-life approach—small changes to how you move, eat, manage stress, and sleep could make a world of difference.
If back pain is an issue in your life, working with a MOBE Guide could help you find solutions that fit your unique situation. To find out if you're eligible for MOBE, check your status or call 844-841-9725. Ready to take the first step with a MOBE Guide? Schedule a call online or download the MOBE Health Guide app.