As people get older, they often experience pain in different parts of their body. One of the most common complaints that we hear from them is regarding the pain they feel in their backs when they move or position their bodies in a certain way. With millions of Americans suffering from chronic pain you might think most of them have found an effective treatment but actually studies point to the contrary. Chronic back pain is often the result of compounded events that have caused stress and trauma to the back. Frequent heavy lifting or incorrect posture may also contribute to the pain.
Most people want to see that their parents age comfortably because it’s very painful to watch a loved one in pain. In this article, you will learn a variety of methods to reduce, and perhaps even more importantly, prevent back pain. After reading this, you will be able to help mom and dad live a more enjoyable and less painful life.
Who is most at risk?
People Who Do Not Exercise
Exercise helps the body build tolerance. When you exercise, you train your muscles to grow accustomed to pressure and weight. Simply put, bodies that lack exercise are more susceptible to pain in areas that were not conditioned to support a certain weight or force.
As people age, their bodies grow weaker. Naturally, they operate and function at a significantly lesser capacity than when they were younger. Their bones are more fragile, their immune system is weaker, and they are more susceptible to illnesses and pain.
People Who Have Incorrect Posture When Lifting
When people lift something heavy, it is highly recommended by medical and fitness professionals to utilize proper body mechanics. Weight can be applied to the legs and not the back. Frequently lifting heavy things with the wrong posture can also cause injuries.
People With an Unhealthy Weight
Those whose weight is considered unhealthy for their age, height, and body mass index are also highly susceptible to back pain. All bodies are different and that means that they also are built to support different weights depending on a number of factors. Excess weight puts a strain on different parts of the body including the back.
How Back Pain Can Be Alleviated
Back pain can be treated and prevented in several ways. There are quicker ways such as surgery and medication. It can also be treated through natural means that typically involve more effort and time.
Keep Moving and Be Active
As mentioned before, the lack of exercise can contribute to back pain. To prevent it, you can do simple exercises that strengthen your core and back. To alleviate back pain, avoid sitting for prolonged hours. If it really can’t be helped, they can try to stand up once in a while. At the same time, they can also do some walking or gentle stretches to improve their blood circulation.
It is best to still consult their doctors regarding physical restrictions since overdoing activities may lead to a more serious medical or physical condition.
Warm and natural is the answer! This technique is often used to manage pain and improve muscle function. This process happens when the patient bathes in warm thermal mineral water from hot springs. The natural minerals have other great benefits, but it also helps soothes back pain. You can prepare a trip to a hot spring for your parents, and they will thank you for it!
A guided exercise by a physical therapist or fitness trainer is an excellent way to treat or even reduce back pain. Yoga is a great example of a guided exercise. It improves flexibility and strength which can help ease or treat chronic back pain.
For the elderly, it is best to follow a professional’s recommended routine. It is more important to exercise while being conscious of the limits of your body so that you can also exercise safely.
A technique called the “Alexander technique” is a form of therapy that corrects bad postures. Slouching, for example, can be corrected through this therapy. According to those who have tried it, their back pain eventually went away as they consistently attended therapy.
It is crucial to learn from a vetted professional. Your parents just need a certified coach and enroll themselves in several sessions to get the maximum benefit.
Spinal manipulation is a common technique performed by chiropractic doctors. This technique is known to reduce and relieve pain as muscle tightness is being eased out and tension in the spine is released.
As with most of these treatments, finding the right specialist is crucial.
According to traditional Chinese medicinal practice, pain comes from blocked energy. With acupuncture, the needles are used to unblock the pathways. Many people who have experienced chronic back pain have been relieved of pain because of this method.
This therapy may be quite costly since it requires multiple and frequent visits.
A great option for temporary back pain relief is through back massages. Massages are generally very calming and therapeutic. It’s great for mental health as it can also ease anxiety and relieve stress. On top of that, it helps alleviate back pain!
Getting a good massage at least once a week is less expensive compared to other treatments, and they will surely be temporarily free of pain.
There are many herbal products on the market today that have been historically used by people to alleviate their pain. These aren’t prescription drugs but for those days where the pain getting out of order, it’s good to have some herbal medicines handy. It is important to note that while some ancient medicines have been extensively researched proving their effectiveness and safety, others are still being researched and mostly rely on anecdotal support. For this reason, it is strongly advised that you do your due diligence before taking or giving your parents anything.
- Turmeric – Dating back more than 2000 years ago, this golden spice is known for its vast health benefits including improving liver function, digestion, skin health and is especially for reducing inflammation and chronic and arthritis pain relief. There are countless studies on Turmeric that support its usage causing its widespread adoption throughout the world. It is generally advised to purchase turmeric from a health food store to ensure that you are getting a high quality, organic product.
- Willow Bark – The bark of the willow tree has also been used for centuries as an anti inflammatory and pain-relieving medicine. The active ingredient is salicin and few trials confirm the effectiveness of the herb. Studies suggest that osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can be relieved with this ancient medicine. It is also for muscle or joint pain, menstrual cramps as well as lower back pain. Willow bark can be found online or in health food stores.
- Kratom – A tropical tree in the coffee family, kratom is a plant that has been used for millennia, mostly in Southeast Asia where it is grown. Known for its bitter taste, kratom contains two alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Evidence suggests that they can have pain relieving effects on the body. However, while kratom has become increasingly popular, for now relies mostly on anecdotal evidence to support its efficacy and safety. Countless testimonials from users on Reddit and elsewhere rave about it as a godsend for them managing their pain and the ongoing research looks to be very promising. Kratom products can be ordered online directly through dedicated kratom websites and is mostly sold in powder or capsule format.
Use Proper Body Mechanics
Back pain can also be a result of one’s activities and posture. Here are some examples of how to prevent back pain:
- Stand tall and don’t slouch.
- Sit Smart – Choose a seat that supports your back.
- Lift Correctly – Use your legs and not your back.
Drop that cigarette and quit smoking!
Smoking increases the risk of getting back pain. In most surveys, it was revealed that chronic smokers also suffered from back pain. By quitting smoking, they can also lessen their chances of getting back pain.
Although many health experts think that pillows, beds, and other back support merchandise are ineffective, some patients testify that it’s actually quite the opposite! Finding the right firmness for pillows, beds, and back support merchandise have proven to effectively alleviate pain. That’s because positioning these items correctly not only provide support as you sleep, but they also help correct posture. Fortunately, it never hurt to try and see what the products can do for you!
People are vulnerable to getting back pain because of a variety of reasons such as the nature of their job, their lifestyle, and the physical activities they had done when they were young or just by aging. Luckily, back pain can be prevented by watching one’s weight, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, and finding a treatment that works best for you.
When back pain is managed properly, suddenly, there will be energy to do more activities, hangout with the kids and grand kids and will just be more pleasant to be around. It is also important to understand that back pain should never be taken lightly or ignored. Our parents watched over us when we were unable to take care of ourselves, now it’s your turn to return the favor.