Lately my back has been flaring up with it's stiffness, pain, and just all around comfortableness. It sucks. Anyone who suffers from back pain, can definitely agree!
Here are a few things that have helped my chronic back pain over the years as well as recently. I hope it helps some of you back pain sufferers out there!
Yoga has probably been the number one thing that has helped my back pain over the years. Not only does almost every move in yoga strengthen your core, which then helps to less strain on your back (or so I hear), but a lot of yoga poses help to stretch out the back.
Here are some poses that have helped me:
Child's pose can be done with the hands/arms behind you as shown, or you can place them out in front of you, stretching forward. When doing the second option, sometimes it feels really nice on my lower back to shift my knees further a part rather than closer together.
Variation of Child's Pose
Knees to Chest
This pose is extremely helpful, especially when I first wake up in the morning and need a good stretch. You can even do it right in bed! Also, while holding your knees, as shown, you can gently rock back and forth. This really helps to release any lower back tension.
This is just ONE of the many youtube videos for lower back pain yoga stretches that have really helped me.
Remember, yoga, especially when it comes to relieving any kind of pain, is not about how perfect you can get the pose or how flexible you are. Listen to your body and do what feels good, back off of things that don't. Also, you have to keep at it. Although some stretching can help instantly with pain and discomfort, yoga is meant to be practiced. Even if it is 5 minutes before bed, your back will surely thank you!
Other things to consider:
- Do you do a lot of bending and or lifting through out the day? If so, make sure your bend from the knees and not through your back. If something is too heavy, ask for help. This is something I have definitely been doing to help prevent injury but also to help lessen the usual chronic pain I have with my back. I work retail and it can be very physical at times. If I feel there is a potential I could hurt my back, I take my time and ask for help when I need to.
- Are you drinking enough water? Water is IMPORTANT. Not only can water improve your skin and over all health, but it can actually help your back immensely! Water helps to keep our bodies (joints, muscles, and so on) moving so drink as much water as you can.
- Consider seeing a chiropractor. I know that seeing a chiropractor really helped me when my back pain first started about 6-7 years ago. I can remember being so scrunched up and tight that I couldn't even sit upright without being in excruciating pain. I am a firm believer in taking pain as a warning sign. If you are in more than just a little bit of pain and it persists, see a doctor and have them refer you to a chiropractor if that is the best thing for you.
- Ice and heat. This is another thing where you should just listen to your body's needs. Usually a hot shower or warm/wet heat (as in a wet and warm washcloth) can help more than an ice pack for me. However, some times ice is also useful in my case. You can also use things like icy hot or aspercream if you find they help. However, creams and rubs have never really done the trick for me. Like I said, it is all about listening to your body. There's also over the counter asprin/advil/alieve you can take for inflammation and so on. However, those have never really ever touched my own back pain.
- An herbal remedy that has helped not only my back pain, but my chronic knee pain as well, has been a tea, actually. Yogi tea makes a tea called 'joint comfort'. This tea has been something I have had to get used to just because it does not taste the best. It tastes kind of minty...herbal-ly? I'm not the best at describing tastes. Anyway, I usually use one-two tea bags a day with one green or black tea bag as well as some honey/brown sugar. When I combine it with another tea bag, it tastes pretty good actually! This tea also has ingredients that are meant to calm inflammation. It's awesome :)
Don't forget, breathing can sometimes prove beneficial. Just breathing! think about it, when you're driving to work or school and you don't even remember how you arrived at your destination. Were you even breathing correctly? Were you slouched in your seat the entire ride? Noticing things like this can really help your back pain in the long run, at least it has for me!
I hope this blog post has helped some of you out there and feel better!
Don't forget to breathe, again.