Back pain is a lot more than annoying. Isn’t it? It affects your daily functioning and limits various activities. The confusing thing about back pain is you have less chance of knowing what caused it in the first place.
Most of us go through back pain at some point or the other, primarily because of the lifestyle we are living today. Some people face this condition even without any injury or risk factors, which is why lifestyle plays a massive part in our lives.
It is not always serious, but when it does, it rarely goes away on its own. Fortunately, there are a handful of home remedies for back pain that you can test for yourself and check your progress. These include your eating habits, daily routine, exercises, and some impactful yoga poses.
What Causes Back Pain?
Our spine is a complex structure made of muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and disks responsible for supporting and moving around. Various factors and reasons can cause you back pain, such as injury, improper posture, lifestyle habits, genes, and mental health issues.
It can be appalling or oblivious. Nevertheless, something as persistent as back pain shouldn’t be taken for granted as it can reduce the quality of your precious life. It can affect people at any age, and as one ages, the chances of developing or worsening it can increase.
One of the several medical conditions can be a reason for your back pain, such as:
1) Arthritis: Overactive immune system that causes the body to attack its own cells and tissues in the joints.
2) Sciatica: A painful condition caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve that radiates down to the leg.
3) Herniated disc: This occurs when the rubbery disc between the spinal bones pushes through a crack and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.
4) Unusual curvation of the spine: An abnormal spine posture results in back pain. For example, scoliosis.
Some of the typical lifestyle causes of back pain are:
- Strain on muscles or joints
- Injuries or falls
- Muscle spasms
- Improper posture
- Incorrect form during a workout
- Lifting something too heavy for your weight
In addition to this, certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, obesity, and diet, are also responsible for aggravating your existing back pain.
1) Smoking: Many studies have found a connection between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking contributes to inflammation. If you have pain (not just back ache), smoking tends to magnify it and doesn’t allow the body to heal itself completely. (1)
2) Obesity/Overweight: A high BMI index is associated with many chronic conditions, one of which is back pain. Excess weight can put loads of pressure on your spine, leading to further joint wear and tear. (2)
3) Diet: According to Ayurveda, certain foods which are spicy or astringent can raise Vata in the body, leading to poor circulation, muscle spasms, pain, and stiffness. (3)
What Are The Best Home Remedies For Back Pain?
It can be frustrating to go to your doctor multiple times when you are uncertain about what caused you pain or don’t know how to treat yourself. Moreover, taking medications, mostly painkillers, will not help heal your back pain. On the contrary, it can worsen the condition when you are off medicines. (4)
It is essential to understand that healing any physical or mental ailment is fundamental for a long-term healthy life. Taking painkillers is a temporary relief and cannot improve your condition.
Lifestyle changes like implementing a suitable diet, physical activities, yoga, and good mental health are significant factors for your physical health.
The good news is that there is a wide range of ways to relieve your back pain naturally and effectively. Try the strategies mentioned below and discover what works best for you.
1) Prioritize Your Overall Posture
Your posture defines not only your personality but also your physical and mental health. Slouching or hunching for long periods puts unnecessary tension on your muscles, ligaments, and discs, causing back pain and stiffness.
There are two ways to handle this:
1) Avoid excessive sitting: When you sit for long durations, the pressure on your spine gradually increases. Try to get up and walk after every 30-45 mins of static sitting.
You can also try rotating activities so that your muscles in the spine don’t get over-fatigued. For instance, if you are sitting and working for quite some time, then consider shifting to a different position where you can work and relax those engaged muscles simultaneously.
2) Correct your posture: Having an upright posture while working helps the muscles around the spine to balance themselves, which helps in reducing the degeneration of supportive muscles.
2) Stretch Your Muscles With Yoga Poses
Yoga is an effective supportive tool to stretch and strengthen your muscles and joints. It improves nutrient circulation so that all parts of your body get equal amounts of energy to heal and recover.
It is generally advisable to start yoga with basic postures as a beginner and gradually advance your level as your body gets convenient and flexible.
3) Monitor Your Diet Intake
“You are what you eat” literally makes sense when we talk about inflammation and pain, particularly joint or muscular discomforts. A variety of foods tend to increase inflammation and pain, and also, there are foods that can reduce them.
The causes of inflammation may vary, but it is often a defensive act against a foreign substance, which can get chronic over time and trigger by itself without any cause. Foods containing trans and saturated fats, white flours, and sugars can trigger inflammation, leading to joint and muscle pain.
Some of the primary inflammatory foods to look out for are:
- Red meat
- Cold and sugary drinks
- Highly processed foods
- White bread, pasta, and rice (lots of it)
The second part of the diet is to eat foods that counter inflammation. These foods are rich in antioxidants, protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats. The more the availability of these foods, the more you can consume them. Some of them are:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Beans, pulses, and whole grains
- Variety of fruits
- Nuts and seeds
As yoga poses, meditation can also be a great tool to change your perception of the situation you are going through. Meditation involves you being aware of your pain without any judgment so that you don’t waste energy overthinking.
Healing takes place when there is a lot of energy. Therefore, meditation helps you conserve your physical and mental energy to promote healing and relaxation. It also increases the production of feel-good hormones (serotonin and endorphins), easing your stress and anxiety.
5) Get Good Quality Sleep
A proper and balanced night’s sleep is considered to be healing and therapeutic. It provides you with fresh energy to feel relaxed and rejuvenated. A night’s sleep is crucial because it is the perfect timing to reap most health benefits. It is our natural sleep order.
Did you know that your mattress could also be a major cause of your back pain and stiffness? Yes, that’s right. A soft mattress is comfortable, but it will cause misalignment of the spine throughout your sleep.
Those with back pain issues generally prefer a firm mattress or find it comfortable sleeping on the floor. This is because your spine is correctly aligned to the surface, improving overall blood flow circulation.
6) Maintain Healthy Weight
Being overweight can also heighten your chances of pain in the spine and other parts of your body. Excess weight can put mechanical tensions on your body, further increasing stress on your muscles and joints. This inevitably results in musculoskeletal and joint pain.
Losing some pounds can be really beneficial as it reduces the extra load on your back, thereby protecting your joints from extra strain and pressure.
7) Quit Bad Lifestyle Habits
Research has discovered that a regular smoker is four times more likely to develop a spine-related issue, such as degenerative disc disease. The chemical “nicotine” found in cigarettes and other products steals vital nutrients from the discs that act as cushions for your joints and hence contribute to wearing out of the spinal bones.
On the other hand, alcohol usage dulls your back pain temporarily. However, regular heavy consumption of alcohol can create more sensitivity to pain as its withdrawal symptom.
For instance, if you stop drinking alcohol altogether after months of abusing it, the intensity of pain will hit you greater than before. Quitting both these habits will positively impact your back problems and other important areas of life as well.
Dealing with back pain is basically a process of trial and error. You need to observe and be aware of your daily pattern of living and make changes accordingly. Extreme pain that you can’t treat alone should be evaluated by a health professional for diagnosis and an accurate treatment plan.