Back or neck pain is very common, especially for individuals over the age of 50. However, there’s a difference between having the occasional flare-up, and experiencing a serious medical condition. If you’ve had sharp, excruciating pain in your back for more than a day, it’s definitely time to see a doctor. However, if you’ve had dull aches that are annoying, but not necessarily debilitating, it may be worth making some lifestyle changes before you go directly to your doctor.
Begin a Daily Stretching Routine
Stretching is a key component to helping your muscles recover from their daily activities. Whether you spend most of your day sitting at a desk, or you haul boxes around for a shipping company, your muscles are constantly at work, and helping them prepare for the day and letting them recover once the day is over can be vital to your overall healthiness. Try to block out 20 minutes of your morning and evening schedules to devote to stretching. Warming your muscles up before you start your day can help prevent pulling cold muscles and will give them added strength for whatever lies ahead. And, by stretching your muscles in the evening, you’ll be working out the lactic acid and enzymes that have built up throughout the day, which will help them recover while you sleep.
Try Stress Relief
Not only does stress create a mental barrier for your brain, but it can also physically cause pain. If you have a lot of stress in your life, you may be causing your back muscles to remain tense throughout the day. If your back muscles are constantly tense, they may pull on joints or vertebrae and cause your back pain to worsen. Plus, tense muscles in your back can cause strain in other areas of your body, leading to problems like tension headaches or numbness in your extremities.
There are a number of different stress relief exercises you can do that will help calm your nerves and release some of the tension being bottled up in your muscles. Breathing exercises and meditation are great ways to clear your mind from your daily worries and will help you focus on your internal well-being. Also, many people find that daily sessions of yoga help them forget about upcoming deadlines or financial worries, and focus solely on relieving tension in their muscles. Once you’ve lowered your stress levels, you’ll increase your chances of eliminating your chronic pain.
Exercise and Lose Weight
Carrying around extra body weight can be harmful for a number of different areas of your body, mainly the joints in your knees and the vertebrae in your back. By losing weight, not only are you increasing your overall health, but you may even notice some of those aches and pains beginning to disappear. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a weekend warrior or begin training for a marathon to see the results you want. Incorporating 30 minutes of light exercise, like walking or riding a bike, into your daily schedule will increase your heart rate and help you begin burning some extra calories.
Massage Therapy and Ointments
Muscle knots are places in your back where muscle fibers tense up and are unable to release. Knots can cause sharp pain that immobilizes a portion of your back, shoulder blades, or even parts of your neck. Deep tissue massages can work wonders for the muscles in your back and will help release the knots that are causing you pain. Plus, if you apply heating or cooling ointments, it may add to the release effort and help loosen the fibers. Though paying for massages can get expensive, they may dramatically improve your back pain.
Taylor Thomas is an experienced writer who has written for a number of notable publications. As a lifestyle expert, Mr. Thomas is able to offer advice and insight on a multitude of topics, including those pertaining to back pain.