Back pain can knock you off your feet for days. Whether you strain your back from lifting, pulling or even slouching, expect discomfort and walking gingerly as your body recovers. Whether you suffer from chronic back pain due to a debilitating condition, or you overdid it at the gym, here are some tips to ease lower and upper back pain. It's important to note that if you were injured in an accident or a fall, it's best to reach out to your healthcare provider to rule out a more serious problem.
Ice or Cold Compress
A simple trip to the freezer can help ease back pain, particularly after the back is slightly injured. When the back is damaged, inflammation is the main source of pain. Ice can reduce inflammation when applied up to 48 hours after the injury. Plan on laying low with a cold compress for no more than 20 minutes -- you don't want to damage your skin on top of the back pain.
Then, Heat It
Two days after an injury, switch from cold to hot. Use a hot compress to relax the muscles and give the body the opportunity to heal comfortably. Again, don't keep a hot or warm compress on for more than 20 minutes.
Walk it Off
As tempting as it may be to rest on the couch during a bout of back pain, it's actually not always the best idea. Without overdoing it, keep on with your daily activities. Or, take a short walk around the block every couple of hours to keep the spine moving. Once you recover completely from the back strain, consider implementing a regular workout regimen to prevent further injury.
Strength Train and Stretch
Strength training is ideal for preventing back pain. By strengthening the muscles around the spine, your back is better supported as you move about your day. Stretching is also integral to back health, particularly if you spend lots of time in a chair during the day. Avoid slouching -- which places strain on the back -- by taking regular stretch breaks and walks around the office.
Improve Your Posture
Listen to Mom's advice: stop slouching! Make a conscious effort to stand tall by pulling your shoulders back, pulling in your stomach and lengthening your neck. Proper posture eases the strain on your back to help avoid the back pain in the first place.
Engage in Acupressure
Acupressure helps to stimulate blood flow and nerve response in your muscles to ease lower and upper back pain. The Q-Flex is a way to apply acupressure to your back without needing help from anyone else. Apply the Q-Flex to the lower back, midway between the top of the hip bone and base of the buttock, and the center of the back of each knee to ease the pressure, tension, and pain in the back.