Resolving Back Pain
It happened again. You reached forward, felt something tweak, and now you can’t stand up straight. Or, it could have been something a bit more strenuous. You might have been deadlifting at the gym and decided to go for one more rep. Regardless of how it happened, your back is out and you’re in pain.
Pain is incredibly unique and often requires an individualized approach. However, there are a few common strategies that help most people struggling with back pain. Here are a few things that we’ve seen the majority of our clients have success with.
Use Movement to Alleviate Back Pain
It may hurt to move while you’re in pain. We understand that. And, it may seem counterintuitive to move while you are in pain. However, if the movement does not worsen your pain in the moment or later on during the day, you are not making your injury worse by being active. In fact, being active will increase blood flow to the injured area, which speeds up the healing process.
For this reason, we’re big proponents of continuing to be active throughout an injury. If you workout regularly, keep working out – simply scale movements that cause more than moderate discomfort. Resting makes it take longer to recover because there isn’t as much blood flow. Rest also causes deconditioning, so when you get back to doing what you did before, your odds of injury increase because you aren’t as strong as you previously were.
If you don’t know where to start, these three exercises typically go well for most individuals. Going for a walk is also something that usually feels good and helps recovery from back pain.
Prone Press Up
Use Sleep to Alleviate Back Pain
This is one step that is often overlooked but can have the largest impact. Sleep, nutrition, stress, alcohol consumption, and social support all play large roles in recovery. Because of how large a role sleep plays in recovery, if you’re only going to choose one factor to optimize, we suggest choosing sleep.
We all know that 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended. What isn’t as widely known is that the quality of your sleep – the amount of time you spend in deep sleep and REM sleep – is more important than the quantity of sleep. It is possible to get better sleep and be more well rested without sleeping more. Here’s a list of tips that we share with clients to help them optimize their sleep without spending more time in bed.
- Consistency – Don’t worry about the amount of sleep you get, but go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Cold – Dial your thermostat between 60-65 degrees F. The colder the room, the deeper the sleep.
- Dark – Get black out curtains.
- Light – Expose yourself to bright light upon waking.
- Avoid exercising at night – Exercise will improve sleep, but avoid it within 4 hours of bedtime.
- Avoid naps – Naps increase human performance only if you are already getting 7 hours of sleep outside the naps.
- Avoid caffeine after noon – The half-life of caffeine is 7 hours.
- Avoid alcohol and spicy foods – for 3 hours prior to bedtime.
- Reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex.
Wrapping Things Up
There you have it. In order to improve back pain, the best place to start is moving more and sleeping better. It sounds simple – and in a way, it is – but it’s a tried and true method that helps improve back pain.
If you’re looking for more help on how to resolve your back pain, we suggest downloading our E-Book Back Out? Fix It Here! It gives a more detailed break-down of how we walk individuals through fixing their back pain.