Whether you're working in the garden or sitting down for too long, back pain is a common ailment among many older individuals. According to AARP, 80 percent of adults will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives and as the body ages it's more common.
There are several habits you can add to your daily routine to stop the pain instead of turning to prescription drugs to do the job. Older adults are more at risk of developing arthritis, bulges in disks or a narrowing of the spinal canal due to aging. As a result, more pressure is put on the back's nerves and result in an aching pain that doesn't seem to go away.
Although you can opt for surgery and medications, turning to therapies and remedies may also be beneficial.
Physical therapy is one way to strengthen the muscles in your core. When these are stronger and you're more flexible, you can help to stabilize the spine. If you are having trouble, a doctor may suggest two visits to the therapist per week for as long as eight weeks. Some physical therapists will also give you at-home exercises to do as well.
Rather than sitting around all day and letting the pain build up, you should go outside for activities such as walking, biking or swimming. These will increase your heart rate and allow your muscles to deal with extended periods of activity better. The endurance you'll build up will also help to prevent an injury to the spine or back muscles.
You can also prevent back injury by getting involved in weight training. There are specific exercises that will build muscles in the back. Since a loss of muscle mass is associated with aging, it's important to get out there and replace what's been lost.
If you aren't one for breaking a sweat at the gym, try something like yoga, Pilates or tai chi. The exercises and stretches associated with these practices will increase flexibility, build endurance and help to support the spine while strengthening your core muscles.
A relaxing way to help with back pain is to get a therapeutic massage. A massage can increase blood flow and decrease inflammation. The best way to determine if a massage is right for treating your back pain is go to weekly for a month. Oftentimes, the benefits of a massage can last for up to eight weeks following treatment.
Even though dealing your back pain may be a struggle, avoid laying in bed for too long. Every day you spend in bed you can lose 1 percent of your muscle strength, which can potentially make the pain worse. Back braces also weaken muscles so it's best to use them infrequently.
Lifestyle changes to help with back pain
On top of alternative treatments, there are minor changes you can make to significantly ease back pain.
Try tilting your rearview mirror up so you'll force your body to sit up straighter so you can see what's behind you. When you sit up, you'll improve your posture and reduce back and neck pain. If you're heading out for a road trip, take a break every so often to stretch out your legs and back, this will help with pain too.
Having poor posture can put even more pressure on your spine as well as on the nerves of the back. You can help improve your posture by keeping a slight inward curve in your lower back and at your neck and an outward curve in your upper back.
You can also try sitting up more at your desk or while watching television. Most individuals have a tendency to shrink down into the couch or recliner while watching television which can cause strain on the back and lead to pain.