Let's talk about BACK PAIN! It seems to get us all at some point; active, inactive, old, young and everyone in-between. Is that true? Are there things we can do to prevent it? More precisely, what can we do to remedy the problem once we are there?
It's a lot easier to prevent a problem - than to fix a problem. However, most of us do something called retroactive problem solving, where a problem has to show up before we really think about how to fix or deal with it.
The recommendation for back pain: Living an overall healthy, active lifestyle can help prevent back pain lower down the line. Annual visits to a chiropractor/physiotherapist can also be a huge help as they can notice problems as they happen and fix them before it gets worse.
Why does eating right and maintain a good activity level effect our back pain?
One of the most common causes of backpain is actually blood flow! By increasing blood flow, you are begin to reduce stiffness, relax the muscles and promote more flexibility and overall comfort for the affected area. A great way to increase blood flow is through daily stretching.
The back has two types of main arteries that can bring in fresh blood flow to maintain operation. The ASA (single anterior spinal artery) & the PSA's (two posterior spinal arteries) are the main arteries responsible for bringing blood supply to the different parts of the spine.
Sometimes, through improper amounts of exercise or ingesting high levels of saturated/trans fats in the diet, these arteries can become clogged, restricting blood flow, causing inflammation and discomfort. By focusing on activity, healthy unsaturated fats and high fiber foods we can work to reduce the amount of build up in the arteries, reducing the chance for back pain!
A Back (Or Any) Injury
Injuries never happen at "convenient times," and back injuries are no exception! You use your back for everything, so prepare to take a few off of your regular routine.
Most commonly back pain comes from:
#1 - Injury through repetitive or habits
- Work habits might cause injury through:
- Sedentary Office life
- Repetitive motions/lifting
- Improper lifting form
- Personal Habits
- Intense Cleaning
- "Recreational Couple Time" (If you know what I mean, haha!)
Some of these are things that are part of everyday life and cannot, or should not be avoided for fear of pain.
To avoid back injuries stemming from these types of activities: make sure you are moving around every 45 minutes, doing some basic stretching often, or warming up before doing anything too intense!
#2 - Injury through exercise
Usually a result of overtraining or improper form. Overdoing the amount, frequency or intensity of exercising when working out can be an unhealthy habit as well. When we do to much, our bodies do not have time to recover which can get in the way of progressing our goals and could cause injury. Focusing on form and listening to your bodies cues are important ways to prevent this type of injury.
#3 - Injury through accident
Unfortunately, there is not much we can do to avoid accidents! Usually these types of injuries are unexpected, which can cause ripple effects through other parts of life. They can range all the way from a slip and fall to a much more serious car accident. Remember to rely on your personal and professionals supports when needed - you do not have to do this alone!
Personal supports might be people like your family, friends, teachers, coaches, teammates, coworkers, elder, or a religious type support. These supports can help you talk things/feelings out, brainstorm ideas, and can help you adjust to any changes you may have to make.
Professional supports are the various types of doctors and specialists that will help you on the road to recovery. People like chiropractors, massage therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, general practitioners, and many, many more.
DO YOU HAVE MEDICAL BENEFITS? HAVE YOU CHECKED?
One of the most common conversations I have with people is about their benefits. Do you know if you have benefits through your work, school or some other type of program? If so what is available to you?
Even if you do not need them right now, go look into what you have available. You may have more than you think or something you did not know about! It is easier to use the resources when you need them most, if you already know what they are.
REMEMBER TO USE YOUR BENEFITS - YOU ARE (USUALLY) PAYING FOR THEM!
Talk to your general practitioner as they may be able to help with a referral or low-income program.
Weigh the pros & cons of purchasing an independent insurance plan; keep in mind they DO NOT cover pre-existing conditions.
Check for promotions where doctors do free or discounted appointments for the first visit
The After Care
Unfortunately, in most cases, a back problem is going to take a while before it goes away. It's going to take a lot of stretching and taking care of yourself. Take a break; eat right; get support; and stay positive!
So, the take away from all this information? Take care of your back, because you only get one!