It all starts out as fun and games. Kicking the footy around with the kids, going for your personal best at the gym, planting that new gorgeous rose bush in your front yard that'll make your neighbour green with envy. Then, all of a sudden, PANG! Your hand whips around and clutches at the new, unwelcome, throbbing pain...yep, you've done your back in.Back pain is something that we've all experienced at one point or another - and boy, is it unpleasant. More than that, it can have a big impact on your day to day life. It's harder to get comfortable which makes sleep harder to come by, not to mention the impact it has on your otherwise sunny attitude.
Whether it was a sudden twang or a build up over time, what can be done about your back pain? What are some natural options you can try out?
If you'd like to look at some gentle options that may help to relieve back pain, here's a handy little list for you. But keep in mind, these are for minor back aches and pains. If you've really done a number on yourself, go to your local healthcare professional so they can see to it.
First Thing's First - Rest UpIt might sound like a no brainer, but it is nevertheless important. If you feel that twang in your back, don't ignore it. How many times have you just thought to "push through the pain" and wound up making it ten times worse? Too many, we'll bet.
If you hurt your back suddenly, stop what you're doing and go rest.
Preferably, lay flat on your back on a hard surface. Spend a few minutes there and be gentle with yourself. No sudden jerking movements. While you're resting, apply an ice pack to the effected area - just like you would do for a sore ankle or knee. The cooling effect of the ice helps to reduce the inflammation in the area, which could be a source of the discomfort. Ice also helps to reduce tissue damage in the area, which is why it's so important to apply it as soon as the injury has occured. If the pack is too cold, wrap it up in a tea towel to provide a bit of a barrier while still letting the cold do its work.
To get up, roll onto your side and use the couch, bed frame or coffee table to help yourself up from there.
If you're concerned about your back pain, pay a visit to your local healthcare professional. They'll look you over, and give you some tips on how to help yourself get better.
Stretch It OutIf your back muscles are giving you grief, you may find it helpful to indulge in a stretching session. More than just helping to relieve back pain, regular stretching may help to keep you more limber - which may help to prevent aches and pains in the future.
One of the key things to remember about stretching is that it works best when it is done regularly.
Once or twice a day, move into a space big enough for you to stretch in comfortably and get to work. Slow, controlled movements - and don't push your body somewhere it doesn't want to go. With each stretch, try and hold it for about 10 seconds, breathing in and out smoothly. If you're straining - you're doing it wrong. Especially if you're already experiencing back pain, it's important to stretch but not force it. A stretch can be uncomfortable, but it shouldn't be painful. Be gentle with yourself!
Looking for some stretches to start you off? Visit your local physiotherapist for a demo to get you going.
Heat Is Your FriendIf you've got some nagging back pain, it's easy to feel everything tensing up as a result. Your back is connected to everything after all, so when your back muscles are tense and sore, it can really have you bent out of shape (pun intended). Heat works wonders when it comes to relaxing your muscles - so why not use it on your back?
Try using a hot pack on the effected area to help keep the muscles warm - it may help to loosen them up a bit and reduce the tension.
Or, if you're in the mood, try having a nice, long soak in a hot bath (candles, choccie and a nice glass of wine are optional, but why not make an excuse to indulge in a little "you" time?).
After using a bit of heat therapy, you might feel a little more limber - but remember to still be careful in your movements. Don't fling yourself back into action the second you feel better. Instead, take the opportunity to do some light to medium stretching instead.
Look to NatureDid you know that you can find products traditionally used for relief of muscle aches and pains containing natural active ingredients at your local pharmacy or supermarket? It's true! One of these beauties is Arnica - a flower containing properties that have been traditionally used in helping to relieve muscle pain, inflammation, bruising and swelling.
On top of taking it easy, using a bit of heat therapy and stretching, you may find it beneficial to use some Arnica to assist your body in naturally recovering.
The majority of Arnica products come in a cream or gel form, however, there are some that can be taken as a tablet or pilule.
If you're not sure where to look, ask your local pharmacist for some guidance. Or, you can find more information about Arnica here.
Find the Source - and Stop It!While some people might have back pain as a direct result of trying for a whopper of a catch in a heated game of backyard cricket, for others, back pain may come on over time. Stress, bad posture, poor form during your regular gym visits - they can all add up .
If you suffer from frequent or non-stop mild back pain - take a look at what you're doing on a day-to-day basis that might be causing it.
Do you have an old, half broken chair at work? Do you have a tendency to slouch or hunch your back? Is there a source of stress in your life? Sleeping on the air bed while the Mother In Law is in town (or maybe it's just the fact she's in town at all)?
Take a moment to figure out the potential activities that may be causing your back pain. Gather a list, and one-by-one, try to take them out of your life. We realise that sometimes this just isn't possible (we know we've tried with our Mother In Laws), but you can try doing something differently. Put in a request for a new chair at work and do a bit of studying about the principles of ergonomics. Be mindful of your posture. Take some time to relax after a long, hard day to help relieve your tension. Talk to a Personal Trainer about the correct form to use when you work out. It's the small things that count.
Looking for more information about ways to help relieve your back pain? If so, you can learn more here. Or, a visit to your local healthcare professional may help you to figure out your back pain game plan.
*Always use the label, use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Brauer Natural Medicine Arnica products contain homeopathic arnica montana traditionally used in homeopathic medicine for relief of muscular aches and pains.