Most people are affected by back pain at some point in their lives. Spending long periods slumped in front of a television or peering at a computer puts our musculoskeletal systems at greater risk. While good posture is no longer associated with moral superiority as it once was, it’s still one of the best ways to prevent back pain.
The benefits of salt have been known for centuries as a disinfectant and preservative as well as a condiment. It can also be used to make a handy heat pack. Warm 1 cup (250 g) salt in a pan; pour it into an old, thick sock. Tie off the end and apply to the painful area.
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In addition to good posture, lifting and carrying things correctly and using a chair with a backrest can help keep your back healthy. However, exercise is the top tip for a strong back. Not only will it help you to control your weight (being overweight is linked with back issues), but physical activities such as walking, swimming or cycling will strengthen back muscles, taking pressure off your joints and tendons.
According to recent study, 80% of the population will experience Lower Back Pain (LBP) at some point in their lives.
Best Remedies You can try at Home
If you suffer sharp back pain, a short period of bed rest may help, but more than a couple of days will do more harm than good. Gentle exercise, such as cycling or swimming, improves circulation and helps prevent further problems.
- Apply heat to a sore back. Good choices include compresses made with rosemary or thyme tea; warmed wheat bags (available from health food stores or pharmacies); salt packs (see “Salty relief,” above); heat packs (from pharmacies); or infrared light treatment.
- Take hot oil baths with rosemary or thyme extracts to soothe pain, followed by massages with hand-warmed massage oil. Oils that contain lavender, rosemary and ginger are found to be particularly effective.
- When you can, bathe in a natural hot spring. It can be just as good for your psyche as for your back.
- Rub your back with spirits of lemon balm. To prepare, steep 1 cup (200 g) fresh lemon balm leaves for 10 days in a tightly sealed container with 1 quart (1 L) of rubbing alcohol, and leave in a warm place. Strain and dilute with water in a 4:1 proportion.
- Try a hot wheat pack. Boil about 2 pounds (1 kg) wheat grains until soft. Put the hot mixture into a cloth bag and place on your sore back for 15 minutes.
- Ease soreness with a hot bath to which you have added 1 cup (250 g) Epsom salts. These magnesium-rich salts promote relaxation, relieve pain and have a mild sedative and antispasmodic effect.
- Place a thick cushion under your legs at night so that your thighs point straight up and your knees are bent at a right angle in order to take strain off your spinal column.
- Large adhesive bandages used with compounds like capsaicin, which stimulates circulation, continue to warm muscles for a long time. Don’t use them on irritated skin.
- Don’t carry lopsided loads. Lift heavy weights with your knees bent and always keep your back straight.
- Keep your back warm. Avoid exposing it to cold and drafts.
- Replace a saggy mattress. Don’t penny-pinch when you buy a new one. It should be made from high-quality materials and neither too hard nor too soft.
- Avoid sitting in chairs without proper back support. Replace old, worn-out chairs.
- Use a wedge pillow to encourage erect posture while sitting. (A wedge pillow is used to elevate the upper or lower body to help improve circulation, reduce snoring, and relieve pressure on sensitive areas)
- If you have a sedentary occupation, change your sitting position frequently and stand up and stretch every 30 minutes.
- For Girls/Womens: Avoid high heels; wear comfortable shoes as often as you can.
Do’s and Don’ts
Chances are likely you will experience back pain at some point in your life, When that happens, remember the following Dos and Don’ts:
|Do lie flat on your back with feet propped over stool/pillows
|Don’t bed rest for more than 3 days
|Do lie on your stomach on a firm surface four times a day
|Don’t stay in one position longer than 30-40 minutes
|Do take over the counter medicines
|Do exercise regularly and stretch your back before and after gardening, washing the car etc
|Don’t life/bend excessively
|Do see your family doctor or seek a referral to see a physical therapist if not better in 7-10 days
|Don’t sleep on a soft surface
WHAT is lumbago?
Lumbago is actually a blanket term for mild or severe pain in the lower back (or lumbar region). It differs from “normal” back pain in that it can happen suddenly. A cold draft, jerky movement or combination of bending and twisting can trigger an abrupt pain deep in your back muscles. However, a slipped disc has similar symptoms, so if there’s no improvement after a few days, we should recommend you to consult a good doctor.
Making a wrap
Moist heat is helpful for lumbago. Here are two wraps that might ease back pain.
- Mix together 10 drops of lavender oil, 8 drops each chamomile and cedar oils, 4 drops each juniper and clary sage oils and 1 cup (250 ml) body lotion.
- Pour 2 tablespoons (30 ml) on a cloth soaked in hot water, wring out and apply it to the painful area.
- Spread a dry cloth over it and cover with a blanket. Repeat several times daily.
For a verbena wrap:
- Stir together a handful of crushed fresh verbena leaves, 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) flour and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) warm water.
- Fold a cotton towel to fit the painful area. Spread with the mixture and warm over a steaming pot.
- Place a hot wheat bag (see here) on an exercise mat, lay the cotton towel over it (with the verbena side facing up), and lie down with your lower back on it.
- Cover up with a blanket and lie for as long as possible on the hot underlay.
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