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Life in Motion

Four Natural Ways to Ease Your Back Pain

Back, Neck & Spine

With 80% of Americans experiencing back pain at one time or another, there’s a good chance you or someone you know has suffered from this condition. While many people will reach for an over-the-counter pain reliever like Advil or Tylenol when they first experience pain, there are some natural remedies you can try first. Here, Physiatrist Kevin Bernard, MD offers some advice.

Get Enough Sleep
While it may be difficult to fall asleep with a sore back, not getting enough sleep can actually make you more sensitive to the pain. Try experimenting with different sleeping positions:

  • If you sleep on your side, try putting a pillow between your legs, which can help to keep your hips, pelvis and spine aligned.
  • If you sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees, which can help maintain the normal curve of your lower back.

Heat Therapy
Heat can help decrease back pain. Apply a heating pad for 15-20 minutes at a time, or take a warm bath or shower.

Ensure Your Workspace is Ergonomically Correct
Spending long days sitting at your desk can contribute to back pain, especially if you are not set up properly.

  • Be sure you have a chair that fits you well, and avoid chairs that are too big or too small.
  • Your computer should be at eye level. Your monitor should be directly in front of your face, not off to one side or the other.
  • Your keyboard should be set so that your shoulders are in a relaxed position and the elbow is bent about 90°.
  • Although things get busy throughout the day, you should try to take a stretching and walking break at least every 30 minutes.

Exercise
Regular exercise can help you to maintain a healthy weight as well as stretch, strengthen and repair muscles that help support the back. Aerobic activity, stretching, strengthening, and yoga are great methods to manage pain. Click here for ways to exercise your core, which can help to improve balance and stability. To find ways to work your para-spinal muscles, which hold the joints of your spine together and help to stabilize your back, click here.

If you have any type of persistent pain, consult an orthopedic expert.

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