There is nothing more aggravating than having a back ache. If you are bothered by chronic back pain, you know difficult your life can become. Every time you stand up or sit down it aches. When you lean over, you wince as pull yourself up. The pain is there all day as you go through your daily routine, but does it have to be a constant?
I have suffered from back pain for the 3+ years. It originally started with a pulled muscle. I just figured that it would eventually go away like most other aches and pains, but it didn’t. The pain would come and go, but I always seemed to be able to tolerate it with the hopes that it would eventually disappear.
After a year, the pain seemed to get worse with no relief in sight. The doctors were prescribing anti-inflammatory and an occasional five day steroid. These were temporary, short-term fixes. Once the medication wore off, the pain returned. The process of trying to find long term relief went on for a few years.
I went to a physical therapy, I hired a personal trainer, I spent time in the gym, while it was all good and helped minimally, the pain returned each day. And over time it was getting worse. My muscles were tight, it was hard to reach my toes and even more difficult to return to a standing position after bending over.
I love to swim and about a month ago I bought a FitBit Flex. It was supposed to measure calories burned while swimming (as well as other activity types). It does measure water exercise if you are actually swimming, but it does not measure swimming activity that has lesser arm movements, such as; breast stroke and treading water.
However, I did become intrigued by the step counting and the walking features that were among the activity tracker’s features. The first time the tracker vibrated at reaching 10,000 steps, I was hooked. I realized after a few weeks, I had to rearrange my daily schedule, if I was going to walk 10,000 steps each day.
If I put off walking until after I was done working, I just never seem to get around to walking. So, the solution was to walk at least 3 miles before work. Since 10,000 steps is about 4.5 miles, if I only have 1.5 miles left and the rest of the day to walk it, it is pretty easy. The only problem for me is I am an outdoor walker and it rains often in the afternoon/evening. My goal is to walk at least 50,000 steps each week and at least 1 day of aquatic activity.
I realized after a few weeks of walking consistently, that my back pain had almost completely disappeared. The one thing the physical therapist said the stuck with me is “gravity is what is going to help with back pain.” Gravity is walking.
Here are few tips for relieving back pain:
1. Avoid sitting for long periods of time
Experts are saying that “sitting is the new smoking”. If you have to sit, stretch, walk, move every few hours. I think driving for long periods of time was one of the major causes of my back pain.
Each morning before you get up, stretch your Achilles tendons especially to keep from getting tight back and leg muscles.
I believe walking 3 -4 miles per day is the biggest contributing factor in my back pain being under control. I walk at least 3 miles almost as soon as I get up in the morning.
4. Core exercises
Strengthening you core is also key in eliminating weakness and pain in the back. Even if you take 10 -15 minutes 3 times per week, you will see a difference in about 30 days.
5. Limit Your Sugar Intake
Back pain can be attributed to inflammation and sugar causes inflammation. It is that simple. Besides its taste, sugar does not really have any redeeming qualities.
Millions of people in this country live with back pain. Your doctor should be your first stop. Some conditions that cause back pain will require medical treatment. There are some conditions that can be treated by make changes in your life. You may not have to live with back pain.