As a common medical complaint amongst people of all ages, back pain can arise for a number of reasons. In many cases, it has a mechanical cause, which means it's occurring because of a muscular strain following an injury or repeated bad posture. If you regularly suffer from backache and you're interested in using self-care techniques, here are some you may find handy:
Tackle acute pain with ice
If your back pain follows an acute injury, try using ice in the first 24 to 48 hours. This is the best time for icing backache, as it's when most of the body's inflammatory processes are at their worst. The ice will narrow some of the blood vessels that deliver fluid to the area, reducing the inflammation. As a result, you'll find that there's less pressure on the surrounding nerve endings, which then limits the pain signals reaching your brain.
Address your back pain with heat
If you suffer from chronic backache or it's been more than 48 hours since the injury, start approaching the area with heat instead. From hot water bottles to lavender-infused microwave bags, each one can provide instant relief that you'll benefit from for a few hours. Before applying any hot item to your skin, place the back of your hand on it to make sure it isn't overly hot and likely to cause a burn. If the heat is too intense, try wrapping it in a towel. Applying heat to the painful area makes the most of gate theory, which is an approach that involves swapping the painful stimuli for one that's soothing, resulting in comfortable sensations instead.
Maintain your usual movements
Much like your joints, your spine will start to suffer if you don't engage it in regular movements. As such, you won't do your back pain any favours if you insist on spending most of your time in bed or on the sofa. In addition to doing chores around the house or in the garden, put on your walking shoes and spend time outdoors each day. Encouraging your spine to mobilise reduces inflammation in the painful area and strengthens the muscles surrounding it. Many people also find that gentle exercise distracts them from the pain.
Finally, if you suspect that the pain is getting worse because of how you posture yourself during the day, make positive changes to the way you sit and stand. You might also want to address other ongoing triggers, including carrying heavy bags on one shoulder or not using manual handling techniques at work.