Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctor’s office. It’s also a top cause of lost work time and disability. The best way to deal with lower back pain is to see your doctor, especially if the pain is severe, lasts longer than a few days, or is accompanied by other troubling symptoms, such as numbness, weakness, and tingling sensations that extend through the buttocks and down the back of a leg.
In addition to seeing your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and medical intervention, consider making the following changes to improve your quality of life.
It’s tough to sleep with persistent or severe pain, especially back pain, and the sleep deprivation certainly won’t help your body heal. Sleep aid medications are usually considered a short-term solution, as they can lead to undesirable side effects and may even be habit-forming. Instead, head for a mattress showroom to see whether you feel more comfortable on a different type of bed.
Everyone’s sleep preferences are a little different, so it’ll take some trial and error to find the right type of mattress for your back pain. In general, however, people with lower back pain tend to do well on a medium firm mattress, instead of an ultra-firm or soft mattress.
Smoking affects individual and public health in so many dangerous ways. It’s common knowledge that first-hand and secondhand smoke inhalation can lead to life-threatening diseases, but did you know that it can also contribute to back pain? If you’re a smoker, each cigarette you light up constricts the blood vessels leading to the intervertebral discs in your back. Since these discs don’t have their own blood supply, the constriction of the blood vessels deprives them of the oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood they need to stay healthy and repair micro-damage. In other words, smokers are at a higher risk of premature degenerative disc disease, which in turn, increases the risk of painful disc herniation.
Your spine and back muscles have a lot of work to do to keep your body upright. If you’re carrying around a spare tire on your midsection, you’re putting more stress on your lower back. This is why chiropractors often advise their overweight patients to get to a healthier weight to help resolve back pain.
The stronger your core muscles are, the easier it will be for them to support your body and stabilize your spine. Consider joining a Pilates class or working with a personal fitness trainer to learn how to target those key muscle groups. Of course, when exercising, do “exercise” caution. People with existing health conditions, including severe or chronic back pain, are advised to talk to a doctor before starting a new workout program.
Posture is one of the most significant contributors to lower back pain. If you work at a desk, invest in a good office chair with lumbar support. Your chair should allow you to keep your feet flat on the floor, your thighs parallel to the floor, and your lower back touching the back of your chair. Elevate your computer monitor if need be, so you don’t have to slouch.
If your old mattress isn’t being kind to your lower back, it’s time to give yourself the support you truly need. Visit one of the Portland-area mattress showrooms of Mattress World Northwest to test our extensive selection of floor models. We carry top brands at affordable prices, including Sealy Posturepedic, Aireloom, and Beautyrest. Stop by today to take advantage of our latest sales and free delivery!