While we do believe that inverting with a Teeter Hang Ups is a great way to ease back pain, there are other things you can do to give yourself some extra TLC… especially when you can’t be near an inversion table.
Here are ten tips that may help you ease your back pain:
Get a good night’s sleep
The expression “sleeping on the wrong side of the bed” may have some truth to it. To put your body in good shape for the next day, try sleeping on your side with your knees stacked on top of one another (so that your hips are aligned). A firm mattress is best to prevent misalignments.
Maintain your core strength
The best way to ease back pain is by preventing it. Keep your stomach, sides and back strong with regular exercises that help keep your midsection strong and upright.
When you begin to feel tightness in your back, get up and walk around for a few minutes. Taking medium to long strides in a straight line can help work out minor misalignments and the movement can return blood flow to many parts of your body. Don’t be afraid to swing your arms back and forth as you walk.
Light and regular stretching can help unwind tightness in your muscles. Tight muscles can force misalignments in your spine and cause back pain. Regular stretching and yoga can help loosen your muscles which, in turn, can help prevent back pain.
When you get in the habit of taking shallow breaths, your actual posture changes. You hunch your shoulders and don’t engage your diaphragm as fully. Taking slow and deep breaths will help you to open up your chest, straighten your spine and provide a moment to check in with how you are feeling. As you center yourself with breath, you can give attention to any minor aches and pains in your body and give them attention before they become worse.
Take a load off
If you have really injured your back, sometimes the best thing to do is just lie down on a flat surface. To ease pressure on your lumbar curve, lie on your back and bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are flat on the ground. This takes pressure off of your lower back and allows your discs to relax and rehydrate.
Use hot or cold therapy
If you are in the midst of a muscle spasm or actual cramping, some experts suggest moist heat (like a hot water bottle), but if you have inflammation from an injury, cold application may be best. Check in with your primary care provider if you are unsure which is best for you. Either way, do not apply either for longer than 15 or 20 minutes at a time.
Get a massage
Much like stretching, a massage can help with myofascial release. Manipulation of the muscles in your back can help release the misalignments that are causing your pain. Massage can also help reduce anxiety and stress. Many people with chronic pain find massage helps reduce back pain when combined with other therapies.
Watch your posture
Slouching places unnecessary loads of pressure on your lower back and puts you as a prime candidate for low back pain. Remind yourself to square your shoulders and do not maintain a sitting position at less than a 90 degree angle. Some new studies are even suggesting a more extreme seated angle of 135 degrees for optimal back health.
Be kind to yourself
Many of us feel pressure to go, go, go and to be in top form at all times. More significant injuries can often be avoided if we pay attention to early warning signs of stiffness, aches and pains. Overexertion can cause long-term damage and can lay you up for days or weeks. If you feel back pain coming on, follow the tips above and take care of yourself.
References: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6187080.stm http://www.everydayhealth.com/back-pain-pictures/ways-to-ease-back-pain.aspx http://www.everydayhealth.com/back-pain-pictures/ways-to-ease-back-pain.aspx http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/pain/back/how-to-relieve-back-pain5.htm Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/o5com/5824425017/