Did you know that nearly 2/3 of adults experience some lower back pain? I know I’m in that group (*cue moans and groans and shameless requests for sympathy*). Well, the latest study 411 that I read about in Shape could help. (Yeah!) According to a new survey, of this group of adults with pain, 73% of them turn to the medicine cabinet to deal with it. While doctors agree that anti-inflammatory aids like ibuprofen can help, they shouldn’t be your only line of defense.
Upgrading Your Mattress
Knowing that we spend almost a third of our lives sleeping on our back, it makes sense that the mattress we sleep on has huge impacts on its health. Mattress companies are targeting back problems with new and improved memory foam like never before. Some mattresses target your lower back area while others can focus on shoulders and upper back problems.
Mattresses don’t last as long as we would like. In fact, many people are sleeping on worn-out mattresses without even knowing. The most common sign you need to replace your mattress is body indentations in localized areas where you sleep.
Another sign your mattress is worn and should be replaced is back pain! Many online retailers sell mattresses-in-a-box that can be delivered to your doorstep in a matter of a few days. Others even provide lengthy “sleep trials” before you commit to buy it.
So ask yourself, is your back pain due to a worn-out mattress? Because if so, then it is probably time for an upgrade! You can find reviews of the best memory foam mattress reviews here.
Strengthening your Core with Pilates
“Low-intensity activity helps preserve muscle tone and range of motion,” says Kiran V. Patel, M.D., of the Spine and Pain Institute of New York, who recommends walking, swimming and Pilates to strengthen your core. These activities will help take the pressure off your vertebral bones and discs as well as nerves that generate pain as you create a “tire of muscle” around your spine.
I couldn’t agree more with this. I’ve had a lot of lower back pain in particular (even more after having my baby) and for years I was a Pilate’s devotee. My core had never been stronger, and my back had never felt better. After reading this study, I’m even more motivated to get back into Pilates as it’s one of my favorite forms of exercise. And don’t be fooled by the words, “low-intensity” as it can be very hard!
Patel also recommends stretching to help your back pain. “It can promote flexibility, ease tension, and improve circulation. He tells Shape that you can use a desk chair to perform three stretches. The knee hug, the spinal twist, and the chair boat.
So to conclude, the medicine cabinet shouldn’t be the first place we go to when back pain arises. Think of a more permanent solution like the ones mentioned above for longer lasting and more natural back pain relief.