While many people think of consistent back pain as a problem for our aging loved ones, and sometimes consider it time to look at senior care options, it shouldn’t be overlooked as we age. While it certainly can be an indication that your body is getting stiffer as you age, you might be surprised to learn that lower back pain is an increasingly common issue amongst young people. Medical professionals believe that our sedentary lifestyles may be the cause, and people who don’t exercise regularly are at greater risk of developing more severe pain down the road.
If you first felt a twinge of pain midway through your twenties and wondered what was wrong with you, don’t panic. Lower back pain is more common than not, with 84% of the population suffering from it at some point during their lives. The good news is that with the onslaught of patients presenting with back pain complaints, doctors have figured out some very effective and shockingly simple treatment strategies that you can do at home.
Oils and ointments
If you’re used to popping a Tylenol and heading out the door when the pain hits, you might be a bit skeptical about the effectiveness of topical treatments in comparison to those that can be taken orally. However, research has revealed that topical treatments, including essential oils, can be equally as beneficial as oral treatments when it comes to eliminating troublesome back pain.
The chemical compound capsaicin is an irritation that produces a burning sensation when applied to an area of the skin that is painful. The feeling activates the same brain receptors that are active when you feel the need to scratch an itch. Since itch and pain receptors operate in different parts of the brain, using a cream or oil infused with capsaicin helps the pain gradually fade away. Consult your doctor before using a new capsaicin product, and test a small amount on your skin to see how you react to it.
If your back pain is frequent or constant, you might want to find a product that can keep the pain at bay for longer periods of time, instead of just during occasional flare-ups. While capsaicin and other similar treatments, including Icy Hot patches, are great for temporary pain relief, if you need something that helps to make your pain more manageable over the long term, there are few better options than holistic vitamin treatment.
Curcumin, available in vitamin form under the brand name Curamin, is a plant-based bright yellow chemical similar to turmeric. While turmeric was once the go-to for athletes who regularly exerted their joints, today doctors are emphasizing the benefits of curcumin for joint pain sufferers. Clinical studies show that the body absorbs curcumin more easily than turmeric. Each vitamin capsule is packed with additional health benefits, including better circulation and the release of endorphins.
Change your mattress
If you’re suffering from chronic back pain, you’ll be amazed at what a new mattress can do for you. Depending on whether you mainly sleep on your back, side, or stomach, there are different types of mattresses to support you. You also need to understand the ideal firmness level of your mattress. If you’re suffering from back pain, many sleep experts recommend sleeping mainly on your back and with a medium-firm mattress.
Mattresses are rated on a comfort scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is most soft and 10 is extra firm. A medium-firm mattress is rated around a 6 or 7. It will provide the support you need while still reducing pressure points to help your back pain. A latex hybrid mattress will further support your pressure points and keep you cool as you sleep.
Doctors typically use surgery as a last resort for back pain, preferring to treat pain with either holistic or traditional medicine, physiotherapy, and exercise regimes rather than suggesting a patient schedule a surgical appointment. However, you might find it useful if your pain is significant and severe. For example, in cases of back pain caused by a sports injury or a car accident, your doctor might recommend surgical treatment.
If the idea of going under the knife frightens you, you will be comforted to know that most forms of surgery done by neck and back surgeons are relatively non-invasive and generally require little time spent in recovery. For most people, the pros vastly outweigh the cons. Unsure if you’re a candidate for spinal surgery? Your doctor is likely to recommend it if you experience trouble with balance, numbness or tingling in your hands, or motor control issues along with your back pain.