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Quick Fixes for Back Pain

February 1st, 2012 Healthy Living

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. In fact, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, in a given three month period, one in every four adults will experience at least one day of back pain. It typically becomes more common as we get older, with the first bouts often occurring between the ages of 30 and 40. For the most part, back pain doesn't require a visit to the doctor and will go away on its own. There are actions you can take to help alleviate your discomfort, however.

A common method of treatment is using hot and cold packs to reduce pain. Ideally, you should alternate between the two. Heat will expand blood vessels and increase flow into the affected area, while cold can reduce inflammation by restricting it.

You can also take pain medication to lessen your symptoms. Something mild like aspirin or ibuprofen is recommended. If you feel the need for something stronger, it could be indicative of a more serious condition, and you should consult a doctor before taking anything.

Although it may not prevent back pain entirely, proper exercise can help reduce its frequency and severity. Try to make a habit out of stretching every morning. Sit halfway on a chair and slowly lean forward between your knees. The goal is to touch the floor with your fingertips, but don't overexert yourself doing so.

A simple bridge can also be useful - lie on your back with your feet planted about shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms with your elbows touching the floor, and lift your body off of the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds and release. Repeat this exercise until your muscles feel more relaxed.