6 Reasons It’s Time To Care For Your Back
by Wong Peik Wei, Pharmacist
Backache or back pain is a common disorder which affects many, and the pain can be short or sometimes persistent.
In most cases, the pain subsides on its own without treatment within a few weeks. But even then, you should take time to care for your back – the spine is essential for all movements of the body!
Read on to find out why you should start paying more attention to your back!
We’re growing older
Every second, we are older than we were before. As we age, our spine ages with us too. And like how you would care for the other parts of your body, you should pay attention to your spine too.
We spend a large part of our day working
Back pain is ‘collar-blind’, meaning it affects both blue- and white-collar workers. However, blue-collar workers are more prone to back problems as bending, lifting, pushing, and twisting of the back when working can result in back pain.
White-collar workers are also not spared from the problems of the back. The way you sit, the type of chair you’re sitting on, and the amount of time you spend being active are all factors that may contribute to back pain.
Having a physically-inactive lifestyle
Sitting for long hours without a proper posture and prolonged standing may lead to back problems. If you’re a couch potato or love leaning back on your favourite sofa with a bad posture, you may be more prone to getting a bad back in the long run.
Sleeping the wrong way
Having unhealthy sleeping postures can aggravate your back problem. If you’re well-known for your bad sleeping posture, here are good sleeping postures you should adopt.
If you sleep on your side, draw your legs up slightly towards your chest and put a pillow between your legs.
If you are a back sleeper, place a pillow under your knees and it will help to maintain the normal curve of your lower back when you sleep.
An additional weight on your back
People with obesity have an added force on their lower back, and this will aggravate the back pain. Shedding off some weight by doing gentle, back-protecting exercises (e.g. aerobic and stretching exercises) will be the way to go.
Other medical conditions
Individuals with existing back conditions, such as slipped discs and arthritis in the spine, are at a higher risk of having persistent back pain.
Treatment for back pain
Over-the-counter medications have analgesic (pain-killing) properties which can reduce the pain. Topical analgesic preparation with menthol, camphor and methylsalicylic acid can also provide a quick relief for back pain.
Alternatively, applying a hot/cold pack on the affected area can help to soothe a sore and stiff back. Individuals who need a stronger pain killer can consider pharmacy-only medications like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium which have anti-inflammatory effects.
Supports for the back available in the market include stabilising back supports, adjustable back supports, posture supports and sitting supports.
Stabilising back supports provide a soft, gentle pressure and helps promote back alignment, targeting sore and aching muscles. Most of these supports are made of latex-free, breathable material that does not irritate the skin.
Adjustable back supports are designed with a pull cord system and side stretch panels that come with removable lumbar cushion. This creates a customised fit for every individual and does not restrict movements.
Posture supports can be worn to help the individual achieve a correct posture and relieve back and shoulder pain. These supports help in the maintenance of a normal back curve.
Sitting supports can be used to correct your posture when you are sitting in the car, office or in front of the TV.
When to consult a doctor
Not every back pain can be self-treated. You should see a doctor if you have a back pain that does not improve after weeks, or if it comes with numbness, a tingling sensation, or a severe pain that does not improve after rest.