According to research published in The Medical Journal of Australia, up to 80% of Australians will experience back pain at some point in their lives and 10% will experience significant disability as a result.
Dr Caterina Massara, Chiropractor and Human Movement professional says, “most people think they are stuck with limited choices in pain relief and recovery, but the truth is there are natural pain-relief alternatives besides analgesic pain-killing drugs. Technology has caught up and there are more and more options available to assist professionals and individuals in their journey to drug-free pain relief.”
Whether you’re in the midst of fighting the ache or just want to prevent it, Caterina shares her top five tips to ease the ache of back pain.
Pain-proof the office
With so many people spending the day behind a desk, it’s important to pay attention to posture when dealing with back pain. “Keep posture top of mind and sit with your back against the chair and both feet flat on the floor,” says Dr Massara. “If your chair won’t allow for this, get creative and use a lumbar pillow, use a footstool or invest in a high back chair that can offer more support. If you feel your working space is uncomfortable or not meeting OH & S standards, you should contact your HR department as many offices provide occupational therapists to assist in the workplace.”
Use the elements
“The natural elements are powerful and offer a rational, easy and safe self-treatment option to many common pain related issues. If injury induced back pain strikes, use ice for the first 48 hours after injury and then switch to heat. Ice can assist in calming down damaged superficial tissue, allowing the sensation of inflammation to subdue. Heat, on the other hand, can take the edge off symptoms and help soothe the nervous system.”
Do it in your sleep
“We spend over one-third of our lives asleep, and an unsupportive mattress can be the undoing of a not-so-sore back. It is important that your bed provides support for the natural curves and alignment of the spine and does not reinforce muscle strain from bad sleeping posture. Medium-firm memory foam or pocketed spring mattresses are ideal for those suffering from back pain. Because the springs are housed in individual pockets they are able to work independently of each other and contour the entire body without any gaps. This can allow the spine to rest in a natural position.”
Strengthen your core
“Core strengthening can provide unlimited benefits to the body. Your core muscles act as the anchor to your spine, and if they are weak, your spine is more susceptible to pain and injury. By undertaking regular stretches and exercises such as core activation, yoga and pilates, you can develop strong core muscles and provide the necessary foundation to alleviate pressure of the nerves and spine. Be sure to consult with a qualified health professional to assist with an appropriate and safe core strengthening program.”
Get a portable physio
“By stimulating nerves, tissues and muscles, electrotherapy has been used through history to treat all types of pain, from niggly lower back pain to a toothache. Australian health tech companies like PainPod are harnessing the body’s bioelectrical system to moderate and manage pain levels, accelerate recovery and increase performance.
Their new technology offers recovery for anything from a sore back and neck pain to muscle strain. The Mi device mimics the body’s natural electrical microcurrent, and can help cells to regenerate and repair, reduce inflammation and assist in pain relief, rather than simply working as a pain blocker. Electrotherapy technology can act as your portable physiotherapist and help users in achieving long-term recovery to their back pain issues.”