Staying Active with Back Pain

According to the Mayo Clinic, back pain ranks second only to headaches as the most common cause of pain. Four out of five of us will experience back pain from time to time. We don’t normally think of our spine until it hurts.

The spine is composed of 24 vertebrae separated by cartilage structures called discs, 31 pairs of nerves, and assorted muscle and connective tissue which run from the base of your skull to your tail bone. With so many components, it is no surprise that back injuries are common. The slightest damage to one of these components can upset the balance of your spine. The most common site for injury is your lower back, since it bears the majority of your weight and is used the most in many movements.

If you experience back pain, try simple measures first. Apply cold to soothe the sore area. If you begin this treatment immediately after the injury, apply ice several times a day, for no more than 20 minutes. Over-the-counter medications can help with pain reduction. For any pain that persists or for severe pain, you should consult your physician as soon as possible.

If you are dealing with back pain, simple exercises can be very helpful. Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor is a wonderful position. One at a time, bring your knees up and in for 15-30 seconds.

Another effective exercise is the “Cat Curl”. Start on your hands and knees. Slowly arch your back away from the floor for a few seconds, lowering your head between your arms. Hold for 3 deep breaths. Then let your back and abdomen sag towards the floor, raising your head up, again for 3 deep breaths. Repeat several times. Remember to do all things in moderation until your condition improves.

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