Back pain is one of the most common medical problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives! Similarly, as per the ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’ report, almost 20 percent of us must have suffered from neck pain during the last three months.
It is said that time is the best healer of back and neck pain. Most back and neck pain subside in a few weeks with proper care, rest, and medication.
The most common causes of these pains are wear and tear, sedentary lifestyle, bad posture, degenerative diseases, injuries etc. At times, even sleeping in the wrong position or pulling the muscles accidentally during a sport or exercise could result in neck and back pain.
Below are some of the most common causes of neck and back pain and suggested remedies for the same:
An important aspect that contributes to neck and back pain is the posture of a person. Bad or awkward posture while sitting, standing, driving or sleeping can greatly pressurise one’s back. Poor standing and sitting habits like hunching, slouching, slumping, etc. can also lead to neck and back pain.
- Develop good posture habits. Always stand in an erect and upright position with a straight spine, open chest and shoulders wide
- Avoid hunching while working on a laptop. Always make a conscious effort to sit up straight in an office chair
- Performing simple shoulder and neck exercises on a regular basis will help you to avoid back and neck problems
- Sleeping on the wrong mattress can further aggravate your back pain. It is recommended to use an ergonomic and a firm mattress since it can provide a better support to your body while sleeping. Also, sleeping on the back, instead of the side, will help you to correct your posture since your back will be straight and your neck and spine will always be in a neutral position which can improve your posture!
Sprains and Strains
You can get strains in any muscle, however, they are most prevalent in your back, neck and shoulder. Muscle strain occurs due to various reasons. Whiplash, loss of control of muscles, irritated nerves, damaged ligaments, etc. are some of the examples of muscle strain. Exerting your body by precariously lifting heavy items can also lead to lower back problems.
Staring down at your computer all day long or looking continuously at your smartphone can strain the muscles around your neck and displace your neck joints resulting in neck pain.
- Limited movement. The movement of the muscles must be restricted in order to avoid unnecessary stress on your neck and spine
- Gently massaging the affected area or using an ice pack or heating pads can relieve the inflammation and reduce back and neck pain
- Keep your computer monitor at the eye level, take frequent breaks and avoid twisting and tilting of your neck when looking down at the computer screen
- When you are driving or using your smartphone for a long period of time, you can reduce stress on your neck and spine by taking regular breaks and adjusting your posture frequently
A herniated disk – also called as Bulging disk, Ruptured disk, Slipped disk, etc. – is one of the most common causes of low back pain. Herniated disk occurs when one of the discs in the spine protrudes and bulges out, causing pressure on the nearby nerves leading to severe pain.
- Most patients suffering from herniated disk will not need any surgery. Usually, the pain subsides on its own in a few weeks or couple of months
- If your pain has not reduced after a few weeks, then non-surgical treatment is the best bet for herniated disk. Taking adequate rest, performing light physiotherapy exercises as prescribed by your doctor and using over-the-counter medications such as Naproxen and Ibuprofen to control and ease the pain are some of the common examples of nonsurgical treatments
Back and neck pain is one of the most common reason people visit their doctors or take leave from work. If you practice good posture habits, perform simple stretching exercises, take proper rest, apply ice packs or hot water bags on the affected area, use pain relievers etc., these pains will normally subside in a few weeks.
However, if your problem doesn’t resolve after few weeks, consult your doctor or else they could flare into something major that would require hospitalisation.
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