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Oh, my aching back!

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems worldwide, and is on the rise. According to Harvard Medical School, 80% of people will experience low back pain at some time in their lives.
The good news: there are some simple treatments you can do at home to prevent and treat lower back pain.

Cold, then heat treatments
“It’s best to use cold compresses or an ice pack, not heat, immediately following a back injury, since this can alleviate pain by numbing the area and prevent or reduce swelling. About 48 hours after the onset of back pain, though, applying heating pads or a hot-water bottle to your back may be helpful. The warmth soothes and relaxes aching muscles and increases blood flow, which helps the healing process. Keep in mind that heat therapy is only helpful for the first week.”

Limited bed rest
“Once the mainstay of treatment for back pain, bed rest has fallen out of favor. Doctors now know it’s better to keep moving, so that your muscles don’t become stiff. Bed rest can still be useful relief from low back pain, particularly if your pain is so severe that it hurts to sit or stand. But try to limit it to a few hours at a time and for no more than one or two days.”

Physical activity
“Exercise helps build strong, flexible muscles that will be less prone to injury. It can also help the healing process for an aching back, prevent problems in the future, and improve function.”. A good program typically includes the three major forms of exercise:
Aerobic exercise is a physical activity that uses your body’s large muscle groups, is rhythmic and repetitive. It increases your heart rate and how much oxygen your body uses. Examples of aerobic exercises include walking, cycling and swimming. It reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”
Strength training, Start small. “ Depending on one’s schedule, needs and desires, exercise scientists suggest devoting 20 minutes twice a week to strength training, or perhaps 10 to 15 minutes three times a week.”
3. Stretching can increase flexibility and improve the range of motion in your joints, helping
you move more freely. And the flexibility you gain from stretching will protect you from injury. Here’s a good guide to 9 of the most popular stretches:

It’s important to do something to protect your back. Start small with exercise and make it sustainable for the rest of your life. You can make it fun…. Victoria line dances twice a week.


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