Self-Managing Back and Neck Pain
Contrary to what many believe, back and neck pain is not recognized as a disease, but as a symptom of other health problems and illnesses.
What causes back and neck pain?
The causes of this pain lie internally and are generally separated into three parts: (i) Bad posture. It contributes largely to the irritation of our back and neck. (ii) Sedentary lifestyle. It contributes to increasing pain, either through lack of exercise, through improper exercise, or through deficient intake of balanced supplements that aid the growth of back/neck muscles and nerves. And lastly, (iii) Overuse and over-stress.
Can back and neck pain be related to disease or illness: The fundamental body parts that constitute back/neck are the muscles, the vertebrae, joints and nerves. Primarily, back/neck pain stems from bone problems, muscle problems, or nerve problems. Secondarily, referral pain of the back stems from problems in organs related to or near the back. For example, if a problem arises in a person’s kidneys or genital organs, that can also cause back pain. Women tend to face more of these problems from reproductive organs. Similarly, chronic gastritis and constipation can also result in back/neck pain.
Moreover, the symptoms due to bone ailments can be different from the ones due to muscle ailments or nerves and ailments. These days, the number of cases of back/neck pain due to nerve compression has been increasing at a greater rate than other cases.
Because of lifestyle changes back/neck pain is increasingly prevalent among youths. The pain faced by the youths is mainly due to muscular ailments, which is usually overlooked as muscular ailments haven’t yet been recognized as major cause. In addition to muscular ailments, bad postures and overuse of back muscle also trouble youths. Older people on the other hand mostly experience back/neck pain due to bone degeneration and bone decay.
Can back/neck pain get transferred genetically from one generation to the next?
There are a few especially bone related genetic disorders. However, genetically transferred back/neck problems are rarely seen.
What measures should be taken before the problem gets chronic?
As mentioned before, there are various causes of these pains. The best measure a person can take is to immediately consult a physician once she/he starts to experience difficulties and irritations. Back pains that radiate toward the legs and neck pains that radiate toward the arm, are signs of nerve compression. In order to alleviate the pain quickly and reduce further deterioration, surgery is sometimes recommended by doctors.
The objective of self-management is to eliminate pain. As bad posture is the main reason for back/neck pain, one should pay attention to the posture he or she maintains throughout the day, and exercise posture correction. For that we should make sure that our spine is straight when we walk, sit, stand, and we should try not to lean too forward when riding bikes as well as while driving.
Eating a balanced diet or any other supplements as well as exercising properly are also healthier ways to alleviate back\neck pain. Regular exercise can help correct posture and aid in strengthening and muscles and bones.
One of the major issues that has been noticed is the deficiency of Vitamin D. So staying in the sunlight, and eating foods that are rich in Vitamin D also help reduce the pain significantly. Similarly, people tend to overwork and overuse their backs. So one should get proper rests from time to time. Taking 2-5 minute breaks frequently is ideal to make sure that the body isn’t overworked.
Some of the ways to stave off back and neck pain are as follows:
- Maintaining correct posture.
- Seeking treatment and consultation in time.
- Reducing the frequency of traveling on the back seats of vehicles.
- Using support belts to aid the spine and waist while going on long tours and drives.
- For women, reducing the use of high heel shoes.
- For men avoiding putting wallet in their back pocket which can create an awkward position for the spine when sitting.
- Going for massages if some irritation is felt is helpful.
- Avoiding bending and working with both legs joined together, and placing one leg in front of the other to create an easier balanced position for the body.
- Using acupuncture and yoga which are highly effective natural therapies for back/neck pain.