Did you know that back and neck pain is one of the most common complaints that doctors see patients for? The fact is that at one point or another, most of us will develop back and neck pain. Sometimes the cause of this pain is an accident or injury, other times it’s due to an underlying illness or condition, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, then there’s pain that’s associated with environmental factors, such as your job sat at a computer all day.
More severe back and neck pain requires medical attention, especially if it’s being going on for a long time and the pain is becoming more severe. However, in the first instance when back and neck pain occurs, the best thing to do is to try and alleviate it yourself by working out what the cause is and how to fix the problem and prevent the pain returning. Although you could opt to see a doctor, if there’s no obvious cause of your pain, the chances are that they’ll just send you home again with painkillers, so it’s best to attempt to deal with the problem yourself first.
To get rid of pesky back and neck pain for good, you need to determine what the cause is and then work out the best method of treating it. To make the process easier, below are some tips and pieces of useful advice.
What causes back and neck pain?
Poor posture: One of the most common causes of upper back and neck pain is poor posture. If you’re not holding yourself right, it can have an impact on the health of your back and neck, causing pain and discomfort. How you hold yourself impacts the amount of pressure on different areas of your spine, from your tailbone to your neck, which means if you don’t hold yourself correctly you can end up with back and neck pain.
An unsupportive mattress: Another cause of back and neck pain (back pain more than neck pain) is a mattress that doesn’t offer the right level of support. The fact is that we spend half of our lives asleep, which means that you need to have somewhere comfortable to rest on, else it will cause you pain and discomfort. If your bed is too hard or too soft and doesn’t provide the right level of support for your spine, it can lead to all sorts of back and neck problems.
The wrong pillows: When it comes to neck pain, one of the most common causes is sleeping in an uncomfortable position. This normally relates to the pillows that you’re sleeping on, with neck pain being caused because your pillows aren’t the right size or angle for your neck to rest comfortably on. They may also be too soft or too hard.
Working on a computer: A lot of people who spend the majority of their time at work on a computer end up suffering from back and neck problems because of the way that they slouch over their computer screen when working. This can lead to muscular problems, disk problems, and issues with the curvature of the spine and neck, leading to lasting pain and discomfort.
How can you treat back and neck pain?
By correcting your posture: An easy fix for preventing back and neck pain is correcting your posture so that you hold yourself better. One of the best ways to do this is to take up yoga or pilates, as both of which help to strengthen the back and neck, naturally improving how you hold yourself. A lot of people report sitting straighter and standing taller after starting yoga or pilates, leading to less back pain and discomfort. There are also special devices that you can wear that will tell you when you’re starting to slouch, reminding you to sit up or stand up a little straighter.
Updating your mattress and pillows: If your back and neck pain is linked to where and how you sleep, it could be worth replacing your old mattress and pillows. When it comes to choosing a new mattress, take the time to do your research to ensure that you pick the perfect mattress for your needs - ideally, you want something that’s firm and supportive but also comfortable. As for how to choose a comfortable down pillow to replace your old one, it’s best to read up about the different sizes and levels of softness that they provide, so that you can make an informed choice.
Having a massage: A lot of back and neck pain specialists recommend getting regular massages to help with any pain and discomfort that you’re feeling in your back or neck. Massages can help to reduce the pain that you’re in as they can relax the muscles, creating less tension. Another benefit of massage is that it increases the endorphins going around your body that act as a natural painkiller, helping to reduce the pain or discomfort that you’re feeling. Not sure if a message will work for you? Book an appointment and see what you think - the chances are that you’ll feel much more comfortable after a professional back and neck massage.
Getting acupuncture: This ancient Chinese treatment method for all manner of problems, from skin problems to muscular issues, is now being recommended by doctors for back and neck pain. Acupuncture can effectively help to reduce the amount of back and neck pain that you’re feeling, helping to make living with the discomfort more doable. Some doctors now offer acupuncture, but if yours doesn’t, then you will need to find a specialist who works in alternative therapies.
Back and neck pain can be totally and completely deliberating and can have a big impact on your day to day life. However, the good news is that as you can see from the tips and advice above, there are plenty of treatment routes to go down when it comes to suffering from this kind of pain and discomfort. So it is possible to get your life back on track and to stop letting your back and neck pain control your life.