Be Your Own Pain Manager - A Self-Guide to Back Pain Relief

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All back pain sufferers learn over time the methods that work best to help with pain and healing. At one time we all thought that bed rest and some anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen were our only choices, but over time we've learned there are a great number of choices when treating the discomfort of back pain.

Heat versus Cold. Some people swear by the use of ice packs and cold massage. These packs can be store bought or you can use a package of corn or peas from your freezer. Wrap the cold pack in a cloth and then gently massage the painful area for five to seven minutes. Once the area begins to feel numb that is the time to stop. Others prefer heat. A hot water bottle or heating pad applied to the lower back for fifteen to twenty minutes can chase away the back pain in a matter of days.

There are exercise options. The best choices come down to Tai Chi or yoga. Viniyoga is an excellent gentler approach to yoga that is for back pain sufferers. It builds core strength and stability while allowing the spine to stretch. This helps take pressure off the vertebrate and can be very useful for those suffering from back injuries. The stretching aspect of yoga lessens the tension on the muscles, increases blood flow and promotes healing. Tai Chi is similar in that it too promotes healing and prevention of back pain by the use of gentle movement and non-impact exercises. It teaches you how to improve your posture and balance. Tai Chi also helps to build muscle strength and balance.

Perhaps the best answer is a combination of one of the above exercises programs and nutritional supplements. Supplements are used to rebuild bone and cartilage, reduce pain and inflammation, as well as relax muscles. They are divided into two groups. The first ones build strength and the second relieves pain. When deciding to use nutritional supplements it is best to first discuss it with your doctor. Make certain that your back problem is not caused by something more serious that requires medical intervention. Your doctor can help you determine the correct dosages of the supplements.

Some useful strength builders are Glucosamine sulfate, calcium, magnesium and vitamins C and D. All of these will help to build bone and cartilage. Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B, assists with the healing of cartilage. White willow bark, boswellia, bromelain and turmeric are also anti-inflammatories . Devils claw diminishes muscle pain, is an anti-inflammatory and will enhance the affects of regular pain medications. S-Adenosylmethionin e strengthens the muscles.

Another useful method of back pain relief is water therapy. This allows someone with a back injury or severe back pain to exercise in a way that makes the physical effort much less. Although you will do very similar exercises to what you'd do out of the water, the buoyancy supports your weight, making it easier to do the workout. As well, warm water therapies are a good method of reducing pain and relaxing the muscles.

With so many options open to the average person when dealing with back pain choosing the right one can be somewhat daunting. An exercise program is definitely recommended and a gentle program offers benefits without being too demanding. Stay away from aerobics or isometrics as they are both too high impact for back pain relief and can do more harm than good. Cold or heat therapies are also a matter of personal preference. Nutritional supplements can be very beneficial as they strengthen and rebuild those damaged areas. They lessen pain and inflammation while improving the pain in your aching back.

Using a combination of all of these is likely the best answer. But maybe a little preventative medicine wouldn't hurt either. Work on good posture. Hold yourself straight; keep your shoulders back and your head up. Don't lead too sedentary a lifestyle or you'll regret it. If sitting at your desk all day, make sure that after twenty minutes of sitting you take twenty seconds to flex those muscles. This will help prevent muscle pain. Walk. A good preventative program may make these other choices unnecessary.

Pete Wyatt is a chronic pain sufferer. His wife has a neuro-stimulator implanted in her back and does not have any painfree moments. Their quest for information to deal with their pain resulted in the creation of their site at

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