For many of us, back pain is a constant backdrop of discomfort in our daily life scenarios. It is even a constant nemesis not only to elderlies that battles different life mischiefs every day.
Traditional medical approaches usually focus on the anatomical aspects of your lower back pain, but for many people, keeping the pain at bay is easier. It often takes many trials and errors to find out which works best for you.
The following list is a compilation of tried and tested remedies that traditional medical model often under emphasized.
1. Stimulate Your Endorphins
Endorphins are natural hormones in the body that fight pain. Most people don’t know that its effect is comparable to a potent painkiller. When endorphins secrete in the body, they instantly thwart pain signals from registering to your brain.
Exercise, meditation, and massage therapies are just some of the traditional ways to generate endorphin excretion in the body. The best non-strenuous exercises for elderlies are Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi. These activities allow them to stretch and strengthen their bodies while breathing techniques.
As for massage, it has various physical benefits for the elderly and eradicating lower back pain is one of them. Massage techniques for senior citizens are different compared to those used on younger people. These methods involve a gentle application of light pressure on specific points, kneading and stroking.
The manipulation of specific pressure points of the body creates natural lubrication of joints which greatly helps pain management among elderly who suffers from lower back pains and arthritis as well.
2. Do Positive Things
Pain can create havoc on different aspects of your life, and it could affect your productivity at work, your relationships, finances and home. Worst is, it can disrupt your moods and affect your sleep.
It is a common fact that many other problems occur commonly with chronic lower back pain, anything that you can do to generate natural stress reliever will surely help. So, be positive.
Find something that you can do to de-stress and feel good about, like having enjoyed a cup of tea or coffee, talking to an old friend, playing with your pets, cooking your favorite dish or receiving a warm hug from your loved ones. All of these activities can make pain somewhat more tolerable.
3. Get Enough Rest and Sleep
Most people think that sleeping difficulties are simply part of growing older. It’s not. There are numerous reasons why sleeping patterns change. One of these reasons can be attributed mainly to pain. According to Spine-Health, people who are suffering from back pain are compounded by insomnia and sleeping disorders.
Insufficient restorative sleep can also degrade the immune response of the body so as it’s cognitive function. Hence, the violent cycle develops back pain which disrupts sleep. The difficulty in sleeping makes the pain even worse.
It’s a paradox that lack of proper sleep can worsen your back pain. In this case, treating the pain alone is not effective, you need to address the sleeping problems too.
4. Strengthen Your Core
Our abdominal and back muscles play a significant role in supporting our spine. Usually, these muscles don’t get a good workout on a course of a typical day, so you devise a routine exercise that targets these muscles.
There are many simple exercise routines that elderlies can do to get rid of the lower back pain. Stretching, dynamic stabilization and even yoga are some of the popular choices. These exercises can be performed at least 20 to 30 minutes a day.
5. Hot and Cold Therapy
The old school way of using hot and cold packs to reduce lower back pain is always a force to reckon. It can also induce the healing process.
Cold Therapy has two benefits. It reduces inflammation ( the common culprit of back pain), and acts as a natural anesthetic by impeding down nerve impulses, and this prevents the nerves from causing spasms and pain.
Hot Therapy, on the other hand, stimulates blood flow which carries nutrients to the affected area of the lower back. It also inhibits pain signals then forwards to the brain.
6. Stretch Your Hamstrings
Athletes are not the only beneficiaries of flexible leg muscles – elderlies too! They are particularly vulnerable to stiff hamstrings. Unbeknownst to others, hamstrings are also a contributor of lower back pains. Why? It is because if your hamstrings muscles (located at the back of your thighs) are too tight, it stresses out your sacroiliac joints and lower back that leads to more pain.
So, stretch your hamstrings daily, at least twice per day to avoid lower back pain. There are a variety of gentle stretching exercises that you can choose from.
- Sitting Stretch – Sit on the side of a sturdy surface (bench or couch) and place your feet on the floor. Lift your left leg onto the couch or bench and turn to the left. Then extend your leg straight in front. Make sure to sit straight so that your leg and upper body form an L shape. Reach your extended foot and slowly lean forward. Do it as far as you can. You must feel the tension at the back of your raised leg. Stay in this position 20 up to 30 seconds before putting your feet back on the floor. Repeat the process on your right side using your right leg this time.
Tip: Stretch the legs for at least 3 to 5 times a week. You’ll notice an improvement. You can reach farther, and your flexibility will increase too.
Standing Stretch – Stand straight and keep your feet and shoulder a few inches apart. Then step your left leg forward and keep your knee straight. Raise your left toes upward while your heel is touching the floor. Bend your leg slightly at the knee. Lean your body forward (chest out). Stop when you already feel the tension in your calf and hamstrings.
Tip: Place your hands on your left thigh to gain support. Stay in this position for 10 up to 20 seconds. Repeat the exercise with using your right leg. It’s best to do the stretch at least 3 to 5 times per week.
7. Pain is in the Brain
The way our brain interprets and process pain signals play a critical role in how you perceive your pain. Even pain specialists understand that pain is not absolute but a complex sensation.
There’s good news though, is you can develop skills to train your brain from reducing or ignoring pain signals. Harnessing this skills can go a long way to help you acquire a degree of influence over your pain.
Back pain is inevitable, but it can be treated. Whether you are experiencing severe pain or undergoing medical treatments, don’t forget that there are practical things that you can do for yourself to heal and get stronger and healthier over time. Prevention and cure always start from you.
Christina Ellis is a freelance writer by profession who likes to write about health and lifestyle. She is also an active advocate for green living and always travels to different cities and states to promote environmental awareness. On her spare time, Christina writes for assisting hands home care.