When you’ve looked forward to that bank holiday weekend for so long, the last thing you want is back pain to ruin it – but the combination of being out of your usual routine, travelling and sleeping in a different bed, can often wreak havoc with your back.
All too often we hear our patients coming in to us having overdone it during their long weekend, hoping to have a stress free, relaxing time but instead have developed back pain, putting somewhat of a dampener on their ever-needed break.
So what can you do to help recover from back strain in your own time? Here are our top tips…
1. Gentle exercises and stretches
Stretching and an active lifestyle are often recommended to help reduce back pain and speed the recovery process following an injury. Improving flexibility through stretching is also an excellent way to avoid future injuries.
Regular yoga or Pilates sessions can also help relieve upper and middle back pain as they incorporate a number of positions and moves that use the upper and middle back muscles. Stretching exercises are best after a workout when your muscles are warmed up. You should take a break from exercise and stretching if your back hurts a lot, but try not to let too much time pass before you get moving again.
2. Ice or heat
Heat or ice is often used to reduce pain, stiffness and swelling in middle and upper back pain – it all depends on what feels best. Heat can reduce pain and stiffness whilst ice can help to reduce pain and swelling.
3. Practice good posture/not sitting for too long
Poor posture puts stress on your back and can cause upper and middle back pain. Try to stand or sit tall, keeping your back as straight as possible and balance your weight evenly on both feet. Don't slump or slouch!
Equally, don’t sit down for too long – being in the same position for a long time can cause the muscle to become tired leading to slouching and in turn putting more pressure on the neck. Regularly take breaks and go for short walks.
4. Mutual massage
Getting your partner to do some gentle massage to your lower back may do you wonders. Doing this with a loved one may also help to reduce stress, which is also a contributing factor to back pain as it tightens our muscles and can makes things feel worse
5. Manual and physical therapy
Manual therapy includes massage or spinal manipulation. It helps reduce muscle tension and pain in the back and improve blood flow. Your osteopath may use specific exercises combined with massage to relieve your upper and middle back pain. They will also advise you on exercises and stretches to do at home to aid relief of your pain and to offer support for this area.
Although it can be difficult to be cheerful or optimistic if you are in pain, it’s important to stay positive because this can help you recover faster! If you’d like more advice on dealing with back strain, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 01722 512 043.