How many Americans do you think suffer from back pain? When we looked this up, we thought it might be as much as half. That’s a lot. But the answer is actually over 80 percent of Americans!
If you think about it, that number makes sense. Warehouse workers don’t always use safety procedures. Nurses don’t always use equipment to move patients. Office workers sit in cheap chairs all day.
Just about everybody is going to have back pain because they don’t treat their backs well. To make matters worse, when snow and ice hits, we fall. 1 million Americans are injured in falls every year.
We likely can’t avoid back pain, but there are lots of ways to treat it.
This may seem strange as a way to treat back pain. We know a strong back helps prevent injury, but exercise that’s not too strenuous (like walking) encourages a back-healthy posture that helps minimize existing pain.
- Heat and cold.
Use cold packs for sharp pain immediately after an injury to keep the swelling down. 20 minutes on, 20 off. You should only use heated pads for dull pain: stiff or achy muscles after a hard day’s work. Heat applied after an injury can make swelling worse.
- Pain relief cream.
Some creams contain menthol, and feel like cold packs. They tend to be best for injuries. Some contain capsaicin, a compound found in hot peppers, and feel like hot pads. Those are better for osteoarthritis. Troy likes a little of both hot and cold: he uses Icy Hot. (No, they did not pay us for that endorsement … yet).
Any stretch that incorporates your back can be helpful. Reaching down to touch your toes, arching/dipping your back while on hands and knees and “child’s pose” can all be effective. If anybody makes fun of you for doing this at work, tell them you’ll be laughing when you’re still upright at 90.
- Talk therapy (you read that right).
Sometimes back pain isn’t caused by repetitive movement or injury. Depression and anxiety can actually affect your perception of pain. The mind-body connection is real. A mental health counselor can sometimes help more than a medical doctor, especially if you’re experiencing seasonal depression.
This isn’t one anybody on our staff has tried (as far as we know), but studies have shown it can be helpful. Sorry we can’t give a personal recommendation. Let us know how it went!
- Work reduction.
This is definitely our favorite.
A 2009 study found that from 1990 to 2006 there were an average 11,500 snow shovel-related injuries per year that landed people in emergency rooms. That’s not counting thousands more cases in which people were just miserable for the rest of the season.
There’s a lot of advice out there for preventing injury when shoveling (bend with your knees, lift with your legs, etc.), but when 80 percent of Americans deal with back pain, there’s a good chance you’ll need a reliable remedy anyway.
Well here it is: Get a guy with a truck to do what your back can’t!
Investing in a reliable snow removal service is the only way to guarantee you won’t suffer a shoveling-related injury. A guy with a truck can do it a hundred times without injury. Your back can’t make the same promise.
Some of the best back pain remedies are just common sense.
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Clean Cut Lawn & Landscape
7415 W Jackson St
Muncie, IN 47304-9759