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Six steps for reducing back pain

Whether it is a dull constant ache or a sharp, shooting sensation, dealing with back pain is not easy. Nearly 8% of the adult population in the United States report having persistent back pain, making it a common reason for a doctor visit. To reduce becoming part of these statistics, consider these six ways to protect your back and reduce pain.

Build that core

The muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen, which work together to support and move the body, are known as the core muscles. When they are strong, they keep the body stable and protect the spine. Keeping these muscles in shape can reduce the chances of spraining the back. Check with a physical therapist for safe exercises to strengthen core muscles.

Think about posture

Good posture is more than a reminder to stand up straight. Good posture means keeping your body aligned, which will reduce strain. A common mistake is to forget good posture while sitting in a chair working at a desk. Letting your shoulders slouch forward over a keyboard can lead to back pain. Choose a chair that helps support your back. Don’t sit in the same position for over an hour. Try to get up and move around each hour so your muscles get a break. Any activity, whether standing or sitting, that requires the muscles and joints to hold the same position for a long time can lead to back pain. Try to vary your activity, practice muscle stretching or take breaks to avoid overusing muscles.

Rethink those shoes

You may not think about your shoes when dealing with back pain but ill-fitting shoes can cause back pain. Your feet are tasked with holding the body in alignment. Shoes that don’t fit properly can start a chain reaction of pain that goes from the ankles to the knees, to the hips and finally to the back. Shoes that feel comfortable and have a one inch or lower heel are usually the best choice. High heels may be stylish but can lead to back pain. Arch support, cushioning and fit are all important considerations when trying to control back pain.

Learn how to lift

Leaning over to pick up something heavy can cause back pain. Always squat down, hold the object close to your body and push up with your legs when lifting. Remember that even light loads can cause back strain. Carrying groceries or a suitcase can strain muscles. Try using a rolling bag or cart when possible. If you need to carry a heavy bag, try to shift the weight from side to side so one side of the body is not doing all of the work.

Get proper rest

Your back, like the rest of your body, needs a break. If you are waking up with back pain, it could be your sleeping position. People who sleep on their stomach are more likely to experience pain. The position that puts the least stress on the back is lying on your side or on your back with a pillow under your knees. If you can only sleep on your stomach, try placing a pillow under your pelvis or lower abdomen to relieve back strain.

Take steps to address pain

When experiencing back pain, try using either heat or cold packs on the back. Cold is best for inflammation and heat is best for increasing blood flow and relaxing muscles. No matter which one you choose for relief, be sure to apply heat or cold for only 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Then take two hours off before trying it again. Sleeping with a heating pad or ice pack can damage your skin so do not use them when falling asleep.

When simple solutions don’t work

Some back pain cannot be addressed with simple solutions and requires surgery for relief. All surgical procedure performed on the musculoskeletal system are considered orthopedic surgeries. The most common are procedures performed on the ankle, knee, hip, wrist, elbow, or spine. Recovering from orthopedic surgery requires a combination of medical care and therapy to be successful. The best place to receive this combination of care is in a short-term rehabilitation center.

Whitehall of Deerfield offers two dedicated wings for orthopedic care. The Orthopedic Pavilion is designed for non-elective procedures and the Elective Orthopedic Pavilion is for joint replacement and other elective procedures. By having two distinct areas, individual patient needs can be more quickly addressed. Both pavilions have one of the highest staff-to-patient ratios in the area and offer round-the clock care and targeted therapy up to seven days a week in state-of-the-art gyms. The Elective Orthopedic Pavilion offers a separate entrance and all private rooms for guests, making it a popular choice for recovery.

All guests at Whitehall of Deerfield receive superior care in a luxurious setting with world-class amenities.

There are few short-term rehabilitation centers that can come close to matching the luxury and level of expertise of Whitehall of Deerfield’s Orthopedic Pavilions. To arrange a tour or to learn more,  visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

300 Waukegan Road Deerfield, IL 60015 | 847.945.4600