Most women have suffered from back pain at some time or the other. It may range from a dull nagging pain to excruciating pain.
In recent times the incidence of women suffering from back pain has shown an increase caused partly by stress, extended multi-tasking at office and home leading to little rest, being in a single posture for an extended period of time etc.
Doctors often don’t take the problem of back pain seriously and may just prescribe a couple of pain killers to override the pain or ask you to take bed rest. But a constant back pain not only affects you physically but affects your work and life as well as it disturbs you mentally. In such a scenario it is often left to the sufferer to find out ways to deal with the pain.
To successfully cure back pain you first need to be aware of what causes back pain, and thereafter how to treat it.
Anatomy Of The Back
The back is made of small bones called vertebrae which are stacked in a line one after the other and held in place by numerous muscles and ligaments. The bones are kept in place by the oppositional play of these muscles whose tone and co-ordination are factors that affect the normal functioning of the back.
Without the support of the muscles, the little bones would rotate over each other and may even collapse like a column of bricks.
When the balance between the small bones and the muscles is upset or nerves radiating from the spinal cord are tangled or the bones itself become fragile, back pain occurs.
Reasons For Back Pain
When the critical balance between the small bones and the connected muscles is upset, it results in back pain. The reasons behind this can be due to-
Change In Tautness Of Muscles
The immobilization of a part of the body causes the bones in that part to become light and porous. Therefore when we do not exercise or stay in a particular posture for a long time (like sitting at office), the blood flow to the muscles attached to the bones is affected. So try to perform backwards and forwards bending exercises as well as waist twists everyday to ensure a rich blood supply to the muscles leading to better bone nutrition and tensile strength.
Change In Integrity Of The Bones
When the small bones of the vertebrae become weak, they are unable to bear any load and may even collapse. The reasons behind this maybe Calcium or Vitamin D deficiency. Calcium is an important mineral and its supply to the body comes from the food we intake.
If our diet is poor in calcium then the body compensates for the deficiency by drawing on bone calcium. This leads to the bones becoming weak and porous. Also Vitamin D helps our bodies in absorption of calcium and its deficiency leads to calcium deficiency as well. The best source of Vitamin D can be obtained by spending a few minutes in the sun.
Back pain can also be due to physical or psychological factors like – Osteoporosis which can be genetic and leads to brittle bones, Breast cancer also results in back pain sometimes, Pregnancy leads to the fetus exerting pressure on the lower back thus causing pain. This might disappear after the delivery.
Sometimes women who are overweight or have large breasts also suffer from back pain as the load put on the back becomes too much too bear and the muscles have to bear the load. Losing weight can help or in the case of big breasted females a proper support bra or surgery if necessary.
Arthritis and fibromyalgia or even anaemia also lead to back pain sometimes. Excessive stress and not taking the requisite rest leads to back pain at times. During the menstrual cycle, most women have experienced pain in the back and the legs. This is normal and generally goes away on its own.
Ways To Treat Back Pain
Dealing With Stress
Since stress plays such an important role in backache, try to find ways of easing stress in your daily life. Reading, listening to music, meditation, taking to time off to unwind are all forms of relaxation. If you find yourself struggling with work at office and home, try to ask people around you to help.
We often feel too ashamed to ask for help with the housework from our partners but often they would be happy to comply if they knew that it would help us. Try and sip green tea or tea with grated ginger or chamomile to relieve stress.
Always give your back enough rest. Your back is supporting you throughout the day so it needs at least 7-8 hours of rest.
If you can try to keep your feet up and take a nap in the noon. Pregnant women and mothers with small kids especially need to take care of themselves.
Changing Food Habits
Incorporate calcium rich food like milk, curd, green leafy vegetables in your diet. Also stay away from fattening food to avoid piling on more weight. Have plenty of omega 3 rich food like mackerel, sardines, salmon, walnuts, olive oil etc.
Avoid processed food, saturated fats etc. Some studies show that eating cherries reduces muscle pain.
Doctors might often prescribe anti-inflammatory tablets. You might take paracetamol but not for extended periods. Often taking B complex tablets and iron tablets help.
Straighten your back when you walk or sit or stand. Never sleep on a soft mattress as this will the back pain worse.
Whenever you have to pick up something from the floor don’t bend from the waist down, instead squat and get it. This puts less pressure on your back. Avoid carrying heavy things.
Check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. A mixture of yoga and aerobic exercises often help in back pain. Crunches, chin-ups, resistance band rows help in strengthening your lower back.
Also yoga asana like the cat pose, the camel pose, the cobra pose etc help strengthen the back, shoulder and build your abs to reduce pressure on the back.
Massage And Acupuncture
Massage improves circulation and the tone of the muscles. So an expert can actually help relieve symptoms of back pain when massage is done properly.
Also acupuncture helps as it is painless and relaxing and when pressure is applied to the right pressure points ,it alleviates the pain. So don’t take your back pain lying down and find out the best possible way to fight it before it becomes a part of your life.