Back Pain: Prevention and Remedy - NL-047
Both acute and chronic back pain can impact your quality of life, leading to disability, irritability and frustration. Old age, poor posture, sprains, injuries, bulging discs and other structural problems, certain health conditions (such as arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia) and nutritional deficiencies are the main causes of back pain. Women may have additional risk factors such as hormonal fluctuations caused by periods, pregnancy and menopause. Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can also cause or aggravate back pain.
How can you prevent back pain?
Living with constant pain is not easy. If you are looking at ways to prevent or remedy back pain that can help you find some relief, here are some tips.
Stay physically active: Get up frequently and move around, as moderate physical activity not only relaxes your muscles but also keeps your heart, bowels and immunity working in top shape. Simple practices like taking a break from sitting in one position or lying down on one side for too long will reduce your likelihood of back and muscular pain.
Exercise: The right kind of exercise (that doesn’t put too much pressure on your back and spine) strengthens your back muscles, gets rid of the discomfort and tension and improves flexibility in the musculoskeletal system. Stretching may also help ease lower back pain. However, it is important to note that heavy and strenuous exercise may increase your risk of experiencing back pain. Always consult a health care professional before you start exercising, as not all exercises are helpful in combating back pain.
Correct your posture: Sitting in a hunched position or lying down in an incorrect posture for prolonged periods are the leading causes of back, neck and shoulder pain. Poor posturing habits such as slouching and slumping cause additional wear and tear on the joints, muscles and ligaments. Maintaining proper posture while standing, sitting, lying down or even sleeping goes a long way in preventing as well as reducing back pain and muscle strain.
Need some quick tips to improve your posture? Keep your shoulders back while sitting or standing, stand straight, use proper lifting techniques, don’t tilt you head down too much while using your smart phone, hold your phone at the eye level and choose a firm mattress for your bed.
Address nutritional deficiencies: Eat a well-balanced and healthy diet, reduce your intake of processed food and sugar (that cause weight gain and widespread inflammation), and take supplements such as calcium, vitamin D and magnesium.  This study shows that vitamin D deficiency is linked with lumbar disc degeneration and low back pain in postmenopausal women. 
Maintain healthy weight: If you are suffering from chronic back pain and are overweight, one of the best things you can do is to lose weight. Excess weight puts immense stress on the spine and strains the lower back, leading to pain. Being overweight also makes conditions such as osteoarthritis and disk injuries worse.
It is always better to see a qualified healthcare practitioner for a proper diagnosis as it will help you determine what remedies are good for you and which ones to avoid. More importantly, your back pain could be a sign of a more serious problem like a kidney infection, urinary tract infection or kidney stones. If your pain lasts for more than four weeks, gets worse or you feel numbness in your legs, it is best to seek professional help for proper evaluation.
- Tarleton et al. Relationship between Magnesium Intake and Chronic Pain in U.S. Adults. Nutrients. 2020.
- Xu et al. Does vitamin D status influence lumbar disc degeneration and low back pain in postmenopausal women? A retrospective single-center study. Menopause. 2020