If you're like many Americans, the aging process has caused you to occasionally notice some twinges and aches in your back, particularly following a long drive or a hard day of work. However, if you find yourself experiencing these aches and pains more often than not, you may need to take action quickly to prevent your occasional or mild back pain from escalating into a more serious (and harder to treat) issue. Read on to learn more about some of the common causes of back pain, as well as the preventive and curative measures you should take now to avoid future back problems.
Change your shoes
One of the key culprits of chronic lower back pain can be ill-fitting or insufficiently supportive shoes. If you spend a lot of time on your feet throughout the day, your poor-fitting shoes may do nothing to dampen the impact on your pelvis, spine, and other joints each time you take a step.
In many cases, placing over-the-counter orthotic or gel insoles in your regular shoes can do the trick by providing extra cushioning and minimizing the impact of your feet on the ground. In other cases, you may need to be professionally fitted for orthotic inserts or even a new pair of more supportive shoes.
Do some light stretching
Often, the most effective way to combat back pain is to perform some stretching and strength-building exercises to help improve muscle tone around your spine. These stretches are especially important if your job is sedentary. In fact, many doctors blame the modern work environment for the rise in complaints of lower back pain.
By performing stretches, you can improve your core strength and tone little-used muscles, helping keep your spine in alignment and reduce the inflammation that could be causing your pain. You may notice that after a few weeks of regular exercises, you feel taller, slimmer, and are able to move and bend without pain.
Investigate chiropractic options
Just like a vehicle's poor alignment can cause premature tire wear, misalignment of the vertebrae in your neck or spine can lead to damage to the nerves, cartilage, and other delicate components of your skeletal system. If you've never visited a chiropractor before, you may want to schedule an appointment to determine if poor spinal alignment could be the cause of your back pain.
If this is the case, the chiropractor should be able to guide you through some helpful exercises and procedures that will release tension around your vertebrae. In many cases, you may find that your pain is reduced or even eliminated after your first chiropractor visit. In other situations, you may need to return for a periodic adjustment every few weeks or months to keep yourself pain-free.