Do you find yourself suffering from back pain? You’re not alone. Dealing with something like chronic pain can interrupt your day and impact your physical as well as your mental well-being. Back pain often comes from bad posture or sleeping habits. There are many options for pain management without having to take pain medicine. Depending on the longevity and severity of your pain, you might consider seeing a specialist like a physical therapist or chiropractor if your health plan allows it, or try out some different home remedies that can help provide immediate relief.
1. Gentle Stretches
Back pain can be exacerbated by muscle tension. While it might not cure your pain overnight, spending half an hour a few times per week gently stretching, you can help reduce symptoms and prevent future pain. Stretching starts to loosen your muscles, which enables healing in your joints as your body becomes more flexible. Yoga is one of the best ways to treat lower back pain, simultaneously stretching and strengthening the body. From in-person classes to online tutorials, there is an abundance of yoga lessons focused around back pain.
2. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt baths are recommended by integrative health specialists for the mental and physical benefits they offer. Draw up a warm bath and add some Epsom salts. As the magnesium sulfate from the Epsom salts works its way into your skin, it helps relieve sore muscles and relax your shoulders, neck, and lower and upper back. Bonus? Epsom salt helps to relieve stress and anxiety, improving your mood alongside alleviating your back pain.
3. Strengthen Your Core
Chronic pain can usually benefit from a stronger core. There are many muscles that work together in the abdominal area and when they are weak, other parts of the body overcompensate, which strain the lower back. According to specialists at New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C.—a health facility that specializes in neck, back, and spine care in Mount Laurel, NJ—poor physical fitness can lead to more injuries and pain. A strong core can improve posture, giving you the strength to hold your body more upright, which can prevent future back and neck pain. Don’t wait any longer to integrate core-strengthening exercises into your routine.
4. Sleep Right
Lower back pain can often result from bad sleeping habits. Firstly, sleeping on a supportive mattress is essential. There are a number of positions to sleep in that can prevent stressing your back. For side sleepers, add a pillow between the knees in order to keep the spine neutral. If you sleep on your back, try placing a pillow underneath your legs. This will improve the alignment of the spine, ensure weight is evenly distributed, and relieve strain on pressure points.
Massage therapy can be a highly effective way to reduce back pain and improve mobility. If you don’t have the health care or financial capability to consistently see a massage therapist, have a friend or family member do some light massage on you at home. You can even self-massage or use therapy balls.
6. Oils and Ointments
Are you tired of taking medication for immediate relief for pain? There are many topical medications in the form of gels and creams that are highly effective. Look for ingredients like diclofenac, ibuprofen, and lidocaine that help desensitize your sore muscles. Ointments such as Icy Hot and Tiger Balm, which give a cooling effect are also widely used. If you are seeking an all-natural remedy, try lavender essential oil or a cayenne ointment applied with acupressure.
7. See a Specialist
While home remedies can be effective in the short-term, they aren’t necessarily sustainable solutions for chronic back pain. You might consider seeing a specialist who specializes in spinal and muscular medicine. Your options are varied from chiropractors and physical therapists to acupuncturists and herbal medicine specialists, depending on the approach you are seeking. While not all types of health insurance cover specialists for chronic pain, many types do cover integrative medicine, including treatments like massage and acupuncture as well as visits to a spine specialist.
To decide what plan works best for your needs, compare health insurance with iSelect. Factors such as the type of treatment you are seeking and the frequency you need treatment will play into the health insurance plan you choose. Also, consider financial factors such as the deductible and out of pocket costs when choosing your insurance policy. And most importantly, look into what treatments you need and whether or not they fall under your health coverage to maximize your benefits and minimize your bill. Bronze and silver level health insurance plans are inclusive of the spine, back, and muscle-related treatments, and under the “extras” coverage, medium and comprehensive packages should cover most specialists needed to manage your back pain.