Spinal column
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Back pain is an affliction that many people will have to endure at some point in their lives. It can be absolutely debilitating. Often it is difficult for medical professionals to diagnose the source and propose an adequate course of treatment. There are numerous pharmacological remedies available for back pain. However, many only mask the pain and do not treat the underlying issues that are the cause of the suffering.

Sometimes it is easy for us to book an appointment with a doctor. Based on the information we provide we rationally expect them to make a diagnosis and prescribe a solution to what ails us. This approach only takes into account the information the patient is willing to divulge.  Often, people omit key pieces of information that may impact on the recommended course of treatment.  A seemingly insignificant component of a person's life may turn out to be a major causal factor of the complaint. As individuals we must take a greater level of responsibility in managing our pain and taking positive action to alleviate symptoms.

The following offers some practical, easy to implement advice that may assist in managing and reducing back pain. Of course, it is not meant to replace the advice of a doctor or medical specialist. It should only be considered if your symptoms are mild or if you have previously sought professional advice.

1. Exercise

Some light exercise will not only benefit your general health, it will also assist in alleviating back pain.  A short daily walk at a moderate pace allows your spine, and the muscles that surround it, to be upright and more aligned, leading to a much more functional skeletal structure. Walking also strengthens the muscles in the essential supporting structures that are critical to back health - your legs, feet, hips and trunk.  

If you find that walking for any length of time is too uncomfortable, consider walking laps in a wading pool.  The water will reduce the impact of walking and will reduce the pain as your muscles become used to the activity and increase their strength.

Walking increases circulation to the spinal column which aids recovery and drains toxins from the affected areas, assisting in your recovery and long term pain management strategy.

2. Posture

Poor posture is a key activator of back pain and, over a long period of time, can lead to serious problems. Posture, good or bad, is a habit that the body learns over a period of time. It is necessary to actively, consciously take action to implement changes that encourage you to implement good posture practices.

If your job involves sitting at a desk, ensure the ergonomics of your workstation is properly established to encourage positive postural behaviors. This can be achieved through an independent ergonomics assessment or through a process of self assessment.

If you undertake any heavy lifting make sure you bend your knees and keep your spine as straight as possible. Avoid over-exertion and do not be afraid to request assistance if the item is beyond your capability. Do not wait until you feel pain. Your back can be very unforgiving and lifting too much weight in the wrong way can result in years of excruciating pain.

3. Foam Roller

A relatively small investment in a foam roller can bring welcome relief. A roller will stimulate circulation to the muscles in the back and allow the body's natural healing mechanisms to be activated. Rolling on a foam roller is like having a gravity massage. You are effectively utilising the weight of your body to create pressure on the roller that is reflected back into the pressure points of your back.

There are many different types of exercise that cam be undertaken on a foam roller that will assist in managing back pain. From rolling horizontally up and down your shoulders and upper back to lying on the roller vertically, curling your shoulder blades around the curved surface. It really is a positive addition to your pain management arsenal.

Pain is an unwelcome part of the human condition. The human form is particularly susceptible to back pain due to the structure of our skeletal system and the simple fact that we walk upright. If inactivity and poor posture are factored in to the equation, we have a heightened likelihood of back stress which inevitably leads to a painful conclusion.

There is no doubt that active prevention is the most effective method to avoid back pain. However, often we do not consider the consequences of our actions until it is too late. Back pain may be the result of many years of stress that accumulates and finally results in a breakdown. It may also result from a single injury that incapacitates and continues to aggravate over a period of time. Regardless of the cause, back pain is real for the sufferer and requires a well thought out management plan that, in conjunction with expert advice, is targeted at reducing the intensity of the affliction and promotes a speedy recovery.