Is your lower back arthritis messing with your life? Do you feel like you’re doing everything you can to manage your pain but not find relief? Lower back arthritis can make some days harder than others. Plus who wants to take a bunch of medication that zonks you out. If you’re an active person having lower back arthritis can really slow you down from doing what you love. You need a simple fix. Try these tips for managing your back pain, and get back to normal:
Tip #1: Improve your posture
This is key! Before you start rolling your eyes and click on another page, hear me out. It will take less effort than you think. Roll up a regular size bath towel and after sitting down place it in the small of your lower back. This will instantly improve your posture. It will also be an easy way to “practice” good posture to get relief from your symptoms. Sitting tall is a way to strengthen muscles in your back and core that help support your spine. Sitting up helps your spine stay in its most natural position. When we slouch while sitting this can make the pain worse. By having the towel roll in your back you can create a natural curve in your spine and take the load off the discs. Try it and see how you do.
Tip #2: Hot and Cold
A hot shower to get loosened up in the morning can help muscles and other soft tissues relax along with reducing arthritis symptoms. No time for a shower. Get a microwavable hot pack and warm up your back for 10 to 20 minutes before you plan to head out for your workout or work.When you are done with our physical activity apply a cold pack to reduce any inflammation. Inflammation is what causes arthritis to hurt. By applying a cold pack for 10 minutes to your back you can prevent, any arthritic pain caused by exercise or work without having to taking extra medication.
Want to know how to make a DYI hot pack/cold pack? Take a gym sock or dress sock you no longer like, fill it with dry rice, then tie it off; simply throw it in the microwave for no more than 10-30 seconds at a time for heat. All microwaves are different so you will have to test out what is the best time to heat up your hot pack. You can also put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes for icy cold relief.
Tip #3: Get some rest
It’s good to take some time for yourself, especially if you’re a busy person. For busy people stopping and taking a little time for numero uno is hard. Resting lets your body recharge to avoid overdoing it. I am not talking about lying around and just be lazy. That is not you or me. I am talking about giving your body and sometimes your mind a break can do a lot for healing and pain control. Take an hour out of each day to rest. You can read books, talk on the phone, mediate, talk to your family members, or just watch a little TV. Being sedentary for too long will make arthritis pain worse. So finding a balance between rest and activity is important.
Tip #4: A little movement and exercise is needed
You might feel like your lower back arthritis makes it hard to be more active and exercise. However you have lots of options. Improving your flexibility through stretching and light exercise like walking or water aerobics actually work to improve the symptoms of lower back arthritis by helping you lose weight, and strengthening your muscles.
Delaine Fowler, PT DPT