There’s no time like the present to make sure your back is strong enough to handle the load it has to carry every day, whether you’re at work, the gym or on the couch. You need to develop a muscular back brace, so you can prevent pain, and bounce back faster.
Develop Your Core
Abdominal muscles help provide the support, strength and stamina to prevent back injuries. You should do core exercises three days a week. Don’t forget squats and lunges. They put your core on a firmer foundation.
Nine out of 10 rehab specialists prefer Pilates. It emphasizes movement through the use of core muscles closest to the spine. Pilates focuses on performing few, but precise movements. These require control, concentration and proper form. Successful programs integrate traditional Pilates with resistance bands, big balls and balance disks.
Include yoga, which builds those collateral muscles that protect you from injury. Cardiovascular exercise also helps lower-back pain. It keeps you moving, so you can strengthen the muscles that prevent injury.
When your back gives out—reach for ice. Applying ice for 20 minutes at a time lowers inflammation. After you remove the ice, blood flow increases to take away toxic chemicals from injured tissues. After the first 24 to 48 hours, you can switch to heat. Pads, saunas and heated wraps all help promote blood flow to speed healing.
As a heads up, when you use the ice, your back will feel better afterward as it warms up again. When you use heat, your back feels better, but after it tends to stiffen. Only heat your back 20 minutes at a time to avoid overheating the muscles.
You can use ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation. Some doctors may shoot local anesthetic into the muscles (trigger-point injections) or prescribe a muscle relaxant. These keep the muscles from spasming and feeling tight, without irritating your stomach.
You can also lie on the floor, flat on your back, with a small towel under the small of your back, and stretch your back muscles. It takes 15 minutes to realign and stretch your back muscles with this position. You can use this time to meditate. You’ll do your body twice as good. It may be worth trying massage therapy if your back keeps tightening.
A cortisone shot in your lower back can reduce pain. It helps reduce inflammation. This could be through the medication or the fact that fluid’s injected.
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