Backaches are a Pain!

December 22, 2014
Tips for Managing Back Pain

Tips for Managing Back Pain

Back pain is a very common complaint among those over age 60.  Caregivers and their loved ones are likely to suffer from back pain.  It’s important to know how to manage back pain so that some of the discomfort can be made a bit more tolerable for you or your loved one.  For a few suggestions on managing back pain, check out a few tips below.

  • Go for ice. When back pain occurs as a result a strained muscle, get out the ice pack. For the first 24 to 48 hours, frequently apply cold packs or other sources of cold (bags of frozen peas often work nicely) to help reduce inflammation. Avoid adding a heat source for the first couple of days, so that the ice can have time to do its job. Don’t put the cold source directly on the skin; wrap it in a soft towel so that it doesn’t cause damage.  Also, remove the ice after about 20 minutes for at least a 10 minute break.
  • Don’t stay in bed. Unless a doctor advises otherwise, back pain sufferers should try to keep doing all the things they normally do – walking, moving about the kitchen, etc. Avoid moving into positions that put undue stress on sore areas, but otherwise try to keep up a fairly regular flow of motion and not get stiff. Motion usually helps to alleviate the soreness more quickly – as long as you don’t overdo it.
  • Go over the counter. A doctor may prescribe stronger medication, but often standard store-bought anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, are all that is needed for minor back pain. Do check that the medicine does not have any side effects or relevant drug interactions.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables. What one eats can have an impact on how one manages back pain. Many fruits and vegetables provide an anti-inflammatory boost that can come in very handy. Incorporating grapes, carrots, watermelons, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, beets, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and broccoli into the diet is one way to help fight inflammation.
  • Watch out for certain foods. Certain foods can negatively impact back pain. In general, avoid the foods that are not nutritious: white bread, sugary drinks, fried foods, caffeine, alcohol, pastries, potato chips, etc.

Taking care of elderly individuals teaches one that every person is different. These general tips  help most people, but what’s most important is listening to one’s own body and figuring out what works best for fighting back pain in a specific individual.

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