Preventing and Treating Gym-born Back Pain

One of the most common gym injuries is back pain. Whether you’re going hard on the elliptical or lifting some heavy weights, it can get you. But don’t let the fear of potentially hurting yourself keep you from working out, instead educate yourself on how you can prevent and treat back pain.

 

Preventing Back Pain

Working out, or keeping your back muscles strong, is actually one of the best things you can do to prevent back injuries. Back pain is more common in people who are not fit, so start exercising today. Of course, that doesn’t mean heavy lifting. Heavy lifting is a big cause of back injuries, so make sure you work your way up to it. Take it easy and listen to your body, and follow these tips to prevent back pain.

  • Core Exercise. As mentioned, working out can help you build up strong muscles in your back to prevent injury. Participate in some low-impact exercise like walking or ellipticals to increase blood flow to the spine.
  • A poor posture can lead to back pain. It’s important to pay attention to your posture throughout the day, especially if you work a desk job. Try to get up every hour or so and walk around. You can also set a timer on your phone to check your posture every once in a while throughout the day.
  • Lifting weights is not a bad thing and can increase the strength in your back muscles. But it’s important to know the proper way to lift weights to avoid injury. If you’re unsure of proper weight-lifting technique, ask the trainer at your gym for some pointers.
  • Overall health. Take care of your body and improve your overall physical health. Just as exercising is important, so are eating right and drinking plenty of water. Getting the nutrients that your body needs will help build up your strength too.

 

Treating Back Pain

Even if we do our best to prevent back injuries, they can still happen. Here’s a list of ways you can treat your back pain.

  • See a doctor. If your pain is severe enough that it’s difficult for you to walk, then it is best to get a professional diagnosis on the problem. A doctor is going to be the best source for a treatment plan to get your back healed quickly.
  • Rest is going to be your best friend when you have back pain (or worst enemy if you don’t like sitting still). Don’t keep working out or you’ll risk injuring your back further. Give your back a few days to rest and then start out slow, stopping if you feel any pain during exercise.
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods with plenty of fish oils. Avoid the grains and let your body focus it’s innate healing power on the real injury.
  • Massage therapist. See a massage therapist or chiropractor to help work out any aches in the muscles or to realign your back. They can also give you some good recommendations for at home treatment.
  • Icing your back can reduce pain, swelling and spasming, especially during the first 24 hours of injury. Apply ice for only 20 minutes at a time, and then wait an hour before reapplying.

If you’re ever in doubt about a back injury, the best practice is always to consult your doctor before trying to self-diagnose or treat. Take these tips into consideration and do what you can to prevent back pain from enjoying everyday life.

 

Waking Up With Aches And Pains? Neck Sore? Back Pain?

Your pillow is important; it keeps your head in the right position, cradling your neck, supporting the natural s shape in this top part of your spine so that in the morning, you awake, fresh and ache-free.

But, it seems that we are reticent when it comes to life of our pillows. We become attached to our pillows, far more than we do the mattress that supports our body or the duvets that envelopes our body – the first signs of wear and tear, or stains, and we invest in new bedding and mattress.

It seems that our pillows, which we should replace every 6 months if we do not wash them, are not replaced as often as needed; research shows that 5 years is the norm but some people confessed to not having had a new pillow in ten years…

However, like other materials and products, the more you paid for your pillow, the more likely it is to withstand the test of time. Cared for correctly, pillows can last:

  • Feather pillows: 8 years
  • Down pillows: 5 years
  • Synthetic pillows: 6 months to 2 years

Hence, when people say that they have not renewed their pillows, it seems the majority are talking about synthetic filled pillows.
So, if you have washed it (getting rid of dust mites and debris), how do you know you pillow needs replacing?

  • Feather or down pillow

Placing the pillow on a flat surface, bend it over and squeeze all the air out of it; if, when you let the pillow go, it unfolds and spring back in to shape, it means there is enough structure left and the pillow is still good to use. However, if it stays deflated and crumpled, time to go pillow-shopping…

  • Synthetic filled pillow (polyester, hollowfibre, microfibre)

Once again, place the pillow on a flat surface and fold it in half. Place a weight on it – around 300g or a decent paperback book will do. If, when you take your hand off the weight off, it unfolds, springs back and knocks the weight off, then the pillow has enough strength and structure. But again, if the pillow stays folded and nestles the weight, this is not the sign of a good pillow – even if it is your favourite, and it has been your best pillow for years, the time has come to assign it another role and get a new one.

A new pillow can – and will! – make all the difference

Many people complain of waking with an aching or sore neck, sore shoulders or even that their usual fitful night’s sleep seems to have turned into a disaster zone, they still do not think their bedding, especially their pillow, could be to blame.

Wool bedding, including pillow, duvet and mattress protectors are becoming ‘fashionable’ as more people realize the true potential, once again, of this sustainable product.  With great structure, strength and integrity, why not give a wool pillow and bedding a try?