Back pain remedies if you’ve been walking around hunched over all this time

Back pain remedies if you’ve been walking around hunched over all this time

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Text: Emily Heng

Ageing is inevitable; a fact we are cruelly reminded of whenever concerned mothers bring up marriage-, job- and possible fertility-related failings caused by inaction in our now-wasted youth. *Cue massive eye-roll *. Exasperating as that might be, it is less painful a reminder than backache. You know the one: the crippling, persisting ache caused by a) attempting a too-ambitious stretch during yoga; b) a weird sleeping position; or c) bending down too fast to shamelessly seize grub that has fallen off plates — all of which incurred zero consequences when attempted in our younger days. Groan.

Whatever the cause, the consequence is often a real pain to bear. Nip them in the bud with the following remedies should you be plagued with bothersome backaches; none of which involve inventing a time-machine (sorry, ma).

1. Bust out heating or cooling pads
Depending on the type of back pain you're suffering from, heat and ice pads can help provide relief. Muscle strains and or intense aches will benefit from an ice pack to numb all sensation, whereas stiffness can be countered with a hot water bottle to soothe too-tense muscles. For maximum effectiveness, wrap in a towel and keep it pressed to the area for at least 20 minutes.



2. Pop some over-the-counter pain-relievers
A well-stocked pharmacy should provide options aplenty. Ingredients to look out for include capsicum — found in hot peppers — and menthol so as to mimic the hot and cool effect on muscles mentioned earlier. Arnica gels and creams also serve as a popular alternative as of late, though scientific evidence backing its efficacy is still a little scarce.



3. Stop smoking
A study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that nicotine constricts the blood flow and decreases the size of small blood vessels, affecting the delivery of blood to soft tissue that actually helps alleviate back pain. Well, if you needed another excuse to stub out those cigs...



4. Ditch the back brace
It does more harm than good in the long run, according to Dr Scott Davis, physical therapist and associate professor at West Virginia University. "Braces are helpful for strenuous activities, like heavy lifting, but only keep them on for 15 minutes at a time," he says. "Wearing a brace all day weakens muscles, which means you will have less core strength, after."



5. Visit a specialist
And if all else fails, talk to a qualified professional so they can recommend the right course of action for you; whether that entails physical therapy, medication, and or other treatments.