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6 Tips to Reduce Back Pain at Home

According to National Institute of Health, back pain affects 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lifetime. No matter when it appears or what may have caused it, back pain can be a real burden. Here are 6 simple tips you can use at home to relieve troublesome back pain quickly and effectively.

1. Work It Out

Often, when your back is in pain, the last thing you want to do is exercise. But certain exercises can actually reduce back pain. Adding yoga, pilates and core strengthening exercises to your workout routine will increase flexibility, balance and strength which, in turn will reduce back pain.

2. Use a Heating Pad or Ice Pack

Applying heat to your back can reduce pain, stiffness, cramping and muscle spasms, as warm temperatures loosen up the back muscles and relieve tension. Administer heat to your aching back with a hot compress, a dry or moist heating pad or with a hot bath. Ice tends to work better to reduce inflammation and swelling. A cold pack, iced towel/compress, or cool bath are all great ways to reduce back pain. But be sure to always wrap heating pads or ice compacts in a towel before use, as these treatments should never be applied directly to the skin.

3. Sleep With a Pillow Under Your Knees

Place a small pillow under the back of your knees to reduce stress on your spine and support the natural curve in your lower back while you sleep. By slightly elevating your legs as you sleep, you can greatly reduce pressure on your back.

4. Lose the Heels

Sorry, ladies. If you suffer from back pain, it’s time to say goodbye to your favorite pair of pumps. Comfortable, low-heeled shoes are your best bet for back pain prevention, as they reduce the strain on the back while standing. If you must wear heels to an event, consider swapping them with a non-heeled shoe on your way to and from the location.

5. Straighten Up

Good posture is key to both preventing and relieving back pain. Perform posture checks throughout the day and avoid rounding your shoulders, slouching, or bending sideways while standing.

6. Increase Your Vitamin D and Calcium Intake

Vitamin D and Calcium are essential for bone strength. Studies indicate that deficiencies of Vitamin D and Calcium lead to chronic pain in the lower back. So be sure to load up on plenty of  orange juice, dairy products, leafy greens, eggs and fish throughout the day to help reduce symptoms of back pain.

If you suffer from back pain, give us a call at 301-710-9777 to schedule an appointment today.

Dr. Paris & Dr. Martinez Discuss Computer Vision Syndrome

Up to 90% of people who work on a computer all day long, complain of some type of visual problem, neck or back pain. Dr. Brian Paris of Advanced Wellness Systems sits down with Dr. Alberto Martinez of Visionary Eye Doctors to share some tips on how to optimize the workspace to protect your eyes, improve posture and create a more efficient and ergonomic environment at work. Here’s what they had to say:

Position Your Computer Near a Window

When you spend all day staring at a computer screen, you tend to blink less frequently. This decreased blink rate often causes the eyes to become dry, leading to redness or discomfort. To avoid dry eyes, look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes. If possible, try to place your computer near a window, as focusing on an object in the distance will help your eyes relax. For those with severe dry eyes, consider investing in a humidifier.

Decrease Eye Strain with the “Palming Technique”

Another way to give your eyes a break is to use a technique called “Palming”, which helps relax the eyes and increase productivity at work. Dr. Martinez shares the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Place your palms over your eyes, blocking out all light.
  3. Take a deep, slow breath through the nose.
  4. Exhale very slowly through the nose.
  5. Repeat the breath 4 times.

With your eyes glued to a screen, your photoreceptors are constantly firing with the stimulus of light. Palming allows these photoreceptors to rest and recover. Dr. Martinez recommends repeating this exercise every 20 minutes for optimal results.

Reduce Glare

Working in a brightly lit room can create excess glare, which cuts down visibility and can lead to eye strain, tiredness, headaches and even migraines. Minimize glare by working in a low-light environment and try to position yourself without a window or bright lights behind you to avoid light reflecting off your computer and into your eyes.

Maintain a Natural Body Position

Avoid overextending the neck by looking too far up or down at your computer. Your head, neck and back should always be straight and in an upright, firm and comfortable position. Not only will good posture prevent pain, but you’ll also find that a healthy body position will encourage more positive thoughts and feelings, promoting overall well being in the workplace.

Position Your Monitor Appropriately

Most people position their monitor horizontally, however this often leads to the user overextending their neck. Instead, angle the computer the way you would a book–slightly low and inclined about 20 inches.

OMG: Texting is Damaging Your Spine

Time spent texting on your smartphone is reeking havoc on your posture, and you may not even realize it. According to a recent study and Dr. Brian Paris, Advanced Wellness Systems, that face-forward posture that’s become epidemic from constantly texting, typing and tweeting is bad for your neck and spine.

Our bodies instinctively hunch over when we use our smartphones and computers, but poor posture strains neck and back muscles, and makes joints work harder.

Dr. Paris admits technology has helped our work and personal lives, but we need to implement postural changes and be mindful of the time spent hunched over. It’s important to return back to an open, neutral and balanced posture. Our bodies function better when our head, shoulders, hips and ankles are aligned. If you insist on being hunched over when using devices, limit time spent hunched forward to 10 minutes.

Watch Dr. Paris’ explain the dangers of poor posture above.