Healthy Days and Nourishing Ways

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Neck and Back Pain
Neck and back problems can be avoided or reduced by first recognizing, then decreasing or eliminating, causal factors. Keeping the neck and back strong is also important. Causal factors include putting any undue stress on the neck or back such as lifting, doing repetitive movements, reaching, twisting, leaning over, and walking, standing, or sitting incorrectly. Sleeping with two or more pillows under the head or on a soft mattress can also be causal factors. Strengthening the neck and back by incorporating exercises into a routine may help prevent a problem or help reduce the severity of a problem if it does occur.

Unfortunately, neck and back problems are common ailments that just seem to sneak up on us. One day we are feeling fine and then POW!—we can’t get out of bed. What can be done to reduce pain and further damage? Let’s take a look.

  • If considering a chiropractor, take the time to find the right one. Styles, personalities, and techniques vary greatly, so shop around.

  • Ice works well for pain and inflammation—invest in a good, reusable ice pack or packs.

  • Heat works well to loosen tight muscles, but be careful—heat, including hot showers, may trigger pain if the area is inflamed.

  • When experiencing pain, try this: find the firmest surface (such as the floor) and lie down with knees raised and no pillow under the head. If at work, hopefully your boss will understand!

  • When sitting for long periods of time a lumbar support pillow and a firm footrest (3-6 inches high) may be helpful. Standing up and walking around periodically are also important.

  • For sleeping, find a mattress and pillow that have the correct firmness. Sleeping on the back or either side, not on the stomach, are usually best. Using a pillow between the knees when sleeping on either side can do wonders.

  • Seek out and incorporate into your routine exercises and movements that will strengthen and relax the neck and back. Chiropractors, physical therapists, and yoga instructors are great resources for these.

  • Don’t underestimate routine activities (driving, sitting at a desk, doing yard work, and cleaning) that may trigger pain. Adjustments in lifestyle may need to be made in order to prevent or reduce flare-ups.