So many people in the United States, an estimated 80%, will have back pain some time in their lives. In most of these cases it is not due to a serious medical condition such as a fracture or inflammatory arthritis. But so often everyone who has back pain gets the same treatment, which means drugs to kill the pain. All that does is make the pain easier to take, but with dangerous side effects. Pharmaceutical drug overdoses rank second to car crashes as the leading causes of accidental death in the US
But painkillers do not cure the problem of back pain. First, to know the cause is the first step to finding a cure, and the major causes are poor posture ,activity and obesity. If these are the causes of most cases of back pain, exercising regularly to keep your core muscles strong is the best way to prevent and manage the problem. For example, sitting for long periods of time can shorten muscles supporting the back, and strengthening and stretching them out may may remedy much of the discomfort.
Some have found that certain programs like Foundation Training can be helpful, but I have been an advocate of yoga, and particularly Bikram Yoga. Many of the full body poses that are derived from yoga are very effective, and if done properly will keep the strain on spinal nerves and disks to a minimum. Yoga among other things teachers you how to hinge effectively, allowing you to stretch the hamstrings, lower back and sides to allow you to build an effective foundation.
Breathing is another effective way to improve posture and reduce back pain, and is ignored by many people. You'll want to stand up tall and breathe in deeply, then as you breathe out tighten your abdominal muscles, thereby preventing your torso from collapsing back down. When done properly your breath will stabilize your spine, support your core and at the same time will help lengthen you hip flexors.
Other exercises that are great for strengthening the muscles around your spine are high intensity sessions, even if done in short durations a couple of times a week. Also, exercises that promote flexibility and balance will help your core, and yoga takes into account all of these factors. Be sure to stretch and warm up before you start any strength or aerobic training.
Here are a few other points:
1. Message therapy. This can induce endorphins, which helps relieve pain and promote relaxation.
2. Bending. Avoid bending awkwardly, and lift with your legs, not your back.
3. Shoes. Wear comfortable shoes, and for women wear heels only when you absolutely must.
4. A firm bed. Some back support is good, as is sleeping on your side to reduce the curvature in the spine.
5. Standing. Spread your weight evenly, and try to avoid slouching.
6. Sitting. Try to get up and move from time to time, and when you remain sitting try to rotate your pelvis and sit up straight.
7. Water. Since your body is mostly water, keeping hydrated will keep your muscles and joints from getting stiff.