Back Pain Facts

by Amy Smith

Fact:Nearly 80% of the population will be experience back pain at some point during their lives.
Fact:Stretching can help you ease a sore back because it elongates muscle tissues, which in turn helps decompress the vertebrae, improve blood flow and increase the delivery of oxygen to the back. Remember to stretch when you wake up, after you’ve been sitting for awhile and before you start exercising. [Source: Prevention]

Fact:Approximately 45% of Americans with chronic neck pain attribute it to a motor vehicle accident. Each year some 3 million whiplash injuries are reported. [Back on Track, Dr. Steven Horwitz, May 2001]

Fact:Cold helps reduce swelling and numbs painful areas. Heat helps increase blood circulation and relaxes sore muscles. Limit applications of either to 20 minutes. [Consumer Reports on Health, Sept. 2000]

Fact:Back pain usually stems from a strain or minor tear of the muscles and ligaments that support the lower back. Sometimes heavy lifting or bending wrong can cause an injury. Many incidents of back pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, cold to reduce pain and swelling during the first day or two, then a heating pad. Rest for a couple of days, then start stretching and doing gentle exercise. Inactivity can make you feel worse. See your doctor if pain or discomfort continues. [Consumer Reports on Health, May 2000]

Fact: Never say never. Everyone reacts to diseases, drugs and treatments differently. Every doctor has seen “hopeless” cases turn around. For all of the advances in medicine, the human body remains wondrously strange and full of surprises. [Gregory White Smith, author of Making Miracles Happen]

If you are among the many who suffer, take heart. Selecting the proper pillow may be a simple and effective way to relieve cervical pain and improve quality of life by way of sleep. Look for a pillow that matches the natural curve of your cervical spine. Traditional fiberfill or down pillows tend to flatten beneath the weight of your head, and aren’t shaped to match the curves of your neck. Pillows made of foam material hold their shape better and are often made to mirror the curves of the neck.

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