Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Back Pain Cures - The Top 5 Home Remedies

It is estimated that over 80% of adults will suffer from back pain at some point in our lives. It seems every day there is a miraculous new cure available online or via a TV infomercial. Despite this supposed innovation, the percentage of back pain sufferers has remained consistent for the past 30 years. The amount we spend on back pain, however, has skyrocketed. We now spend a staggering 86 billion dollars annually chasing cures for back pain. I want to get back to the basics and share with you my top 5 home remedies to help you cure your back pain and also save you some money in the process.
1) Strengthen the correct muscles. Most of us assume that our back pain is, in part, due to a weakness in our back muscles. The truth is, the problem is actually an imbalance between the back muscles, the abdominal muscles and the gluteal (buttocks) muscles. Surprisingly, the back muscles are often found to be the strongest of the three.
To strengthen your abdominal muscles you should perform crunches. Avoid doing a full military sit up, as this places abnormal stain on, and my aggravate, your pain. The key when performing abdominal crunches is to keep your back flat against the ground. This minimizes the possibility of irritating your back pain while doing them.
The best way to strengthen your gluteal muscles is through lunges. You perform them by stepping forward with one leg and lowering your body toward the floor until your lead knee reaches a 90 degree angle. You then push down with your lead foot, straightening your leg and raising your body back to the starting position. You should focus on tightening the gluteus muscle of your lead leg while pushing back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times with each leg. You can also increase the effectiveness of this exercise by holding dumbbells in your hands.
2) Increase the flexibility in your hips and back. Back pain often results in stiffening of the joints in your lower back and hips. The best, most efficient way to stretch these muscles is by performing a hurdler's stretch. You start by sitting on the floor with your right leg outstretched and your left leg bent and rotated so your left foot is near your left hip. Bend forward at your waist, reaching toward your outstretched right leg and foot. In this position you will be stretching your back, right hamstring, right gluteus and left quadriceps muscles all at the same time. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat by switching legs.
3) Start walking. Walking is the single most underestimated health strategy there is. In addition to relieving back pain the health benefits of walking include mobilizing stiff joints, increasing blood flow and removing toxins from your joints and connective tissue. It is also a great form of stress relief. Researchers at Cal State University found that just a 10 minute walk is enough to increase energy, alter mood and affect a positive outlook for up to 2 hours. I recommend getting a small pedometer. You can find them at any Wal-Mart or similar store. Your goal is to walk 10,000 steps per day.
4) Watch what you eat. Certain foods are known to increase inflammation in your body, thereby aggravating your back pain. Reducing or eliminating them from your diet can often have a dramatic positive effect on your back pain. The biggest culprits are processed white flour, high fructose corn syrup, red meats, fried foods and soft drinks. Pay close attention to the amount of these foods that are in your diet.
5) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. A lack of water, or dehydration, is a major player in perpetuating chronic pain. Without enough water in your body there is a build up of inflammatory chemicals and toxins in your joints, muscles and tendons. This toxic build up is a persistent irritant to the sensitive tissues in your back. The recommended amount of water to consume is 8 cups per day. The prevalence of bottled water makes it easy for you to keep track of your intake. As noted in tip number 4, soft drinks and sodas are common culprits in perpetuating the inflammation associated with back pain. I strongly advise you to replace all soft drinks in your diet with water.
Follow these 5 tips and you will see dramatic improvement in not only your back pain but in your overall health as well.

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