The first step to back pain relief is identifying the source of your aches and ailments—the back is complex, with lots of important, delicate moving parts. It doesn’t take much to throw it out of whack. So consider these three common sources of persistent back pain, and see if any sound familiar to you.
1. Poor sleep quality.
Not getting good enough sleep can have dozens of side effects, not least of which is back pain. Everyone puts some amount of stress on their back on a daily basis, and those who don’t rest properly at the end of the day don’t recover from that daily wear-and-tear. Poor sleep can act as a multiplier worsening the impact of every other item on this list, so make sure you’re resting solid each night even if it doesn’t seem like the likeliest suspect.
2. Bad posture.
Sleeping poorly, sitting at your desk poorly, lifting weights poorly, doing dishes poorly, all of these can put strain on your back which adds up over time. The more intense or prolonged the activity, the more vital proper form becomes. Sitting with poor posture for part of each day is bad, but doing powerlifting with poor posture can put you in the hospital in a single day. If you have persistent back pain, you want to make sure you’re doing everything with perfect posture—not ramrod straight, either, so make sure you look up proper posture for your activities.
3. Referred pain.
Your body doesn’t always get the source of pain exactly right; all the pain signals from all over your body ultimately travel through your spine to reach your brain, giving plenty of opportunity for misinterpretation and mixed signals. Your back might hurt from acid reflux, heart troubles, or any of a dozen other ailments not directly related to the health of your spine or back muscles. Don’t ignore other minor ailments as your track down back pain, as the cure might lay quite outside your back.
These are far from being the only sources of back pain, but many cases will fall under these categories. Regardless of the exact source, you’ll likely find an active lifestyle, good rest on a supportive structure, and regular stretching to maintain flexibility all contribute to reduced back pain. Using a massage mat like the Pranamat ECO to relax muscle tissue and improve blood flow and circulation makes a good first step regardless of the source of your pain--just stay alert to any sharp pains or strange feelings during activity, in case you have an injury or ailment you're making worse.