How to ease back pain

Most people experience some form of back pain at one point or another. It can be caused by a number of things, including poor posture, a lack of core strength, old sports injuries or medical conditions such as arthritis and sciatica. If you're suffering from this issue, it's important to consult your doctor before attempting any complementary treatments. They will help you to identify and address the root cause of your discomfort. However, if after speaking to your GP, you still find yourself struggling to cope with this problem, it might be worth exploring some of the following options. 

Increase your core strength

The 'core' is the collection of major and minor muscles located in the abdominal, back and pelvic floor regions of the body. These muscles act as stabilisers that support your spine during physical activity. If they are weak, other muscle groups end up over-compensating, which can lead to a variety of painful back conditions. As such, spending a bit of time each day strengthening your core may, over time, reduce the severity of your back pain.

There are several ways to go about doing this; however, certain body-weight exercises (specifically the 'plank' and its numerous variations) and Pilates are a few of the most well-known methods. The latter is especially popular amongst those concerned with core development. It consists of using very precise, controlled movements to target specific abdominal, pelvic and leg muscle groups, and is thought to be extremely effective at addressing underlying structural and muscular imbalances which can cause back pain.

Visit a physiotherapist

If you're experiencing persistent back pain, it may be worth booking a physiotherapy session. Physiotherapy is a branch of medicine which deals with a wide variety of respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neuromuscular issues. It is often used to treat a person's mobility problems, relieve stiffness and aches in the body and heal stubborn older injuries.

Physiotherapists take a number of different approaches to the treatment of back pain. They may offer you hydrotherapy sessions, employ manual manipulation (i.e. use their hands to improve blood circulation and release muscle knots) or use an ultrasound machine to break down scar tissue. If they suspect that your back problems are being caused or exacerbated by your daily activities, they may also advise you on subjects such as proper lifting techniques and correct postural positions. Additionally, if it's found that your discomfort is the result of a lack of flexibility, balance or muscle strength, the physiotherapist might teach you some exercises that you can practice at home, so that you can continue to work on healing your back problems in between your sessions with them.