Take control of back pain

Sleep Center

Back pain itself can be agonizing enough, but it becomes even more of a nuisance when it prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep. The good news is that there are steps you can take to alleviate back pain, which affects an estimated 35 percent of consumers.

Although these tips can in no way replace the professional advice of a trained medical specialist, they can help you alleviate some of the more common forms of back pain. If you are experiencing persistent back pain, we advise you to consult a physician or an accredited back-care center before undertaking any exercise program or deviating from prescribed health-care regimens.

The following steps, courtesy of the Simmons Co. and orthopedic specialist Dr. Elliot Menkowitz, can help you deal with back pain and take control of it. Simmons is the maker of the unique Simmons BackCare mattress, which utilizes the “Five Zones” construction process that, in essence, helps hold your spine in its natural position all night long.

Let’s take a look at some steps to help you deal with back pain:

1. Stop what you’re doing and rest. Be sure to rest in a balanced position, with the three natural curves of your back — cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back), and lumbar (lower back) — properly aligned.

2. Ice, then heat. Ice is most effective after back pain occurs; after that time, heat therapy is thought to aid the healing process by increasing circulation and relaxing the muscles.

3. Massage. A gentle massage may provide some temporary relief by stretching out tight muscles and ligaments.

4. Gentle exercise. Conditioning exercises designed to promote good body mechanics and flexible muscles will help minimize the stress on your back.

5. Medication. Your doctor may prescribe medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation in your back.

6. Ease up on normal activities. Avoid sitting on low, soft furniture and use a rolled-up towel to support your lower back. Avoid lifting or carrying anything heavy or awkward.