About 80% of adults will suffer significant low back pain at some time in their lives due to an injury at work, at home or at play. Following these life choices can help you minimize your chance of suffering back pain or injury.
- Learn good posture. Slouching strains the lower back. At work, be sure your chair and working surfaces support your back and encourage good posture.
- Use proper lifting techniques. Take your time, bend at the knees, don't twist your body, move close to the surface on which you will be placing the object, and use assistive devices for heavy objects whenever possible.
- If you smoke, stop. Smoking has been linked to low bone density, chronic low back pain (especially in smokers with chronic coughs), disc damage, and poor healing.
- Exercise regularly. Strengthening and conditioning exercises keep the muscles of the back strong, flexible and less prone to injury.
- Eat right. Good nutrition keeps your spine healthy and can reduce chronic pain or disability if you suffer from a spine condition.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight, especially around the midsection, puts a strain on the back muscles as well as the entire lower body.
- Stay positive. Studies have shown that people who are happy with their jobs and home life are less likely to experience back pain and recover faster than people who are unhappy.
Many kinds of pain medications can be used to reduce back pain, from over-the-counter drugs to powerful opioids.
The type of medication, or combination of medications, your doctor recommends for you will depend on the strength and cause of your pain, the length of time it has afflicted you, your response to other medications in the past, any other medications you may be taking, whether you have recently had or will have surgery, whether the pain is getting worse or better, whether you are suffering from additional problems such as insomnia or depression, and other factors.
Neck pain, or a stiff neck, involves discomfort and possibly soreness in the neck. Often it becomes painful to turn the head. The majority of neck pain cases are the result of muscle strain in the neck, often brought on by poor posture, awkward sleep positions or a jarring movement. More serious causes of neck pain include falls, accidents, problems in the spinal canal or vertebrae and fibromyalgia. If the neck pain does not go away after several days of reduced activity, use of over-the-counter pain relievers and applications of heat and ice, your doctor can perform an examination of the area to determine whether there is an underlying medical condition causing the discomfort.
A headache is a common symptom that involves aching or pain in one or more areas of the head or face. Over 45 million people are affected by headaches each year and many of these cases include chronic headaches that last for weeks or months with no relief.
Headaches can be associated with a wide range of conditions and causes, including coughing, sneezing, fever, arthritis, depression, or even environmental changes. There are many different types of headaches, classified by the cause, location and severity of the pain. The most common types of headaches include:
- Tension headaches - Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and are often caused by stress, anxiety and depression in middle to later aged people.
- Cluster headaches - Cluster headaches last for a period of weeks or months and then go away for a while. They often return during the same season in the following year.
- Migraines - Migraines cause throbbing pain often on one side of the head and are often so severe that they can lead to nausea, vomiting, depression and sleep disruption.
Headaches can often be treated with over-the-counter medications, although some are so severe that they require more advanced prescription drugs. Relieving stress and anxiety and other life changes can also help reduce the symptoms of headaches.
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