In Healthy Habits, Workplace Wellness

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

Wellness Wednesday emails are designed to provide you with simple tools, information, and resources to encourage positive and healthy lifestyle choices. As a proud recipient of The Healthy Arizona Worksite Award, The Be Kind People Project is committed to the health and wellness of their employees, friends, and family.

Got a pain in the back?

We’ve all been there, we’ve all had those days. You wake up and your back feels stiff or sore after a night of rest, even though you’re a healthy adult. About 80% of adults will experience back pain at least once in their life. It’s time to straighten up, because we’ve got your back!

So, why does my back hurt?

Your back is made up of a complex structure of bones, joints, muscles, and other tissues. Major injuries, traumas, or everyday strain to any part of this structure can cause pain, tightness, and discomfort. Here are some common causes that might be contributing to your back pain:

  • Sprains and strains – Sprains result from overstretching ligaments. Strains result from tears in muscles or tendons. Activities that can lead to these include improperly lifting an object, lifting an object that is too heavy, or making an abrupt motion.
  • Structural problems – These include arthritis, osteoporosis, sciatica, damaged disks, and even kidney problems like kidney stones or infection.
  • Poor posture – Spending a lot of time in a poor posture position can lead to tightness and pain. Some examples include standing for extended periods, overstretching, long drives without a break, or sleeping on an unsupportive mattress.

I need relief!

Whether you underestimated the weight of that box, sneezed wrong, or just realized you haven’t taken a standing break during your workday, back pain is likely to affect you at some point. Over-the-counter pain medications may help relieve back pain, but here are some home remedies to help you find relief!

  • Exercise – You don’t have to do a full-blown HIIT workout to get some relief! Taking a short walk, doing some gentle stretching, or water exercise can help provide relief from back pain. Exercise may help loosen tightness in your muscles and release endorphins, which act as a natural painkiller.
  • Get hot and cold – While it’s tempting to use heat after injury, it can trigger an inflammatory response in your body and make your injury worse. It’s better to use an ice pack within the first 24-48 hours after injury, and then use a heating pad. Just make sure you don’t fall asleep with it!
  • Relief creams – Pain relief creams that contain capsaicin, the same compound found in hot peppers, can bring you relief. Additionally, creams that contain menthol can temporarily dull pain.
  • Try Arnica – Arnica is a popular homeopathic remedy that may help treat muscle pain, swelling, and bruising. There’s more research needed to prove it’s effectiveness, but there is a low risk of negative side effects.

Can I prevent back pain?

While it may not be possible to completely prevent back pain, there are some steps you can take to reduce the frequency of it. Here are some tips:

  • Exercise regularly – Exercises like yoga or tai chi can help increase balance and strength to reduce your risk of falling and injuring yourself.
  • Eat for your bones – Incorporating foods that are high in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D can help promote bone growth.Click here for more information.
  • Create a healthy space – Whether you’re working from home or slowly returning to your workspace, sitting at a desk can contribute to your back pain. Be sure to set up your workspace so it’s working with you, not against you!

Note: If you, or a loved one, are living with or experience serious or chronic back pain, please consult your doctor or medical professional first before trying any of these recommendations. They can work with you to create an individualized care plan for relief.

An eye for design!

Do you have a workplace setup that’s working for you? Feel free to share a photo or share your tips with us!

Published August 8th, 2020

By Krysta Flores, School Wellness Programs & Events Coordinator at BKPP

Questions? Comments? Want to contribute to the Wellness Wednesday Bulletin?
Send your ideas to Krysta Flores at krysta@bkpp.org.