Women are the traditional backbone of the Indian family and society matriarchs who carry the weight of their families as well of their own work.
From a corporate manager balancing life and work in a high-rise in Metro cities to a simple homemaker looking after the varied needs of her kids and husband in smaller towns, women are the foundation on which modern India is being built.
But what happens when this very support is crippled by spasms of lower back ache? This seemingly mundane problem is often ignored till the pain paralyses day to day life and is also most common among women past the age of 25.
A little knowledge and exercise can go a long way in living better with back pain
Lower back pain is associated with sharp aches, soreness, numbness and a lasting discomfort between the middle of the spine and the tip of backbone ending between the hips.This pain can manifest in two main ways-
• a slow, throbbing ache that is present almost continuously and
• a sharp pain that arises from time to time.
• At times the problem may also include a tingling sensation or pain travelling down the legs.
But first,what’s causing back pain ?
The most common reasons for lower back pain in women involve a combination of bad posture and stress. But a majority of them falling in the age group between 25 and 40 complain of lower backaches in their early stages due to pregnancy. With weight gain and hormonal changes, the postpartum back pain is common in caesarean births where spinal anaesthesia poses a risk for back pain.’
1. Even late pregnancies where women conceive late due to family or work reasons can be one of the causes for lower backaches. Often overlooked by women is the posture in which they work and sleep. Some even ignore the strain caused because of carrying kids in lap, lifting heavy things, continuous household work. However, long hours of inactivity or sitting could inevitably lead to back issues.
2. While others could face it at a later stage after crossing 41 because of approaching menopause and osteoporosis (weakening of bones) can compound the problem further. Osteoporosis weakens the spine and makes it vulnerable to minor accidents resulting in a fracture. Both of these can build up silently and be very hard to avoid in the demanding everyday routine of Indian women.
3. Another major reason or genesis of most back problems is the mattress.With ⅓ of our life spent on a mattress, an unsuitable mattress can worsen back pain. A soft bed that sinks does not provide firm support resulting in back pain in the morning. Old mattresses made traditionally with cotton and cloth become lumpy very soon and can trigger soreness and pain.
4. Recent studies indicate the importance of Vitamin D in keeping our bones healthy. As women tend to do both office and house work indoors, a deficiency of Vitamin D is becoming increasingly common, leading to weaker bones and lower backaches. The diet followed by Indian women also contributes to back pain. Prolonged gastrointestinal issues and high sugar content in meals will both lead to inflammation and trigger extreme back ache.
The lower back ache is easily diagnosed with the help of X-ray and MRI scan which can help in pinpointing the actual reason behind the pain.
The lower back ache is both a disease and a symptom. It leads to a very uncomfortable lifestyle and further discourages from exercising, thereby increasing the problem even more. It also leads to abnormal weight gain and increased stress. A more serious result is sciatica, where the spinal curve is distorted, making the bones crush the delicate spinal nerve. This can lead to the shooting pains in legs and hips and is very common in pregnant women.
Reducing back pain and getting rid of it
Fortunately, lower back issues have been identified as being easily treatable and avoidable with few simple steps.Being a mattress brand, let us first clarify how a mattress can help.
Firstly check whether you mattress needs a replacement. A mattress that is over 8-10 years old, a clumpy cotton bed or a mattress sagging in the mid region are clear indications to consider a change.
Firm mattress is your best defence against backache. A combination of natural coir and foam is a low cost and effective option. You can also invest in a mid-tier ergonomic mattress with medically tested lumbar support. Modern mattresses with memory foam that can adjust according to your individual body and unique sleep style are the most popular. To know how to select a mattress, watch this video:
Another important tip – rotate your mattress every 3 months to ensure an even surface.
As with most health problems, a lot can be treated trough simple dietary changes. Monitor your intake of carbohydrates and sugar. Ensure that gastrointestinal pains and that gassy, bloated feeling so common after a masala rich, heavy Indian meal is avoided as routine. Obesity must be avoided as it will exponentially increase any existing back ache.
When sitting people tend to slouch. Make sure your backbone is erect while seated. When standing people tend to shift all the weight on one leg. Need to balance the weight equally on both legs.
Get off your backside to improve your back! A healthy exercise routine followed regularly will be your best friend when dealing with a chronic backache. The exercise schedule should include yoga that allows a holistic healing process. Yoga experts like Baba Ramdev emphasis on stretching exercise to keep your muscles relax. You should also focus on training your body’s core (abdomen and lower back muscles) which reduces the stress put on your backbone. Open air gyms in Chennai and Bengaluru have been a huge hit with young and old. And an added advantage is that you get some sun along the way.
Home Remedies for urgent relief
These steps will take some time to bear fruit. For managing the spasms of back ache that will attack in the meanwhile, an over-the-counter painkiller may not be the very best option. The body slowly develops resistance to these medicines and their prolonged use leads to an unwanted build up inside the body, leading to more medical problems in the future. Instead of painkillers, you can turn to traditional wisdom for pain alleviation.
- Heat and Cold Therapy
Cold compress numbs your nerve ends and reduces transmission of pain signals, thereby giving immediate relief from backache. A hot compress thereafter allows for greater blood flow to the affected area and also relaxes tense muscles.
- Eucalyptus Oil
Use a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a bucket of lukewarm or slightly hot water for your daily bath. It is a natural remedy for stress and body pain.
- Traditional Remedies
Mix camphor in coconut oil and boil it for 5 minutes. Cool it and store it in a bottle. Massage this solution on your sore back muscles twice in a week before going to bed and leave it overnight to get rid of a backache.
- Heat Pads
Use electronic or water filled heat pads for soreness or pain. Do not use a medical support for lower back without explicit instructions from your physician.
Life with back pain can become much more manageable and easy with above simple steps. Healthy eating, living and exercising will allow a more fulfilling life with fewer visits to the doctor and even lesser mornings with a sore, painful back.
Restolex wishes every Indian Women a very Healthy and Back Pain Free Life!
Restolex: Cradling Dreams since 1981
Always consult a doctor for treating back pain. Tips and suggestions in this article are collated from research and are to be considered for use at your own risk. Restolex is not liable to any individual or organisation for the ideas presented in this article