Eagle Eye Advice

Lakeesha J. Harris, Senior Staff Writer

It’s so good to be back after a brief hiatus of the Eagle Eye Advice column. I was looking forward to going through all of the incoming emails to our NEIU advice column. As I was preparing for this week’s column, one question caught my eye, mostly because of the level of construction work that I participated in during my Spring break. Yes, this woman put on a tool belt and went to work during her break – and don’t you dare laugh.

Question: What’s the best way to deal with backaches? – Anonymous

Answer: Dear Anonymous, I would say the best way to deal with backaches is to not have one. Though I’m not a doctor, I’m sure that many would agree when I say that people in general need to practice better lifting habits. The best preventative method is learning to stretch your muscles properly before physical activity, and to not over exert yourself. This will help maintain proper back health. If the pain is chronic, my advice to you is to visit a doctor as soon as possible.

In this day and age where visiting a doctor can be a bit costly for an underfunded college student, here are some simple solutions that you can try on your own before seeing a doctor. I can attest that these solutions helped alleviate my muscle soreness and backaches from Spring break.

Try ibuprofen, an over-the-counter pain reliever. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory drug. This means that it helps with the soreness of inflamed muscles and can reduce some swelling of joints as well. With a lot of my work requiring lifting and bending, I always stock some in my home. Note: please read the label and follow the directions carefully.

An Epsom salt bath is an amazing treat, especially when it comes in scents such as lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint. Taking a warm bath calms the nerves after a stressful day, and an Epsom salt is both affordable and can helps in soothing tense muscles.

I stopped by the dollar store the other day and noticed that they carry heat patches that can be conveniently applied to skin to deliver an immediate healing dose of warmth and fit quite nicely in a school bag or purse. This may be a solution if you can’t get to a relaxing bath right away.

Finally, don’t hesitate to do some slight stretching in the morning and evening. Only try this if the back pain is something that you can work through and movement won’t hurt you more.

However, it sounds as if this advice is a bit too late. The best advice I can give you, especially not knowing if it is upper or lower back problems that you’re having, is to visit a health professional as soon as you can. They can ascertain whether your condition is something simple and temporary like a sprain or something more long-term and complicated like a wrenched disc. Here’s to you taking good care of your body and remembering that your body will work with you as long as you take care of it. Preventative measures are always best.