Anyone that has dealt with back pain knows how miserable it can be.
Whether you have chronic back pain, back spasms, recurring pain, or an injury, back pain can sideline you from work and your daily activities.
Unfortunately, back pain is pretty common, so if you aren’t dealing with it right now, you either already have or you will at some point.
Low back pain is responsible for 2.6 million visits to the E.R. every year and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Although there has been extensive research and money put into finding cures for back pain, many people still receive unnecessary treatments and drugs.
Instead of being encouraged to stay active, which has been proven to be an effective treatment, patients are often encouraged to rest and prescribed opioids for the pain.
Because of the laundry list of side effects, and the possibility for addiction, many people want to avoid opioids.
Fortunately, there are many alternative treatments for back pain, many of which can be performed in the comfort of your own home.
In the article below, we’ll discuss several of those treatments.
As we mentioned already, rest is usually viewed as the best thing to do until your pain is gone.
That’s not necessarily true.
Too much rest can actually make your pain worse while decreasing your muscle strength.
Strengthening and stretching your back muscles can actually reduce or even eliminate certain types of back pain.
It’s very important not to do anything that will further injure your back, so start with gentle stretches and experiment to see how you can get moving without pain.
Go for a walk, and pick up the pace when you can.
Before you start a routine, it’s best to consult a doctor to make sure you don’t overexert yourself.
However, if you don’t want to commit to full-on exercise, that slow walk can work wonders for you.
Speaking of gentle exercise, yoga is a great choice if you’re considering exercise.
Yoga creates balance in the body through various poses that develop flexibility and strength.
There’s also evidence that practicing yoga can directly help relieve back pain.
A study in 2011 published in Clinical Rheumatology, researchers looked at seven clinical trials that tested the effects of yoga in patients with low back pain.
Of those studies, five of them suggested that yoga leads to a significantly greater reduction in low back pain compared to usual care, education, or conventional therapeutic exercises.
If you suffer from chronic back pain, it’s important to accept your limitations and adapt to them.
Listen to your body, and don’t try to overdo anything.
Take a break during your usual housework, and make several trips getting the groceries into your house.
Ask for help if it’s needed.
Pay attention to the activities that give you the most trouble, and try to reduce them or cut them out completely.
This will help your back feel better, and it could also keep the underlying issue from getting any worse.
If you smoke, do all you can to quit.
Nicotine is known to accentuate pain and delay healing.
Once you start a treatment plan, and your pain lessens, you can start adding back in the things you had to cut out.
We just touched on this, but this one deserves its own section.
Smoking inhibits blood flow and prevents tissue throughout the body from getting oxygen and nutrients, which can cause the spine and back muscles to weaken.
The result? Chronic back pain.
If you’re ready to quit, talk to your doctor about the best ways to do so.
There are some prescription medications available, as well as nicotine gum or patches.
You can also take a smoking cessation program, which, in combination with medication, has been shown to help people quit smoking and never go back.
Meditation is an ancient mind-body practice that has been found to increase pain tolerance and promote the management of chronic pain in several small studies.
any preliminary studies have also focused specifically on the use of meditation to manage low back pain.
A study in 2008 published in Pain found that an eight-week meditation program led to an improvement of pain acceptance and physical function in patients with low back pain.
The study included 37 older adults that meditated an average of 4.3 days a week for an average of 31.6 minutes a day.
It’s not known how meditation actually helps relieve pain.
One thought is the practice’s ability to induce physical and mental relaxation may help keep chronic stress from aggravating chronic pain conditions.
Chiropractors use chiropractic spinal manipulation to restore joint mobility.
They manually apply, using their hands or tools, a controlled force to joints that have become restricted by muscle injury, strain, inflammation, and pain.
Manipulation has shown to relieve pain and muscle tightness and encourage healing.
Chiropractic care involving spinal manipulation has also shown to reduce symptoms and improve function in patients with chronic low back pain, acute low back pain, and subacute low back pain.
In their analysis of 887 documents, the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, the review’s authors found that combining chiropractic care with exercise is likely to speed and improve outcomes.
It can also protect against future episodes of back pain.
If you’d like to visit a chiropractor, contact the team at Advanced Injury Care.
They’ll place you with a chiropractor that will design a treatment plan tailored to your needs to help you overcome your pain.
Your chiropractor will also advise you on the other alternative treatments that we discussed above.
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