- How To
- Physical Therapy
Back pain affects four out of five Americans at some point. Often, it can simply be a sign of getting older and your joints changing. However, it can also be caused by a herniated disk, overuse, and various other causes. Whether you experience back pain occasionally or chronically, here are 12 back pain tips.
How can I relieve my back pain?
Back pain is among the most common ailments. Unfortunately, there are almost too many treatments for it. This makes choosing the one that is right for you and your unique back pain difficult. In addition to the many causes of back pain, your back can hurt in so many different areas.
Here are 12 back pain tips:
Moving your body is often key to reducing your back pain. Especially if your back pain is chronic, working with a physical therapist or a doctor can do wonders to help with various types of backaches and ailments. Your therapist can tailor special exercises for you based on how you experience back pain.
Some of the components of your physical therapy may be:
- Correcting your posture.
- Exploring your pain threshold.
- Stretching exercises.
- Creating flexibility.
- Core strengthening.
There are specific items that can exacerbate pain, like high-inflammatory foods. These include high trans-fat foods, food with refined sugar, and other processed foods. Additionally, being overweight can trigger intensified back pain and cause your spine to fall out of line more quickly. Talk to your doctor or healthcare providers to see if your diet could use some tweaking.
Mindfulness and meditation
Pains of all kinds carry psychological stressors with them. For example, it is pretty standard that people with chronic back pain feel increased pain when stressed. Having a practice of mindfulness and meditation can help you to reduce the stress that does this.
Often, when your back is in pain, you will want to remain sedentary and not move. However, studies have shown that low-impact exercise and stretching are among the most effective ways to reduce short-term back pain and prevent future back pain. Stretching can be a helpful solution for those who struggle with extreme and chronic pain to exercise. It can also provide short-term relief.
If you experience chronic pain, your life will need to change. You should listen to your body and try to limit your activities. For example, if you usually carry the groceries into your house in one trip, you may have to start making multiple trips or ask for help.
Assess which activities aggravate your back pain and develop ways to stop those behaviors. This can help your back pain and also reduce your symptoms. Additionally, if you are a smoker, you may want to avoid smoking. Nicotine is known to interfere with your body healing itself and also accentuates pain.
There are a variety of injection-based treatments available for back pain. Sometimes if the source of pain isn’t known, they can also help to diagnose your back. Many of these injections are made to lessen or halt the pain but not completely take it away.
Some of these treatments can be:
- Nerve blocks.
- Epidural steroid injections.
- Nerve ablations.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese healing technique. In it, an acupuncturist will put sterilized needles into specific pressure points into your body. There is increasingly more and more evidence to validate this as a back treatment.
Hot and cold therapies
For up to 48 hours after the onset of back pain symptoms, engaging in hot and cold therapy can significantly reduce your symptoms. The warmth of a hot water bottle relaxes and soothes your muscles. The addition of cold treatment helps increase blood flow. However, this therapy is only helpful for a short period after you first experience the pain.
Limited bed rest can be constructive; however, be careful. If you engage in too much bed rest, your back could become stiff. However, bed rest can significantly help for short periods of time if you experience a minor back injury.
Chiropractic therapy is a type of therapy that centers around treating the bones of the body. It primarily centers around treating the spine. Chiropractors manipulate the body’s alignment and help the body repair itself. It can help with back pain, especially if your pain comes from a skeletal or musculoskeletal issue.
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and others can help take away back pain. However, you should only use these drugs under supervision from your doctor. If you take too many, it can cause severe damage.
There are many varieties of yoga to meet a wide variety of needs. Many yoga techniques strengthen your muscles and improve your posture. Yoga helps adjust how you use your back and is a long-lasting and relatively easy way to help reduce back pain.
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Johns Hopkins Medicine: "7 Ways to Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery."
Mayo Clinic: "Back pain."
Sundial Clinics: "Mindfulness and Meditation for Back Pain Relief."
Tufts Medical Center: "Tips to relieve back pain at home."