If you’ve been struggling with back pain, you’re one of nearly 65 million Americans that suffer from this condition. Whether you’ve been injured in an accident, have an underlying condition, or years of physical labor have taken a toll on your back, there are a variety of helpful tips for easing back pain without surgery.
Talk to Your Doctor
First and foremost, if you’ve been suffering with chronic back pain, talk with your doctor to discuss possible treatment options. While some cases of back pain can be mild, back pain that interferes with daily activities may require more in depth medical treatment.
It’s important to always discuss possible negative effects of at-home treatment, possible outcomes, and options with your doctor first before attempting to manage your back pain on your own.
Don’t Wait for Treatment
It’s important to seek medical treatment when experiencing back pain, especially in cases of acute injury like a car accident or other personal injury incident.
“Without proper treatment, the effects of any auto accident, workplace accident, or personal accident can continue to get worse over time,” says a Plantation car accident doctor at County Line Chiropractic Medical and Rehab Centers.
Delaying proper treatment can result in permanent damage to the spine, nerves, tendons, or muscles and make recovery a longer and more costly process.
One of the best ways to reduce chronic back pain is to incorporate movement into your day. Low impact exercises like yoga, swimming, stationary bicycling, and brisk walking have been shown to improve cases of mild back pain.
No matter which exercise is right for you, it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise regimen and always make sure to stretch before and after working out to prevent further injury.
Incorporate Holistic Methods
There are a variety of holistic healing methods available for back pain including acupuncture, massage, supplements, and back support devices. One article published by Harvard Medical School noted the positive effects of therapeutic massage on chronic back pain, stating that when incorporated as adjunctive therapy, “Massage can reduce pain and speed the return to normal activities.”
Although getting routine massages can become quite expensive, patients are encouraged to check with their insurance companies to help with payment. Most insurance companies will cover some or all of the cost for patients with a firm diagnosis and recommendation from their physician.
Change Your Diet
As the world continues to shift away from diet culture and into one that promotes healthy, intuitive eating it’s important to remember that there are no “good foods or bad foods,” but certain foods can lead to increased inflammation in the body, especially for people with food sensitivities, autoimmune disorders, or gastrointestinal issues.
Reducing or eliminating intake of foods that cause inflammation like sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol and incorporating anti-inflammatory ones like leafy greens, salmon, and nuts. Additionally, intermittent fasting and the use of probiotics have been shown to decrease inflammation throughout the body.
Make Time to Stretch
Although stretching before and after physical activity is vitally important to reduce the risk of injury, making time just to stretch throughout the day can help keep muscles flexible, strong, and healthy to help alleviate pain and prevent injury.
Improving flexibility takes time, but taking just 5-10 minutes out of your day to stretch can make a huge difference when it comes to quality of life.
However, it’s important to follow proper techniques when stretching which includes holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds, not bouncing or moving while holding a stretch, and stopping if you feel any intense or sharp pain.
We already know that smoking is associated with increased risk for developing conditions like heart disease, lung cancer, and high blood pressure, but nicotine use has been linked to increased pain and delayed wound healing in adults.
While the short-term effects of nicotine may seem to improve pain felt by smokers, smokers are actually three times more likely to suffer from chronic low back pain. Quitting smoking can make a huge difference in reducing chronic back pain.
Try Out Some Helpful Equipment
Because the number of Americans suffering from chronic back pain is at a record high, there are always new tools and equipment becoming available as back pain sufferers continue to search for more help to ease their symptoms.
Investing in equipment like raised back stretchers, inversion tables, back support braces for office chairs, spinal traction devices, and acupressure mats may help relieve symptoms caused by mild to moderate back pain.
When using this equipment, it’s important to check with your healthcare provider to choose the best option for you and your treatment plan.