With the number of people who suffer from severe back pain making up 50-85% of the population, most individuals will probably experience it at some point in their lives. An episode could last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months, and once you have a bout of severe back pain, you are more vulnerable to repeat incidents. Educating yourself on ways to treat and improve back pain now could help you manage – or even avoid – severe, chronic episodes in the future.
Taking regular walks benefits your physical health in many ways, but did you know it can also help improve back pain? This light activity that virtually anyone can do develops better back health specifically in two ways:
- Strengthens your core muscles, including the muscles in your lower back (the quadratus lumborum and multifidus), which are used to maintain proper posture as your weight shifts from side to side.
- Promotes good circulation, which improves overall joint health.
If you are going to start a regular walking plan, be sure to invest in a good pair of shoes. The “right” pair of shoes is as individual as you are, so the pair you choose should be sturdy enough to support your weight and address your unique foot shape and stride (i.e. consider your arch and pronation pattern). Always consult your doctor before starting any type of exercise program if you have chronic back pain or other health issues.
It’s no secret that stress negatively effects your health. You may have noticed that you experience headaches and body soreness when under a lot of stress, but did you know that both are actually symptoms of neck or back pain? Mechanical pain is a type of spinal pain caused by abnormal strain on the muscles along the vertebral column and it affects the neck and lower back. The additional strain from stress can cause the muscles in your back and neck to tighten up sending pain signals to the brain.
Finding ways to remove or cope with stress can help reduce and improve back pain. Many people try techniques such as yoga or meditation to help alleviate daily stress, but setting aside time on a regular basis for light exercise or to do something you enjoy has proven to be just as effective. Correcting physical stressors like bad posture, poorly-designed seating and incorrect form while lifting can also help mitigate mechanical spinal pain. Small changes such as switching to an ergonomically-designed office chair or investing in guided physical training will also help you make great strides in improving back pain.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
There are several other changes you can make on your own that will help improve back pain.
- Manage your weight – carrying excess weight on your body’s frame creates strain on your back muscles (as well as your joints) and can cause or worsen back problems. If you are overweight, losing a few pounds will relieve the additional stress on your back and body. Consult your doctor before starting any weight loss program.
- Quit smoking – smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs, it also negatively affects your entire circulatory system which means your muscles and body tissue cannot get the nutrients they need to preform properly. This, too, will worsen back problems. Consult your doctor to get help quitting and seek out support locally or at https://smokefree.gov/.
- Get good sleep – the way you are sleep could be causing or contributing to your back pain. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night and sleeping on a mattress with appropriate support for your spine are essential for your body to properly rest and heal itself.
In addition to improving back pain, these changes will immensely benefit your overall health. While it may seem like a bother the implement one or all of the changes above, ask yourself if the trade-off is worth it. For example, would you rather smoke or be able to participate in group activities and hobbies that you love without experiencing pain?
Seek Proper Back Pain Management
Chronic back pain is a serious medical condition that prohibits you from living the life you desire. In addition to the steps above, seeking professional back pain management is an essential part of improving back pain for those suffering from chronic episodes. Learn more about how Microsurgical Spine Center can serve you in finding a solution to managing your back pain here.