September is Pain Awareness Month, and if you’re one of the 26 million American adults who live with chronic back pain, you know firsthand the impact it can have on your quality of life. Of course, the first step in managing pain is seeing your doctor for an evaluation to determine the source. But once you understand the underlying cause, there are other things you can do to help manage your pain and cope with your condition. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Yoga: Yoga’s gentle stretching strengthens lower back and core muscles so you feel less pain over time. As an added bonus, the mindful breathing encouraged throughout yoga movements helps you feel calmer and more focused.
- Meditation: Meditation helps decrease stress, which can manifest in physical ways like back or neck pain, by working towards achieving deep focus. But unlike yoga, meditation can be done anywhereand with no physical strain on the body.
- Counseling: Both group and individual therapy are good options for learning powerful coping techniques that can help you learn how to manage your pain while avoiding other symptoms like depression and anxiety that often go hand-in-hand with chronic pain.
- Support groups: Support groups put you in touch with other people who are experiencing the same symptoms and issues so you feel less isolated. You can find support groups at area hospitals or medical centers and even online. The back pain forum at WebMD is a good place to start.
- Behavior modification: Simple changes in your daily routine can have a big impact on your ability to cope with chronic pain. Exercising regularly (after getting your doctor’s OK) releases natural “feel good” chemicals that can help boost your mood; controlled deep breathing and imagery are easy-to-learn techniques that can help you divert your brain’s focus so pain is less intense.
And of course, if chronic pain becomes overwhelming, be sure to speak with your doctor about other treatment options. To schedule an evaluation for your chronic back pain, call us today at (800) 890-1964.