Your first step should be to seek out professional help. Whether you see your PCP, a Physical Therapist, an Orthopedic Physician, or a Chiropractic Physician, start by finding a professional trained to diagnose and treat back pain. There are a multitude of factors that can cause back pain, and getting the proper diagnosis is the best place to start. If you are looking for a non-invasive non-pharmacologic option, Chiropractic has shown in many studies to be statistically the best choice.
“Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians. Satisfaction scores were higher for chiropractic patients. A higher proportion of chiropractic patients (56 percent vs. 13 percent) reported that their low-back pain was better or much better, whereas nearly one-third of medical patients reported their low-back pain was worse or much worse.”
Nyiendo et al (2000), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
Keep moving. Many PCP’s and Orthopedic Physicians recommend bed rest, but this can often make things worse. We say every day to our patients, “Life is motion”. We are designed to move each and every day. Many of our patients tell us the prolonged sitting or standing they do is often their biggest contributor to their chronic back pain. Let pain be your guide, any movement or motion that does not make your condition worse will usually help it get better sooner. We find many times the cuase of the back pain are fixated vertebrae- that is they are not moving properly. These “fixations” can be caused by a multitude of factors, i.e. physical or emotional stress, some sort of trauma, poor posture, or even a poor diet can contribute to these vertebral “fixations”, which we refer to as “subluxations”. Chiropractors are the only specialists that are trained specifically to locate and correct these vertebral subluxations.
If your chronic pain is related to emotional or work-related stress, try some relaxation techniques to help reduce muscle tension. If your job or lifestyle requires lots of physical stress, make sure to use good posture and be sure to take stretch breaks often.
Exercise regularly- this helps in many ways: gets your spine moving; reduces stress; increases blood flow; and helps strengthen the muscles that support your spine. What exercises are best for your back? Well that may be different for each of us, but first find something you can currently do without pain, and make sure it is something you enjoy as you will be much more likely to stick with it. My people find Yoga and/or swimming to help their chronic back pain, but as I mentioned earlier find what works best for you. Make sure to warm up properly: including some foam rolling, then be sure to maintain good posture throughout your exercise, and be sure to stretch when you are done.
Get enough rest. Make sure you have a good mattress to sleep on, and beware of your sleeping “posture” as well. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as that can cause the neck and head to twist and put stress on your spine. If you sleep on your back consider putting a pillow under your knees, and if you sleep on your side consider putting a pillow between your knees.
These are just a few more “tips” to help you improve your back pain. If you have any questions about this Blog or about your health in general, please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com