Back pain is a leading reason for many people to miss work or visit the doctor. Before you begin treating your back pain, it’s important to know if your symptoms are acute or chronic. Acute back pain lasts less than four weeks, while chronic back pain can last beyond 12 months. Learn how to manage your chronic back pain at home with a few simple changes to your daily habits.
Making small changes can make a world of difference in maintaining the health of your back. These habits can relieve pressure, reduce strain, protect your spine and strengthen your muscles for short-term relief and long-term healing. Here are nine of our top recommendations to get relief from chronic back pain.
Your musculoskeletal system functions best when your bones and muscles are properly aligned. If you have poor posture, it can put stress on other body parts and cause strained muscles and other back pain.
The best way to turn good posture into a habit is to be mindful of your body position and make changes when needed. One way to be more mindful is by practicing mental imagery, such as picturing a straight line going through your body from the ceiling to the floor. Then imagine a cord attached to your head pulling you toward the ceiling.
When our bodies are not adequately hydrated, any fluid we intake goes to the brain first and then travels to our joints. Not drinking enough water can cause the discs between the vertebra to become dry, leading to back pain. Drinking water or eating hydrating food such as vegetables help to lubricate joints and provide cushioning for the vertebra.
There are various methods you can use to keep your hydration levels up for chronic back pain relief. Drink a glass of water before each meal, download a water tracking app or use a water bottle with an infuser to allow you to add fruits and vegetables to your water for added flavor.
Standing, sitting or lying down in the same position for long periods can increase your back pain. Whether you’re working, riding in a car or watching a movie or sports game, standing up and stretching or walking around a few times can relieve chronic back pain.
Some simple stretches you can perform to reduce chronic back pain after sitting or lying in the same position include pulling your knee to your chest and touching your toes while standing or sitting down. Moving your body will help improve your blood flow to your back and can reduce any strains or pains you may be feeling.
Your back relies heavily on your core muscles to properly support your weight and allow you a full range of motion. Setting aside a few days each week to strengthen your core muscles will allow your back to continue supporting your body and help prevent chronic back pain.
As you perform your core exercises such as planks, it’s vital to avoid increasing your back pain. Twisting movements or incorrectly performing an exercise can tweak your back and cause discomfort. The best way to keep your back safe is by listening to your body and immediately stopping if you experience any pain.
Many foods can increase inflammation in your body, which is a major cause of back pain. Eating anti-inflammatory foods such as plants can help reduce your pain levels while giving your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. You can also keep your spine strong by eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Smoking is a serious health risk for your entire body. Those who smoke are more likely to have back pain than those who do not smoke because nicotine can restrict blood flow to the discs in your spine. This lack of blood flow can cause the discs to dry or crack. Smoking also causes a reduction of oxygen in the blood, which prevents muscles and tendons in your back from receiving the nourishment they need and puts you at a higher risk for strains.
The shoes you wear can play a major role in the alignment of your legs, knees and hips, which affects how much stress your body places on your back. If you frequently wear high heels, shoes without arch support or shoes with poor cushioning, your body may put more stress on your back with each step.
Wearing supportive shoes is especially important when you are performing athletic activities. Look for shoes that fit your arches well and provide the proper amount of cushioning to support you during the activity of your choice.
Relieving your stress may help you experience less back pain. Stress can affect your back by causing tension in your muscles or affecting your brain chemistry. When you feel stressed, your brain can’t filter pain signals as effectively, which may increase your back pain. Relieve your stress by exercising and stretching, getting the proper amount of sleep and finding leisure activities you enjoy.
If you have chronic back pain, it may be hard for you to sleep peacefully throughout the night. Factors such as your sleeping posture and mattress may worsen your back pain over time. One of the best ways to improve your sleep and relieve back pain is by choosing a supportive mattress and pillow and creating a good sleeping posture so that your spine is in a natural or neutral position.
Another option for those who sleep on their back is to elevate the legs while sleeping to relieve pressure. If elevating your legs is uncomfortable, you also have the option to place a pillow in between your legs.
Desert Institute for Spine Care is a leader in providing solutions for all your chronic back pain needs. We provide the highest level of patient care through our personalized diagnosis to create a custom treatment plan for your needs. We also offer spine treatments and minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery to provide effective chronic lower back pain relief. Our innovative treatments and team of experts will provide state-of-the-art and compassionate care to each of our patients.
To learn more about our spinal procedures or to meet with one of our physicians, please schedule an appointment online with us today!