Some of you will know that a few year’s ago I had an accident at work, where I tore a back muscle and dislocated my pelvis. In a way I was lucky as it healed itself with just a few paracetamol and some light physio. However, when I don’t get a massage at least once a month or two I do still get some chronic back pain.
Back pain a complex yet common condition that affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. Most commonly felt in the lumbar or lower back area, the causes could be anything from bad posture to a slipped disc. The pain is considered ‘chronic’ when it has been going on for three months or more, despite how painful it is. So if you have had back issues for a while, even if they only cause you mild discomfort, you have been suffering from chronic back pain. Here are some of the ways you can go about easing it and coping with the symptoms.
See a Doctor
Seeing a doctor should be your first port of call. They will help you to identify the cause, which will help you to know the best way to treat it. Since problems and cancers with the kidneys, pancreas, and even bladder can be felt as back pain, it’s important to have it checked out. In many cases the doctor won’t be able to find an exact cause (this is known as non-specific back pain). But first, it’s essential to rule out that it’s nothing that is immediately worrying with your health. A doctor may be able to prescribe you medication to help with your pain. Although in many cases, over the counter medication such as Ibuprofen and paracetamol are recommended. These can help to reduce inflammation, and block the pain signals so you can go about your daily life.
For most cases of back pain, bed rest is not recommended. The best thing to do is to stay active, doing light and gentle exercises such as walking and swimming. Not only will this help with the recovery of many types of back issues, but it will also help to strengthen your back too. This means you’re less likely to suffer from further injuries caused by a weak back. There are lots of different exercises online designed for strengthening the back muscles, so find what works for you and incorporate them into your routine. Strengthening your stomach muscles can also help. These tend to weaken with age unless you specifically exercise them, which can be a problem since your core provides additional support for your back.
Change Your Mattress
A good, supportive mattress is essential for everyone. But it is particularly important when you already have existing back issues. An old, sagging or springy mattress wont support you properly. This can cause painful pressure points at different areas of your body. Most notably at your hips, shoulders and lumbar area which can all cause back pain. Anything that is either too firm or too soft is an issue. You could either invest in a new mattress completely or consider things like memory foam mattress toppers which can make an existing mattress more comfortable.
Address Your Posture
Even if your back pain isn’t caused from bad posture, a bad posture will certainly make matters worse. Be mindful of the way you stand and walk ensuring that you’re not hunching over. When you sit down, keep a straight back and if you work for long periods at a desk make sure you’re using a chair with proper neck and lumbar support. The addition of a lumbar cushion when sitting at work or driving can also be helpful. Even hunching over texting and leaning on one leg can all cause problems for your back. And so break these bad habits wherever you can, for the sake of your back’s health.
Explore Different Therapies
There are some different treatments and therapies available that can help to ease a painful back. These include both traditional treatment such as massage, adjustments from a chiropractor. You could also consider alternative therapies such as acupuncture, and aromatherapy. These can help with inflammation and have been shown to yield great results in many sufferers. These can help with the physical symptoms. You could also try cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling or seeking support from a pain specialist clinic. These can all help you deal with the pain and help you to cope mentally and emotionally. These therapies are especially helpful if you are struggling to manage your pain and don’t want to keep upping your dose of painkillers. Meditation has also been shown to be a powerful way to cope with many types of pain. It allows you to relax, focus and take control. It’s something you can do for yourself, is completely free and requires no special equipment.
Have you ever suffered with chronic back pain? What did you do to help alleviate the symptoms?