The Best Options for Chronic Back Pain Relief
Back pain is a common occurrence, with survey data showing that as many as 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. Plus, it’s been found that experiencing one bout of back pain increases the risk of experiencing another flare up in the future. Luckily, the primary cause of back pain is most often related to mechanical issues, rather than more serious underlying issues such as fracture, cancer, or inflammatory arthritis. When dealing with back pain, the biggest concern is preventing symptoms from becoming chronic in nature. Chronic back pain, pain that lasts more than 6 weeks, can significantly affect your mental health, productivity, and quality of life.
Chronic back pain affects as many as 16 million Americans and limits their ability to participate in daily activities. Today, we will dive into treatment options for chronic back pain relief.
What Causes Chronic Back Pain?
Chronic back pain is a largely stigmatized and ambiguous subject. This is because symptoms in patients are often vague and global. Ultimately, this can result in individual’s being ignored or told their symptoms are not real. As a patient, not being taken seriously while suffering can further perpetuate their negative disposition toward their health and potential for recovery.
Back pain most often begins with a mechanical issue. This might include poor movement patterns, weak core muscles, poor spine flexibility, a fall, lifting something too heavy, poor posture, and more. In the end, acute back pain can often be attributed to a specific event. However, as pain continues, the pain mechanisms that normally protect us from further injury can become faulty. This results in a cascade of negative events that leaves a sufferer of chronic back pain feeling fearful of movement, catastrophizing their symptoms, feeling unproductive, and totally frustrated. One of the primary factors that predicts chronic pain is mental health. A history of depression or anxiety can exacerbate the symptoms experienced with chronic pain.
Underling Spine Degeneration
Lastly, chronic back pain can be aggravated by, or lead to, underlying degenerative spine issues as well. It’s important to note that being diagnosed with any of the below spine problems (via x-ray or other imaging) will not necessarily give you an accurate assessment of your symptoms. You will still benefit from all of the treatment recommendations made below. Common spine issues include, but are not limited to:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated discs
- Spinal cord or nerve root compression
Top Treatment Options for Natural Chronic Pain Relief
Dealing with chronic pain of any kind is a tough battle to fight. Thankfully, there are tons of treatment options and support available for getting natural chronic pain relief. If you suffer from chronic pain, you’ve probably wondered if it will ever end and how to relieve back pain fast.
While traditional medicine will simply prescribe medications, such as pain relievers or antidepressants, and steroid injections, these are only a temporary solution that masks the true underlying issues. Conservative treatment is best when completed under the guidance of a holistic healthcare provider, such as a chiropractor. Specifically, chiropractors certified in ChiroPractic BioPhysics (CBP) follow specific science based treatment protocols designed to restore balance to your spine and treat or prevent unnecessary suffering. The entire team at Advanced Spine and Posture in Las Vegas, NV is dedicated to helping you overcome your chronic back pain.
Below are the best treatment options that you can try on your own, or get expedited results with the guidance of a CBP provider.
Improve Your Posture
Most of us don’t put much thought into how we’re holding ourselves on a daily basis until pain develops. Yet, poor posture can put a major damper on your overall health, cause chronic pain, and lead to symptom aggravation. The most common culprit of poor posture involves the way we sit for the majority of our days at our desks for work and sitting on the couch to watch TV. With time and fatigue, it becomes easy to slip into a forward hunched position that throws the entire spine out of balance over time. If poor posture goes long enough without correction, it leads to maladaptive changes in the body, specifically the spine, that can leave you feeling sore and stiff. Other postures to pay attention to are how you sleep and stand.
Your chiropractor can give you valuable insight into your posture and help you build awareness of what you need to change. The following simple yet effective changes can start reducing strain on your back.
- Setup your desk and work space for optimal ergonomics with an adjustable chair and desk
- Take regular breaks from sitting to stand and stretch
- Use a mirror for visual feedback to practice keeping good posture
- Incorporate posture enhancing exercises into your routine- focusing on the mid-back and core
- Use pillows to keep your spine in an optimal posture during sleep
Traditional treatments may have left you believing that you need to rest when your back is hurting. While this is sometimes true with short term acute pain, chronic pain is a whole different mechanism. Instead, literature consistently supports regular exercise and movement as a way to overcome back pain. Exercise yields many benefits when it comes to chronic back pain, including improved mental health, better blood perfusion to affected areas, and better balance of the body’s muscles and neural tissues. Unfortunately, back pain can make people wary of any type of movement, leading to pain avoidance patterns that actually hurt them further in the long run. Thus, it’s important to find activities that provide the most benefit and boost your confidence in your body’s own abilities.
Chiropractors understand the unique balance that the body needs to function properly and as pain free as possible. Based on your spine alignment, movement patterns, and pain- they can recommend one or more of the following options.
- Low impact exercise such as swimming, walking, and biking
- Core strengthening to promote balance in the spine with daily movements
- Rhythmic gentle stretching to reduce stiffness and restore spine alignment
Pain Relief Modalities
Chronic pain can lead to a nasty cycle of suffering related to flare ups and avoiding normal daily activities. It can make it feel impossible to escape the pain. This is where getting some quick natural relief can help break the cycle and give you the upper hand. Ideally, you will gain a window of motivation to get started with other holistic treatment options that can help you heal.
Chiropractors typically have a handful of pain relieving modalities that they can use at their clinics when needed. If you find a particular modality to be helpful, they can usually also offer home treatment options for you to keep up with on your own as needed. Here are the options you might encounter for short term pain treatment.
- Temperature based treatments such as heat and ice
- Pain disrupting technology such as electrical stimulation
- Hands on treatment such as massage
- Promoting spine hydration and alignment with machine guided or manual traction
Adjust Your Mindset
As you may already suspect, your beliefs surrounding pain play a major role in how you cope and respond to your health issues. If you feel hopeless, stuck, and negative about the current outlook of your life (while it is normal)- it will unfortunately perpetuate the issue. Adopting a positive mindset in the face of adversity can feel like an uphill battle, but is totally doable with the right support and tools.
Chiropractors understand the delicate balance between mental health and physical health. They can recommend support groups, mental health treatment, or simply help you feel empowered and hopeful with the other treatment options we discussed above. Some of the options for changing your mindset include the following.
- Address depression or other mental health issues- talk to your therapist or doctor about your concerns
- Add healthy lifestyle habits that can significantly improve your mood- such as better diet, regular exercise, getting more sleep, and adequate stress management
- Start a mindfulness practice such as a gratitude journal or meditation
Feel in Control of Your Health
Chronic back pain can leave you feeling totally stuck and overwhelmed. Being blown off by your trusted healthcare provider or only being prescribed medications for relief can often exacerbate the underlying issue. Holistically addressing your pain is a great way to gain long term sustainable results that get you back to living your life to the fullest.
As mentioned above, the best experts for addressing back issues, such as spine misalignment, is a CBP practitioner. They can help guide you in your journey to better pain management or recovery. Ultimately, when they focus on restoring spine alignment as an initial goal, it can help restore proper nerve energy and finally give your back time to heal and reboot it’s overactive pain signals. Get in touch with the specialized team at Advanced Spine and Rehab in Las Vegas, NV to see what potential you can unlock today to relieve pain.