January 31st, 2018
Do you have chronic back pain? You’re not alone. Here are some tips on how to treat back pain naturally, without the use of drugs or surgery.
Most people who experience activity-limiting back pain have recurrent episodes. Oftentimes, people will resort to medications for their back pain, however conservative therapy has been proven to be a safer and more effective alternative. This is important to consider especially with opioid addiction rates on the rise
Whether you are an office worker, supermom, elite athlete, labour worker, or just your average Joe, back pain can affect anyone and has proven to be one of the most common complaints individuals have and is a huge burden of cost on our health care system. Studies show the rate of recurrence at one year ranges from 24 to 80%. This post will review possible causes and contributing factors to low back pain and what one can do to alleviate the problem, without adding an additional burden on your health.
What causes back pain?
There are a lot of things that cause back pain. Here are a few of the most common ones:
- Poor posture
- Tight muscles
- Muscle imbalances
- Repetitive movements
- Lifting, twisting, bending
- Incorrect form when exercising
- Overtraining / exercising without sufficient stretching
- Lack of flexibility
- Sedentary lifestyle / prolonged sitting
- Poor footwear
Don’t go numb
Sometimes health care practitioners are quick to recommend medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen or even opioids for chronic pain. It’s tempting to just take a few pain pills to make the situation go away however, it is not a long-term solution. Medications may help with short-term relief, but all they are doing is masking the pain sensation and are not resolve the underlying cause of ones pain. This in turn leads to an increased probability of recurrent, chronic low back pain. In fact, it is now recommended for family physicians to refer their patients for conservative therapy for their back pain, including chiropractic and physiotherapy, before prescribing medication.
Using conservative therapy, one can eliminate the risks associated with long-term use of these medications which include gastrointestinal problems, increased blood pressure, kidney problems, and even addiction.
How to treat back pain naturally
There are many safe, effective ways to treat back pain. Here are some strategies we recommend.
Visit a chiropractor
Well, of course we’d say that! But it makes sense: chiropractic therapy is an evidence-based, non-invasive, hands-on health care discipline that focuses on the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors use their skills and knowledge in order to provide a diagnosis, treatment, and preventative care for disorders related to the spine, pelvis, nervous system and joints.
Chiropractors examine each patient individually and come up with a patient-specific treatment plan using a variety of evidence-based therapies, which have been proven to be effective for each patients condition. While it is commonly thought that chiropractors only perform spinal manipulation (otherwise known as adjustments), they actually do much more.
Chiropractors today practice using a variety of techniques including soft tissue therapies, joint mobilizations and manipulations, acupuncture, electrotherapy, laser, and rehabilitation exercises. Using all of these techniques, chiropractors are well equipped to determine the cause of your low back pain and provide you with the right tools to help with your condition.
Maintain a regular exercise
Getting regular exercise can help reduce pain by increasing flexibility, increasing strength, reducing inflammation and improving posture. A good exercise regimen doesn’t have to be high-impact. A combination of cardio and strength training methods can build up your muscles to provide lower back pain relief. Some examples of exercise programs may include the following:
- Strength training
- Aquatic therapy
- Tai Chi
Adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet
To improve overall joint and muscular health, maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is often important. Doing so will help decrease inflammation, take extra stress off of joints, and prevent back pain from recurring in the future. A healthy, healing diet includes lots of fibre and water, potassium-rich foods, Omega-3 fats and lean protein sources.
Supplements to reduce inflammation and pain
If your diet alone isn’t providing your with enough anti-inflammatory benefits, try these supplementing with: fish oil, MSM, magnesium, turmeric, proteolytic enzymes (found in pineapple), essential oils (such as peppermint and wintergreen oil), capasaicin cream (derived from hot chili peppers or cayenne).
All of the preceding information is a good blueprint to overall back health (and good health in general). Additional therapies, such as massage therapy or physiotherapy may also be beneficial – consult your doctor to discuss your individual needs.