Tackling Chronic Back Pain: 5 Steps to Feeling Better Faster
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every five people suffers from chronic pain.
If you have daily pain and discomfort, we recommend that you see a physical therapist who can work with you to address the symptoms and causes of your pain and help you gain better function.
Did you know that approximately 80% of Americans have (or will) experience back pain? If you are one of those people, here are five of our top tips, all of which are supported by research and are relatively simple to implement. To unlock even more expert advice, contact Plumas Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment!
1. Examine your posture.
Do you slouch in your chair or hunch over your phone all the time? Are you using proper body mechanics when picking up objects, whether they’re heavy boxes, a pencil on the floor, or even your child or grandchild?
There are numerous ways we move our bodies every day that may not appear to be problematic. However, if we repeatedly subject our bodies to certain types of strain, we can develop tissue damage and chronic pain.
Consult with a physical therapist to have your posture, movement mechanics, and ergonomics evaluated. They can assist you in identifying patterns and habits that you may be unaware of but are exacerbating your pain.
2. Eat foods that help with pain relief.
According to research, avoiding highly processed foods and eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high quality protein, and healthy fats can help reduce pain.
One reason for this is that eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods ensures that our tissues receive the raw materials they require to heal and repair.
Furthermore, when we reduce or eliminate foods in our diet that promote inflammation, such as alcohol and sugar, our pain levels can naturally decrease.
Exercise can help with pain relief by increasing blood flow, stimulating the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that help with pain relief, and improving joint strength and stability.
So get moving—at least 30 minutes of exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. If you have chronic pain, consult with a physical therapist before beginning an exercise program.
Your physical therapist can offer services that will naturally relieve your pain and maximize your function, making exercise easier and safer for you.
4. Ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is critical for your body’s healing and regeneration processes. It’s also an effective way to deal with stress. For these reasons, getting enough sleep can help you feel less pain.
Is it difficult to fall or stay asleep when you’re in pain? To make it easier, try these sleeping tips:
- Sleep in a completely dark room with the temperature set to 65 to 68 degrees.
- Dim the lights and turn off all electronics at least an hour before going to bed.
- Every night, go to bed at the same time, and wake up at the same time (weekends and holidays included).
5. Perform breathing exercises.
Deep breathing is beneficial to your health because it allows you to get plenty of healing oxygen into your tissues.
Deep breathing also stimulates the part of the nervous system that helps you relax, which is an excellent way to relieve stress and pain.
The four-square breathing exercise, also known as box breathing, has been shown to help manage pain. Sit in a comfortable position and perform the following steps:
- Inhale for 4 counts through your nose.
- Hold your breath for 4 counts
- Breathe out for 4 counts through your mouth.
- Hold for 4 counts at the bottom of your exhalation, then repeat for 2 minutes.
Want to know more about back pain?
“Back pain” is an umbrella term for a wide range of conditions that cause pain in the upper or lower back. Back pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including sports injuries, poor posture, and car accidents.
A back injury is the most common cause of back pain. This can happen in one of two ways: as a result of a single, sudden trauma or as a result of a repetitive-use injury that develops gradually over time.
Because back pain is so common in the United States, there is a wealth of information available on the subject. Here are some back pain facts:
- Back pain is the leading cause of disability in people under the age of 45.
- There are an estimated 31 million people in the United States who suffer from lower back pain at any given time.
- Back pain is the second most common reason for visiting a healthcare provider in the United States, trailing only the common cold.
- Experts estimate that approximately 80% of people will experience some type of back problem during their lifetime. That equates to four out of every five people!
- Back pain accounts for 30-40% of all workplace absences.
- Approximately one-quarter of adults in the United States reported having low back pain that lasted at least one full day in the previous three months, and 7.6 percent reported at least one episode of severe acute low back pain in the previous year.
- Lifting and other exertions, such as pulling and pushing, cause more than two-thirds of all back strains.
The majority of back pain cases are mechanical, which means they are not caused by serious conditions such as infection, fracture, or cancer.
It’s time to start feeling better– contact us today!
Are you ready to make an appointment and unlock a variety of pain-relieving treatments? If so, please contact Plumas Physical Therapy right away! We are looking forward to treating you.