Got back pain? Do you reach for opioids (morphine, Vicodin, oxycodone, and fentanyl) or the first over-the-counter medication, like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen? As a chiropractor, back pain is a common health complaint in my clinic, and knowing the best strategies can help you get back to feeling awesome again.
Now I’m sure you have heard of these before, and it’s not rocket science, but going back to the basics will help you get better results in pain-free living.
These Top 5 strategies Will Help Build A Stronger, Pain-Free Back:
- Move more and sit less – Keeping active and sitting for shorter periods of time will improve your muscle strength, coordination, and circulation. Tension and muscle imbalances are common causes of back pain. Sitting for long periods of time shortens the muscles that attach your lumbar region to your femur and pelvis, including the iliacus, psoas, and quadratus lumborum. Standing up can cause pain when these muscles are chronically short because it pulls on your lower back.
You can avoid many common pains and discomforts by bringing these muscles into better balance. Low back pain can be caused by poor posture, prolonged sitting or standing without breaks, and poor muscle strength.
It is still common for many people to work from home, sitting with their shoulders hunched over a computer screen, stretching their upper back while straining their lower back, which increases their chances of lower and upper back pain.
As the head is the single heaviest part of the body, walking with the head down can adversely affect the back and hips.
- There have been several techniques developed to treat back pain. Here are three proven performers:
Foundation training exercises aim to release your body from unhealthy movement patterns gradually. It focuses on strengthening the core and anything connected to the pelvis. This type of training teaches all those muscles to work together through integrated chains of motion, which is how the body is structurally designed to move. All the abdominal muscles, glutes, adductors (inner thigh muscles), deep lower back muscles, hip flexors, and hamstrings are considered part of the core. The spine, vertebrae, discs, and pelvis are also stabilized with strong, balanced core muscles.
As a bookworm, I have read many books on various topics. The book, Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence by Eric Goodman is an excellent book on foundational training. You can purchase it on Amazon HERE. The exercises are an excellent method to build stability and strength in your body. Remember to add 5 to 10 minutes of stretching after your workout; your body will thank you.
Egoscue exercises – a postural therapy designed to eliminate chronic pain without drugs or surgery. Some examples of these exercises are foot circles and point flexes, frog pose, static back extension, and standing forward bend.
Neurostructural integration technique (NST) – is a highly specialized non-invasive technique that stimulates your body’s reflexes. A series of simple movements are performed across muscles, nerves, and connective tissue, which promotes tension release and natural healing. These techniques are offered by an NST-trained therapist; if you google a search on these techniques, you can easily find a therapist in your region.
- Address poor posture – Try stretching your shoulders, opening your hip flexors, and lifting your chest if poor posture is the problem. Many people tend to hunch over their computers or stand while leaning on one side or the other – over time. These postures will start creating aches and pains. Identifying these instabilities in your posture with help you make the necessary changes to create a more balanced body. The best option to alleviate back pain is to maintain physical activity. This being said, when pain is severe, it may be time to slow down your activities but still maintain some movement throughout your day.
- Get a chiropractic adjustment – Getting adjusted by a chiropractor can also ease back pain in many cases. Studies show chiropractic adjustments reduce discomfort and disability more effectively than standard medical care. On average, patients reported more ease and comfort in everyday activities like walking, sleeping, or turning in bed. It is important to realize that these results are average and that only manipulation was performed on the participants. No other additional rehabilitation exercises were given to participants.
A more recent study in two military medical centers showed an improvement in low back pain with chiropractic care rather than with standard medical care. Those who received chiropractic care experienced more significant improvements in their lower back pain and less disability after six weeks.
It is also possible that manipulation impacts how your body perceives pain through either the brain or spinal cord and or decreases pain from muscle strain, inflammation, and spasm in the muscles next to your spine.
- Drink more water – Staying hydrated helps keep your spine healthy and in better movement to absorb the daily impacts on your spine during physical activities.
Drinking more water can reduce back pain. If you stay hydrated all day, you can reduce lower back pain by preventing the muscles around your spine from becoming inflamed, causing further pain and compressing your nerves. Keeping the discs full of liquid can cushion your spine through all the movements you put your body through.
To stay hydrated, drink at least eight ounces of water a day. Naturally, high-level activities may make you sweat more, and you may want to increase your water intake depending on your physical activities.
If you are experiencing back pain, schedule an appointment today to have an assessment and see how chiropractic can help. You can schedule an appointment HERE.