Low back pain is a very common condition that affects a large proportion of the population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and it is estimated that around 80% of people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. In North America, low back pain is one of the most common reasons for people to visit their healthcare provider, and it is also a leading cause of missed work days. The economic burden of low back pain is significant, with estimates suggesting that it costs billions of dollars each year in medical expenses, lost productivity, and other related costs.
There are many potential causes of low back pain, including injuries, degenerative conditions, and underlying health problems. Some common risk factors for low back pain include age, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and certain occupations or activities that involve heavy lifting or repetitive motion.
Low back pain can range in severity from mild to severe, and it can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Chronic low back pain, defined as low back pain that lasts for more than three months, is particularly common and can be more difficult to treat. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the cause of your low back pain and to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.
If you are suffering from chronic low back pain, here are nine strategies you can try to find relief:
1. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage chronic low back pain. It can help to strengthen the muscles in your back and improve your overall physical function. Some good exercises to try include stretching, yoga, and Pilates. It is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts as you become more comfortable and your pain improves. It is also important to listen to your body and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.
2. Use Heat and Cold Therapy
Applying heat or cold to your back can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Heat therapy can help to relax muscles, while cold therapy can numb the pain and reduce inflammation. You can try using a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm shower to apply heat to your back, or you can try using an ice pack or cold compress to apply cold. It is important to follow the recommended guidelines for the duration and frequency of these therapies to avoid any potential harm.
3. Consider Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can help to improve your strength, flexibility, and overall physical function. It can also teach you ways to manage your pain and prevent future injuries. Physical therapists can design a customized treatment plan that may include exercises, stretches, and other techniques to help reduce your pain and improve your function.
4. Get Checked by a Chiropractor
Chiropractic care involves the use of spinal adjustments and other techniques to improve joint function and reduce pain. It can be particularly effective for low back pain caused by muscle imbalances or misalignments. Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to manipulate the spine and other joints, which can help to reduce pain and improve mobility. You can get more information about the techniques we use at our clinic HERE.
5. Get a Massage
Massage can help to relax muscles and reduce pain and tension. It can also improve circulation and help to reduce inflammation. Massage therapists use a variety of techniques to manipulate the muscles and soft tissues in the back, which can help to reduce pain and improve mobility.
6. Use a Lumbar Support
A lumbar support is a device that you can use to support your lower back while sitting or standing. It can help to reduce strain on your back muscles and improve your posture. Lumbar supports come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and you can choose the one that works best for you based on your needs and preferences.
7. Try Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to help to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes and reduce pain. Some studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective for chronic low back pain, although the evidence is not yet strong enough to recommend it as a first-line treatment.
8. Use Natural Anti-Inflammatory Supplements
There are several natural supplements that may help to reduce inflammation in the body. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, as some supplements may interact with medications or have potential side effects. Here are a few examples:
- Curcumin: Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric, a spice commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
- Fish oil: Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. It may be particularly effective for reducing inflammation in the joints.
- Ginger: Ginger is a spice that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
- Boswellia: Boswellia, also known as frankincense, is a tree resin that has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties. It may be effective in reducing inflammation in the joints.
- Quercetin: Quercetin is a plant flavonoid that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. It is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including apples, onions, and berries.
9. Lastly, Consult With Your Doctor
If all else fails, talk to your doctor about medications: If other treatments are not effective, your doctor may recommend medications to help manage your pain. These may include prescription NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, or opioids. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of these medications with your doctor before starting treatment.
Overall, it is important to work with your healthcare team to find the best treatment plan for your chronic low back pain. A combination of these strategies may be most effective, and it is important to be patient and consistent with your treatment to see the best results.