Last Updated on November 10, 2021
Have you ever had low back pain? If so, you are not alone. According to research, up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. And that may surprise you, but it is often the second most common reason for a visit to the doctor.
Back pain can vary, but low back pain is extremely common. It can be chronic, come and go, or be acute following an injury or poor movement. I have experienced it myself and I have treated more patients than I can count for back pain. Trying to spend the day with back pain is not fun, but thankfully it can be manageable.
What can you do to get relief? For most people, it’s a bit of trial and error requiring a multifaceted approach rather than traditional medicine. The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do that don’t involve surgery or prescriptions.
So, let’s clarify some of the lower back pain treatment options that you have.
Exercise and Stretching:
Specific, but non-strenuous exercise, can have major benefits in reducing back pain and for injury rehab. For some people, strengthening their cardiac system through aerobic exercise will help create better support for their spine. For others, various stretching and strengthening exercises help increase control of weak muscles, strengthen nervous system pathways, and reduce intensity of pain. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis before starting certain exercises, as some may be counterproductive for your back pain.
We often hear about endorphins, but how well do you understand them? Endorphins are hormones that occur naturally in the body. They can be powerful, almost like a natural pain reliever. Endorphins help block the pathway of pain signals in your brain, but can also ease anxiety, stress, and depression — all which can make pain worse.
There are many ways to get these “good” hormones released. Some include chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation/mindfulness, aerobic exercise, weightlifting, making music, eating dark chocolate, and even enjoying your favorite food (in moderation). Therefore, consider the lifestyle changes that incorporate more of these activities so that your endorphins can start to flow.
A good night’s sleep and adequate rest, especially during a flare-up, are essential for relieving back pain. Many people with chronic pain also suffer from insomnia, and it can be difficult to break the cycle of pain and lack of sleep. If pain is preventing you from getting essential rest, ask your healthcare provider for tips on positions to sleep in, supplements to aid sleep, and other strategies to help promote a restful sleep.
Studies show that chiropractic treatment involving manipulation of the spine is effective for lower back pain, neck pain and more. Not only can manipulation, or adjustments, provide relief during a flare-up, but maintenance adjustments after the pain subsides can be a powerful tool in preventing the pain from recurring.
There are a variety of Chiropractic adjustments
- Vertebral manipulation is a safe and quick push to the joints that immediately reduces nervous irritability and restores range of motion in the back or area adjusted.
- Mobilization is performed at a low speed with repetitive stretching of muscles and joints to increase the range of motion in these areas.
- Instrument assisted adjustments: chiropractors use a spring-loaded tool to provide low amplitude, gentle adjustment for sensitive areas, areas of immense pain or for patients which traditional chiropractic adjustments aren’t recommended.
Massage and Acupuncture:
In addition to chiropractic adjustments, massage and acupuncture can provide a comprehensive treatment plan that will help manage irritation in muscles, improve blood flow and reduce inflammation.
People with acute and severe low back pain may find themselves considering prescription muscle relaxants, pain relievers or anti-inflammatories. None of these are recommended for long-term chronic pain, as they come with deadly side-effects with prolonged use.
Beyond overuse and addiction, pain-numbing prescription drugs can also convince a patient that their condition has recovered or is less severe than it actually is. This misunderstanding can lead to excessive effort, delay in the healing process, or even permanent injury. So be very careful, especially with narcotics.
When used correctly, certain prescriptions can reduce pain enough to make exercise, chiropractic manipulation, or other effective treatment. However, the goal is to avoid them completely when possible.
Wrapping it up:
We treat so many patients for lower back pain. Most require a variety of therapeutic approaches mentioned to relieve pain. Chiropractic adjustments certainly help — and as mentioned earlier, continued manipulation after the pain has disappeared, as well as preventive approaches, can keep this pain at bay. The first step to being pain free is having a proper, thorough examination; if you find yourself with back pain, call our clinic and we’ll be happy to help you get started.