Ways To Cope With Pain
Some or all of the pain relief methods above may ease your discomfort. However, chronic back pain sufferers also need to develop strategies for coping with the pain they inevitably experience from time to time. The following procedures can help you to conquer some of the psychological aspects of pain:
Appreciate The Small Things
Living with daily pain can cloud our ability to enjoy things, but theres so much out there to enjoy.
Mindfulness is a technique that helps you to use your senses individually and focus on the smallest of things, from smells to textures. It can help you to appreciate the little pleasures in life and to forget about the pain you are feeling.
Try breathing deeply and isolating all that you can smell around you, or listen to your surroundings and try to pick out separate sounds. The change in concentration can provide temporary relief and remind you of the everyday wonders.
Track Your Pain Level And Activities Every Day
To effectively treat your pain, your doctor needs to know how you’ve been feeling between visits. Keeping a log or journal of your daily “pain score” will help you track your pain. At the end of each day, note your pain level on the 1 to 10 pain scale. Also, note what activities you did that day. Take this log book to every doctor visit — to give your doctor a good understanding of how you’re living with chronic pain and your physical functioning level.
You May Like: What To Do For Bad Back Pain
But Its Not Simply Mind Over Matter
So while its clear that low back pain can be in your head, that doesnt mean that you have to trivialize it. In this day and age, mind over matter makes little sense. Mind includes matter, especially when you consider that the physical matter of the brain plays a major role in mindset changes. This is especially true when it comes to the brain-based changes related to low back pain. To that extent, changing your mindset and brain biology can help your brain and lessen your pain.
Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
The symptoms of lower back pain can vary from person to person. It may come on suddenly, perhaps after youve lifted something heavy or moved in a way thats hurt your back. Or it may come on gradually over time or for no apparent reason. The pain can be mild or severe. Some people also have pain in the buttock or down one leg, sometimes as far as the calf or the toes. This is called sciatica.
Most people with back pain symptoms have whats called non-specific back pain. This means theres no clear or specific cause . It means that often tests cant really help because no specific damage to the spine or muscles around it would show up on them. This might sound unsettling, but it means that theres no serious cause for the pain.
Also Check: How To Cure Chronic Lower Back Pain
Customize Your Chair And Desk
Dr. Scott Donkin, founder of Occupational Health and Wellness Solutions consults workplaces on safety, ergonomic, and health issues and states that the act of leaning forward in your chair crushes the disks in your lower back and puts strain on your neck and shoulders. San Francisco State Universitys Dr. Erik Peper recommends these tips to help yourself protect your back while you work.
1.) Support the natural curve of your spine. Office chairs should have lumbar support, a natural forward curve at belly button level. You can also put a pillow or rolled up towel behind your back to achieve this effect.
2.) Adjust the height of your chair so you can keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. You can also rest your feet on a prop, like a footrest or even a phone book, for extra support.
3.) Remove or lower the armrests so your arms are at a 90-degree angle. This will encourage you to hold your shoulders low, which your upper back will appreciate.
4.) Keep your monitor about an arms length away and at or slightly below eye level. This will encourage you to sit back, instead of leaning forward and straining your neck. If you find yourself squinting at your monitor, adjust the lighting to reduce strain on the eyes.
Maintain Correct Posture When Sitting
You can avoid lower back pain by maintaining proper posture when sitting. If you have a desk job, keep your feet planted on the floor and use a chair that provides lower back support. Also, avoid hunching forward to see your computer screen and reaching far in front of you to use your mouse or keyboard.
Also Check: How To Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain In Lower Back
How To Cope With Your Back Pain
TIP! Back pain issues can be caused by or resolved by your mattress. Mattresses that are medium-firm are the best for your back.
Many people worldwide experience back pain at some point. Everyday activities become much harder with back discomfort, which is not sometimes easily treatable. However, there are numerous ways in which you can effectively manage your back pain. The following information will give some great tips for how you can reduce your back discomfort and make it much easier to live with.
TIP! A great remedy for back pain is relaxation, and simple techniques, such as practicing deep breathing, can reduce your back pain and other symptoms. Work on certain breathing techniques if you have back pain.
People who have back issues should exercise often. People that suffer from back pain often think that exercise can make their back discomfort more unbearable, but it helps! When the muscles in the back get stretched out, it can help soothe the pain for a lot of people.
TIP! A good fitness regimen could help you prevent back pains. For instance, yogas great flexibility can prevent some unnecessary muscle strains.
Trading in you ultra soft, pillow top mattress for a firm mattress with added support can reduce back discomfort. Mattresses can be pricey, but thankfully some manufacturers allow you to test a mattress out for a month, as long as the mattress is protected.
TIP! Anyone who has back pain should try yoga. It can be a very therapeutic exercise.
Identify Your Triggers That Increase Pain
Did you know that stress can lead to more pain sensations in the body? It is important to identify your stress triggers so that your pain level does not increase. Start by observing your thoughts, feelings, and reactions whenever you experience more pain in your body. Is the situation too stressful? Do you think you can handle it better? What would you do differently if given the chance? Being aware of your triggers is the first step in helping you eliminate or eradicate them completely. You can even think of keeping a diary for your anxiety or stress triggers to see how it affects your pain. This can be used as a beneficial monitoring tool to help track your progress.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does Epidural Back Pain Last
Find Ways To Get Better Sleep
Often, chronic pain and insomnia go hand-in-hand. Getting enough sleep can help reduce your pain sensitivity, so its vital to find ways to improve your sleep. For example, exercising during the day can lead to better sleep. Additionally, limiting how much alcohol you drink can help you sleep better. Excess drinking can lead to restless sleep and render sleep less restorative. If you want to reduce your back pain, you may want to drink less alcohol.
Optimize Your Phone Calls
Many people tuck their phone between their head and shoulder to free up their hands while talking, causing strain to their neck and shoulders. Try the following alternatives to avoid tucking your phone during your conversations.
1.) Use a headset or speakerphone if your conversation lasts more than five minutes or you need to take notes during the call.
2.) Hold the phone in your hand and switch between your right and left sides throughout the conversation.
Don’t Miss: What’s The Best Treatment For Lower Back Pain
/ One Simple Daily Trick
I am going to say Handbag, I recently read an article about the average weight of a woman s handbag is often over 3kg . To put into some kind of perspective, that is three bags of sugar or an average weight of a Yorkshire Terrier Dog. Now imagine if this bag or Dog is held on your arm whilst you shop, commute, or tote around all and every day. It will and does have a profound effect on posture and general back health.
Simple daily trick is to frequently empty your bag of any unnecessary and hoarded bag fillers. A better weight will be keeping below 2kg . In addition, it is suggested by Chiropractors that it is better to carry the bag on your shoulder, or better still across your body.
/ Which Is The Best Mattress For Chronic Back Pain
This topic is worthy of an article all of its own together with product reviews. I will review Best Mattress from reliable and trusted sources at a later date. For now, I will simply include the Best Mattress for Chronic Back Pain as suggested by Chiropractors .
Memory Foam, Latex or Pocket Sprung?
The general consensus from Chiropractors is Memory Foam, this because they dont sag. Latex offers equal support and it would seem that firm is better than soft and is a reliable support for you and your back. In addition, both Latex and Memory Foam are also good for sufferers of Sciatica and Hip Pain.
If you are not 100% convinced about the Memory Foam mattress as a support, then I suggest you consider a Hybrid this is partial Pcket Sprung and partial Memory Foam, or Partial memory foam and partial latex.
Many offer a 30 90 day review of the mattress which means you have nothing to lose.
Also Check: How To Self Treat Lower Back Pain
Good Tips On How To Cope With Back Pain
Muscles injuries or strains are the main causes for back pains. Your back can get hurt in a lot of ways from muscle strain or ligament damages. This article is a great resource to treat your back pains. Although your back pain can be a source of much of your frustration, it is a treatable condition that does not need to take over your life.
If you experience chronic back pain, make sure that you walk as often as you can. If you do this it can be good for your back.
Coffee can help you reduce back pain, surprisingly. This is great news for coffee lovers, and medical studies show that caffeine found in coffee blocks a body chemical known as adenosine. This chemical makes your back stiff, so by drinking the coffee, you are helping your back muscles stretch and, in turn, preventing pain.
Make sure you breast feed in a chair and not on the couch or in a bed. Breastfeeding on a sofa promotes poor posture that can evolve into back pain over time. A comfortable cushion should also be placed behind your back for extra support while nursing.
Drink a half gallon of water a day. A good diet can help ease back pain. It can help you lose weight and reduce strain on your back, as well as provide your spine and back muscles with the nutrients they need to remain healthy.
What Are The Common Causes Of Chronic Back Pain
First, its essential to understand why youre dealing with chronic back pain. It can stem from many different causes and several factors may contribute to the problem. Some common causes of chronic back pain include:
- Poor posture: Sitting with poor posture each day can lead to chronic back pain.
- Injuries: An injury can cause exertion or strain on the back.
- Mental health: Specific mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can cause or worsen back pain.
- Osteoporosis: Spinal bones weakened by osteoporosis can contribute to pain, as well.
A wide range of other conditions can cause or contribute to back pain, so its important to meet with a health care professional if youre struggling with chronic back pain. This expert will determine the pains origin and offer strategies for pain relief.
Recommended Reading: What To Take For Arthritis Pain In Back
When Surgery May Help
Most back surgeries are done to treat nerve pain from herniated discs. Surgery might be an option when a disc problem causes pain in your leg that prevents you from doing everyday tasks. You may have pain, numbness, or tingling through your buttock and down the back of your leg or in the front of your thigh.
Other problems that may require surgery include:
- A spinal fracture caused by an injury.
- An infection in your spine.
- A problem that causes your spine to be unstable.
- A tumour in your spine.
- Loss of feeling or weakness in your back or legs that gets worse over time.
- Loss of control of your bowel or bladder.
Having surgery for a herniated disc or another back problem is a big decision. Talk to your doctor about it.
Prevention Of Lower Back Pain
If you know how to look after your back, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting back pain. It can help to do the following.
- Exercise regularly walking, swimming or using an exercise bike are all things you can do even if your back feels a bit sore. Take time to build up your fitness if youre trying new activities.
- Use your legs to lift objects by bending your knees and hips, not your back.
- Keep a good posture if you work at a desk, make sure your chair, desk and computer screen are set up correctly. It will help if your employer assesses your work station.
- Move regularly dont sit in the same position for long periods of time.
Recommended Reading: Who Should I Go See For Lower Back Pain
Benefits Your Physical Health
Just doing your job can help you meet the recommended target for exercise . This exercise can be broken down to 10 or 15 minute chunks if more suitable to you.
Benefits your mental health
Being physically active promotes your body to release chemicals that help improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed.
Coping With Back Pain Errors
Becoming accustomed to the pain insures that the misery will continue. The moment the patient stops concentrating on finding a cure, they have guaranteed that the pain will last and last. For some patients, this acceptance takes a long time. For others, it sets in almost immediately.
Patients who exclusively seek symptomatic relief have basically surrendered to their pain and no longer have a real hope for a cure. They often live from pill to pill, chiropractic adjustment to chiropractic adjustment, or epidural shot to epidural shot.
This may sound like a harsh critique, but it is absolutely true. I know because I lived this reality for 18 years, before changing my reactions to my own enduring agony. After trying everything to cure my pain, I simply began to accept it as a part of my life. I found myself saying: I cant do that because of my bad back.
My reality became a series of wishes and self-imposed prohibitions, all in the name of possibly preventing yet another horrible flare-up of that dreaded pain. This is where I almost lost my battle against back ache. Fortunately, I persevered and discovered a true cure.
You May Like: Can Back Pain Cause Weakness In Legs
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Back Pain
Back pain may be experienced anywhere along the spine from the neck to the buttocks. In some cases, pain may also be felt in one or both legs. Its common to be a bit restricted in daily activities such as bending, lifting, sitting and walking while youre experiencing back pain.
Movement of your torso may be limited by back pain. There may also be tenderness when pressure is applied to the joints of the spine. Reduction of reflexes, strength and sensation in the legs can be a sign of nerve compression.
Its common for people with back pain to feel distressed about their recovery. People with persistent back pain can develop fear of movement and activity , worrying that it will make things worse or increase their pain. Living with persistent back pain may also lead to mood issues, such as anxiety, irritability, frustration and depression.
The Psychology Of Low Back Pain
- By Srini Pillay, MD, Contributor
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Follow me at @srinipillay
Low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in the U.S. Over 80% of people will experience an episode of this pain at some point in their lives. The most common reasons for low back pain are disc injuries, sciatica, lifting heavy objects, or some other non-specific back injury.
Yet even though back pain is incredibly common, not all people respond in the same way to this often-disabling condition. In fact, even if two people have the same level of pain, their responses to that pain can be very different. These differing responses are due in part to different peoples psychological attitudes and outlooks.
Even when you have low back pain that is being medically treated, it helps to understand the psychological factors that impact your pain and your brain. It also helps to know what you can do about this.
You May Like: What Is The Best Treatment For Back Pain