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How To Cure Chronic Back Pain

Alternative Back Pain Treatments To Try Before Choosing Surgery

Chronic Conditions: How to Treat Back Pain and Headaches

If you deal with back pain, you know it can make you feel miserable. Whether its persistent low back pain or spasms, an aching neck, or sciatic nervepain shooting down your legs, chronic back pain can sideline you from work and your favorite activities.

Unfortunately, back pain is quite common. Eight in 10 people deal with some type of back pain during their lives. Low back pain in particular is responsible for 2.6 million visits to the emergency room each year and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Despite a wealth of research in recent years about how to treat back pain, too many patients still receive unnecessary and often excessive treatment. Instead of being urged to continue to work and stay active, which has been shown to be effective, patients often are told to take time off to rest, referred for scans and surgery, and prescribed painkillers, including opioids.

Fortunately, there are many alternative treatments for back pain, many of which are easy to do at home and affordable, with no doctors prescription necessary.

How Do I Get Back Pain Relief

Back pain is best initially assessed by a general practitioner . They will make an assessment and make sure there are no warning signs for something serious.

If they suspect something more serious is causing back pain, they may do some scans or blood tests and send you to see a pain specialist or a neurosurgeon or spinal surgeon.

If the back pain is mild or improving, GPs may:

  • Reassure that there is no serious cause for concern and advise that the back pain should improve with physical activity and simple pain medications.

If the back pain persists or returns GPs may:

Contact us to book an appointment with a pain specialist.

Treatment Options For Spinal Stenosis Pain

I know we talk about this a lot, but you cannot start treating spinal stenosis until you have a full diagnosis from a physician. This can be accomplished by a physical exam, in conjunction with diagnostic imaging tests . After a physician has fully diagnosed your condition, you can move forward to a discussion of treatment strategy. Treating pain from spinal stenosis typically begins with conservative methods like pain medication and injection therapy. If conservative methods fail, or the stenosis begins to threaten the spinal nerves, surgical intervention may be necessary.

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Everyday Tips For Chronic Back Pain

Your back pain could get better, and soon. There are many treatments that could help, from physical therapy to small but strategic changes in your daily routine. Even your breathing might make a difference!

First, ask your doctor what might be the cause of your back pain and how to treat it. They might recommend physical therapy or occupational therapy.

Next, add in these nine everyday habits:

1. Use your breath. When the pain kicks in, itâs easy to tense up. Instead, try to breathe deeply. You may want to visualize the breath going to the area that hurts. This will help you relax. You can also try other stress management techniques, including meditation.

2. Rethink your good days. Itâs great to feel better. But you may feel tempted to do a lot of stuff to make up for the times you werenât able to. So ask yourself, “Are my goals realistic?” Pace yourself. Itâs one of the keys to getting things done without a pain backlash.

3. Challenge yourself physically. Are you taking it too easy? If you think that you canât be active because of your back pain, thatâs understandable but misguided. Activity helps — as long as itâs not too hard, too long, or too much. Exercises that strengthen your back and abdominal muscles can help prevent injury. Ask your doctor or physical therapist whatâs best for you.

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Even Mild Chronic Pain Should Be Checked By Your Medical Specialist

Alternative Treatments for Chronic Back Pain

Many people out there are suffering mild chronic pain and because it is bearable, they dont see a reason of visiting a doctor. It is, however, advisable to get back pain evaluated despite being mild. Any pain could be a sign of an underlying disease that needs to be treated. Early diagnosis and treatment of mild pain may help prevent it from becoming serious and hard-to-treat chronic back pain. Any kind of pain, therefore, needs to be taken seriously as most cases start as mild pain as it slowly sneaks up on you to become a serious and chronic pain.

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Ways To Relieve Back Pain Naturally

There are a wide variety of natural remedies to soothe your back, which can help reduce the intake of medications or provide an added benefit to your existing medical treatment.

Take a look at these natural pain-relieving strategies and find out what works best for you:

Read on to learn more about effective pain-relieving strategies for chronic back pain from natural methods.

When To See Your Doctor About Back Pain

You should see your doctor or physiotherapist if you have back pain that is not getting better after a few weeks of trying simple exercises and following the tips for a healthy back.

Although rare, back pain can be a sign of a more serious condition. If you experience any of the following ‘red flag’ symptoms with your back pain then please see a doctor urgently.

‘Red flag’ symptoms see a doctor urgently if you have:
  • numbness in the groin or buttocks
  • loss of bladder or bowel control
  • redness or swelling on your back
  • difficulty walking
  • constant pain, especially at night
  • pain that is getting much worse, or spreading up your spine
  • numbness or pins and needles in both legs
  • feeling unwell with your back pain, such as a fever or significant sweating that wakes you from sleep.

You should also see your doctor or physiotherapist if:

  • your pain is worse in your lower leg than your back and is not easing
  • you have weakness and numbness in one of your legs
  • you have a rash in the same area as your pain.

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Overlooked Remedies For Lower Back Pain Relief

When lower back pain persists and continues to interfere with your quality of life, multiple treatment options may be needed for adequate relief. Below are some back pain treatments that are commonly overlooked or underused. Try one or more of these remedies to see which one, or combination, works best for you.

Moving Is Probably The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Back Pain

How to really treat low chronic back pain (LBP)

When back pain strikes, your first instinct may be to avoid physical activity and retreat to the couch until the pain subsides.

But doctors now think that in most cases, this is probably the worst thing you can do. Studies comparing exercise to no exercise for chronic low back pain are consistently clear: Physical activity can help relieve pain, while being inactive can delay a persons recovery.

Exercise is helpful for a number of reasons: It can increase muscle strength, which can help support the spine It can improve flexibility and range of motion in the back, which can help peoples functional movement and get them back to their normal living it can boost blood flow to the soft tissues in the back, which promotes healing and reduces stiffness. These are just a few reasons why researchers who study back pain suggest opting for exercise before some of the passive therapies like acupuncture or massage .

Researchers in this 2016 review of the research on exercise for chronic nonspecific low back pain summarized exercises range of benefits, including these pretty amazing findings:

  • Aerobic exercise for 20 min on a cycle ergometer at 70% peak oxygen uptake reduced the pain perception for more than 30 min for patients with .
  • Improving the flexibility of the lumbar spine and hamstrings can significantly reduce by 18.5%58%.
  • Core stabilization programs have been shown to significantly reduce by 39%76.8%, and a muscular strength program significantly reduced by 61.6%.

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Back Pain Culprit: Chronic Conditions

Several chronic conditions can lead to low back pain.

  • Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, which can put pressure on the spinal nerves.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis inflames the joints of the spine, and sometimes the shoulders, hips, ribs, and other areas too. It causes chronic back pain and stiffness. In serious cases, spinal vertebrae start to fuse .
  • Fibromyalgia causes widespread muscle aches, including back pain.

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Get Enough Sleep And In The Right Position

A side sleeper should place an extra pillow between their knees for extra support. Research shows that trouble sleeping could make pain worse. Lack of sleep can also affect the amount of pain a person can tolerate, according to another study.

An uncomfortable mattress, the wrong size pillows, or simply a lack of sleep can trigger back pain.

Most adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Correct back comfort and alignment are essential for quality sleep and to avoid back pain in the morning.

Make sure the pillow provides enough support to keep your back and neck in a straight line. Side sleepers should place an extra pillow between their knees.

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How To Treat Chronic Lower Back Pain: A Ten Step Guide

Our ten step guide will show you how to treat chronic lower back pain without wasting time and money at the doctors office. We designed this guide to help guide you out of pain, build a solid and stabile foundation for your spine, and teach you how to move in a way that limits the impact that goes through your lower back so you can get back to enjoying lifewithout chronic back pain.

Other Types Of Diagnosis

How to Treat Chronic Back Pain
  • A chiropractor will diagnose through touch, or palpation, and a visual examination. Chiropractic is known as a direct approach, with a strong focus on adjusting the spinal joints. A chiropractor may also want to see the results of imaging scans and any blood and urine tests.
  • An osteopath also diagnoses through palpation and visual inspection. Osteopathy involves slow and rhythmic stretching, known as mobilization, pressure or indirect techniques, and manipulation of joints and muscles.
  • A physical therapist focuses on diagnosing problems in the joints and soft tissues of the body.

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How Cortisone Shots Work

Steroid injections contain various formulations of medications. A common combination is a numbing drug similar to procaine mixed with the anti-inflammatory drug cortisone.

Once the cortisone injection finds its target, the numbing effect will start to wear off within hours. As the numbing agent wears off, the pain may temporarily come back, Dr. Shmerling says. Then 24 to 48 hours after the injection, you can begin to expect whatever benefit youre going to get.

Bonus Tip: Soothe The Pain With Cold And/or Hot

Don’t underestimate the pain reduction of simply applying cold packs and/or hot packs to help reduce your lower back pain.

  • Cold therapy helps reduce inflammation and pain. Some examples include wrapping ice in a cloth, a pack of frozen peas from the freezer, or a cold gel pack. Always keep at least one layer between your skin and the ice/cold pack.
  • Heat therapy helps improve blood flow, relaxation, and pain relief. Heat therapy can come in many forms. It’s best to try several to find what works best for you. Taking a warm bath or shower, soaking in a hot tub, or using a heating pad or heat wrap are all ways to bring warmth to your lower back.

Whether applying ice or a heat pack, limit applications to 15 or 20 minutes with at least 2 hours of rest in between to protect your skin. Never sleep with a heating pad or frozen pack as this can lead to permanent skin damage.

Hopefully these overlooked remedies can help you try some new approaches to better manage your lower back pain and find lasting relief.

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Understanding The Lower Back

The lower back is also called the lumbosacral area of the back. It is the part of the back between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs.

Most of the lower back is made up from muscles that attach to, and surround, the spine. The spine is made up of many bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are roughly circular and between each vertebra is a disc. The discs between the vertebrae are a combination of a strong fibrous outer layer and a softer, gel-like centre. The discs act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to be flexible.

What Is The Outlook

Treating Chronic Pain

Most of us will have a bout of nonspecific low back pain at some point in our lives. The severity can vary. However, it is difficult to quote exact figures as to outlook . This is partly because it is so common and many people with back pain do not consult a doctor. Roughly, it is thought that:

  • Most nonspecific back pains ease and go quickly, usually within a few weeks.
  • In about 4 in 10 cases, the pain has completely gone within four weeks.
  • In about 7 in 10 cases the pain has completely gone within one year.

However, once the pain has eased or gone it is common to have further bouts of pain from time to time in the future. Also, it is common to have minor pains on and off for quite some time after an initial bad bout of pain. In a small number of cases the pain persists for several months or longer. This is called chronic back pain.

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Addendum: Americas Most Famous Back Guru

No back pain article would be complete without a mention of the late John Sarno, an NYU professor of rehabilitation medicine and probably Americas best-known back guru. He believed there is an emotional basis for all chronic back pain.

More specifically, he thought that the brain distracts us from experiencing negative emotions by creating pain. We may not want to accept the uncomfortable truths that we are angry with our children, or that we hate our job, so instead of thinking those thoughts, we focus on the pain.

Back pain researchers and doctors generally still dont find Sarnos theories entirely convincing particularly his one-size-fits-all diagnosis and Ive written about why at length here. But Sarno got some things right. As Ive mentioned, its now mainstream to view chronic back pain as a biopsychosocial condition, and central sensitization is also gaining traction. Both ideas suggest its not just whats going on in your body and back that matters for your pain.

That means he was also ahead of his time when it came to treatment. What recommended as treatment was essentially cognitive behavioral therapy elimination of fear avoidant behavior and catastrophizing before anyone had ever heard of it, Ramin said, and its exactly what is being used now to treat patients with central sensitization.

Find Activities That Make You Happy

Ongoing back pain can wreak havoc on your life, affecting your cherished relationships, finances, and your ability to get stuff done at work and at home. Finding activities that make you happy can help reduce some stress and may relieve some pain.

Some people find that even doing just 3 things that make them feel good each daysuch as enjoying a comforting cup of tea or coffee, calling an old friend, walking the dog, or receiving a longish 30-second hug from a loved onecan make pain more tolerable.

Even something as simple as laughter with a friend may stimulate feel-good endorphins.1, 2

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Chronic Back Pain Treatment Options Whats Best For You

Home / News / Chronic Back Pain Treatment Options Whats Best For You?

If you are struggling with back pain in Central Pennsylvania, youre part of a vast group. Around 80 percent of adults, at some point in their lives, experience back pain. Its one of the most common contributors to missed work days and job-related disability, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke . The Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvania provides chronic pain treatment options at our eight locations, including conservative methods and surgical procedures if needed.

Manage The Stress In Your Life

How Chiropractic Methods Can Treat Chronic Back Pain

Pain triggers the release of stress hormones that make muscles tighten up. Muscle tension reduces blood flow to tissues, bringing them less oxygen and fewer nutrients. When this happens, you feel pain, explains Dr. Welches.

You cant avoid stress, but you can learn to manage it. Cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation are excellent tools, he says. Skilled therapists can change the way you perceive stress. Meditation can reduce anxiety, provide a calm sense of focus and reduce pain.

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