Fall Asleep Faster And Sleep Longer
When you have a restful nights sleep, your back will feel less sore during the day.7 A night of restorative sleep can have healing benefits and make you feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and less stressed.
Try these natural sleep aids, one at a time, to see which one works best for you:
- Vitamins C and B6. The natural steroids in your body control your metabolism and promote good sleep.8,9 Supplements of vitamins C10 and B611 are known to help the body produce and regulate natural steroid hormones.
- Melatonin. Your natural sleep hormone, melatonin can be taken as a supplement to improve your sleep cycle.
- L-theanine. An amino acid found in tea leaves, L-theanine may help some people feel relaxed and get better sleep.
- Valerian. Supplements made from the root of the valerian plant may help you sleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Another option is cherry juice or cherry extractscherries contain certain enzymes that help promote better sleep.4
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.
How Goodpath Can Help
Chronic back pain is not always easy to overcome, but exercises of this type can put you on the right path to feeling better.
Need more? Take our personalized quiz to create a customized back pain program.
After you answer a few short questions, we will build you an integrative plan complete with solutions such as exercise videos, recommended medications, and other remedies reviewed by our medical team.
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Things You Should Know
Ideas about back pain have changed a lot over recent years. It is a good idea to read more about back pain as you may be surprised to discover that some of the things you thought were bad for the back are actually not a problem . Examples include:
- sitting is not bad for the back
- poor posture cannot injure the back
- the back is designed to bend, twist and lift
- moving and using the back makes it more healthy.
What Are Some Other Causes Of Lower Back Pain
The shape of your spine, and well as spinal diseases, are other culprits in lower back pain. Depending on a range of factors, your doctor may look for:
Abnormal spinal curvature. A normal spine resembles a gently curved letter S when seen from the side. Abnormal curves include:
Lordosis, in which the spine curves too far inward at the lower back
Kyphosis, in which the spine is abnormally rounded in the upper back
, in which the spine curves from side to side, often in a C shape
Normal and abnormal curves of the spine
Arthritis. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, many of which can cause lower back pain. The most common types include osteoarthritis , , and .
. Compression of the bundle of nerves that forms below the spinal cord in the lumbar spine. It is a rare but serious disorder that requires immediate medical attention and possibly emergency surgery. CES got its name from the fact that the fanned-out bundle of nerves resembles the base of a horses tail.
. Both infections of discs and bone can cause severe pain and require prompt medical attention.
. Your bones lose mass faster than it can be replaced, making them brittle. They can even fracture with little or no warning. These fractures are especially common in the spine, where they’re called vertebral compression fractures. Both men and women lose bone mass as they age, but postmenopausal women lose it much faster and so are more at risk for osteoporosis.
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Chronic Lower Back Pain
When back pain continues for more than three months, it is considered chronic. Although for most people an episode of back pain is over by that time, in some cases it progresses and can have a major impact on ones ability to function. For some patients, physical therapy with local heat or ice application , combined with a home exercise program and education in proper positions for lifting and other movement techniques can make a major difference. Patients must learn to tolerate a certain degree of pain, or they may allow themselves to become more disabled than necessary. Patients at the Hospital for Special Surgery have had success with graded exercise to work through the pain, gradually increasing the exercise quota at each session so they can learn to tolerate more exercise in spite of the pain, and get back to work and activities. Read more detail on this topic in .
Tips For Easing Back Pain
Use these self-care tips to ease your back ache and pain associated with arthritis.
1. Relief is Possible
2. Get Wet
3. Move and Strengthen It
4. Find Your Zen
5. Cinch It In
6. Trim It Down
7. Visit China
8. Manipulate It
9. Apply Pressure
10. Put It Together
11. Medicate It
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New Understanding Of Chronic Pain
Patients who report continuing pain in the absence of a definitive pathology are sometimes dismissed by health professionals. Even in the absence of such an identifiable cause, however, chronic pain can lead to neurological feedback processes that only serve to worsen the pain and make it more difficult to treat.
Pain is inherently subjective, and a greater awareness of the need for taking pain seriously is growing among the health community as well as the public at large. This is particularly true for chronic back pain sufferers.
While a great majority of back pain cases are self-limiting and resolve on their own, the risk of recurrence and development of chronic disease is significant.
failed back surgeryneuropathic pain
The above considerations have led to a proliferation of services available to patients seeking both medical and alternative treatment for back pain.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest and pain relievers. Back pain that doesnt go away may be a sign of a more serious condition.
See your provider if you have:
- Pain that doesnt get better after about a week of at-home care.
- Tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in your buttocks or legs.
- Severe pain or muscle spasms that interfere with your normal activities.
- Fever, weight loss, bowel or bladder problems or other unexplained symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people live with low back pain. Stiffness, pain and limited movement can have a major impact on quality of life. But you may be able to avoid lower back pain by maintaining a healthy weight and staying active. Talk to your provider if back pain doesnt go away or if youre unable to do the activities you enjoy. Several treatments can relieve pain, help you move better and get more out of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.
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There Are Different Types Of Back Pain
Back pain can be acute or chronic . It can feel like a sudden, sharp pain or a dull, constant ache.
Acute back pain lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Its often caused by an accident, fall, or lifting something thats too heavy. Acute back pain usually gets better on its own, without any treatment. But there may be times when you need to get medical care. Find out when to call a doctor or nurse about back pain.
Chronic back pain lasts for more than 3 months. Its much less common than acute back pain. Most chronic back pain can be treated without surgery.
The Importance Of An Accurate Diagnosis
The physician will need to take a careful medical history and do a physical exam to look for certain red flags that indicate the need for an X-ray or other imaging test. In most cases, however, imaging such as X-ray, MRI , or CT scan is unnecessary.
There may also be certain clues in a patients medical history. Low back, nonradiating pain is commonly due to muscle strain and spasm. Pain that radiates into the buttock and down the leg may be due to , a condition in which a bulging disc presses on the sciatic nerve, which extends down the spinal column to its exit point in the pelvis and carries nerve fibers to the leg. This nerve compression causes pain in the lower back radiating through the buttocks and down one leg, which can go to below the knee, often combined with localized areas of numbness. In the most extreme cases, the patient experiences weakness in addition to numbness and pain, which suggests the need for quick evaluation.
A persistent shooting or tingling pain may suggest lumbar disc disease. A pain that comes and goes, reaching a peak and then quieting for a minute or two, only to reach a peak again, may suggest an altogether different cause of back pain, such as a kidney stone.
When tumor or infection are suspected, the doctor may order blood tests, including a CBC and sedimentation rate .
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Ways To Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery
Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts three months or longer. It cancome and go, often bringing temporary relief, followed by frustration.Dealing with chronic back pain can be especially trying if you dont knowthe cause.
How Is Chronic Back Pain Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask if you have any medical conditions. He or she may ask if you have a history of back pain and how it started. He or she may watch you stand and walk, and check your range of motion. Show him or her where you feel pain and what makes it better or worse. Describe the pain, how bad it is, and how long it lasts. Tell your provider if your pain worsens at night or when you lie on your back.
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Dont Shortchange Your Sleep
Sleep is very, very important it helps your body heal, says Dr. Welches. Lack of sleep releases more stress hormones, lowers pain tolerance and worsens existing pain.
Sleep loss can complicate other health issues, making it harder to control glucose levels when you have diabetes, for example.
So practice good sleep hygiene. Avoid blue light from smart phones or TV for one hour before bedtime. Go to bed at about the same time every evening and get up at about the same time every morning to keep your internal clock regular, says Dr. Welches.
Meditation is also a great tool for a better nights sleep. Many meditation apps are available. He suggests starting with five to 10 minutes of meditation before bedtime. If you wish, you can gradually increase to 20 or 30 minutes a night.
Supplements such as melatonin can also help you sleep at night.
Preventing Back Pain Tips For A Healthy Back
What we do day to day is very important to help keep us healthy and prevent back pain.
- Keep active regular exercise improves health and reduces recurrent back pain. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate or intense physical activity a week.
- Sleep well.
- Manage your stress and anxiety levels.
- Dont smoke because nicotine decreases blood flow to your back. Back pain is more common and recovery is slower in smokers.
- If you have recurring back pain, the following may help:
- exercise regularly people who do regular exercise have less back pain than those who are inactive
- aim for a weight within your healthy range
- manage stress and mood
- ask your physiotherapist or health provider to explore with you the types of movements and activities that are best for you.
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When Are Diagnostic Tests For Lower Back Pain Necessary
Many patients do not need X-rays in the first few weeks of pain because their pain will end up resolving. Many more do not need CT scans or MRI imaging, which are overly sensitive and often reveal abnormalities not related to the patients pain. These forms of imaging can be extremely useful, however, if a person has chronic or severe pain, and/or neurological symptoms. Blood tests may be ordered if an infection or tumor is suspected.
What Causes Lower Back Pain
Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:
- Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
- Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
- Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
- Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.
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How To Fix Chronic Low Back Pain
Were continuing the conversation this week with GregPotter, PhD., but with a plot twist. Weve had Greg on the podcastmany times discussing all facets of sleep and circadian biology,but today the topic is low back pain. Greg has had personalexperience with this problem since the age of 12 and has devotedextensive time and effort to researching and trying varioustreatment methods to find relief for himself and his coachingclients. Hes quick to admit hes not an expert in low back pain,but its clear hes well-versed on the topic.
Gregthoroughly examines low back pain in this podcast, includingcauses, treatments, and scientifically-validated approaches forrelieving chronic discomfort. He discusses time-tested treatmentsand cutting-edge options, including therapies, exercises, andsupplements. He also recalls the book that started his healingjourney and the best ways to give your back a break during dailymovement and activities.
How Is Lower Back Pain Diagnosed
Your provider will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. To check for broken bones or other damage, your provider may order imaging studies. These studies help your provider see clear pictures of your vertebrae, disks, muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Your provider may order:
- Spine X-ray, which uses radiation to produce images of bones.
- MRI, which uses a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of bones, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.
- CT scan, which uses X-rays and a computer to create 3D images of bones and soft tissues.
Depending on the cause of pain, your provider may also order blood tests or urine tests. Blood tests can detect genetic markers for some conditions that cause back pain . Urine tests check for kidney stones, which cause pain in the flank .
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