Coping with back pain?

Back Pain

By pH health care professionals

Low back pain is among the top 10 medical conditions causing disease burden globally. The lifetime risk for having back pain for one month is around 80 percent. The pain intensity can vary from low to excruciating, and it can significantly impair even simple life activities. In 10 percent of cases, it may lead to permanent disability. According to the World Health Organization, back pain is estimated to cost 149 million lost work days in the U.S., costing between $100-200 billion per year (two-thirds of the sum coming from lost wages and lower productivity).

So how can you be proactive about back pain?

If you do not have any back pain, the best thing to do is to be proactive to try to avoid getting back pain:

  • Listen to your body. If you are experiencing pain with certain activities, then those activities need to be modified or avoided. Activities may include extreme sports like crossfit, but sedentary lifestyles are also commonly associated with chronic back pain.
  • Use precaution to avoid injuries. Be careful with heavy lifting and awkward positioning. You may use back support intermittently. Use seat belts to protect yourself from car accident injuries. Be careful with excessive weight training or rapid motion weight exercises. Use protective gear when riding motorcycles.
  • Make healthy activity a part of your daily life. If you have a sedentary job or a tendency to gain weight, go out there and join some exercise, yoga, stretching or weight loss classes. Regularity works best.
  • Get a baseline X-ray of your adult back, especially when you start to have early back problems. This may reveal any predisposing conditions such as scoliosis, early vertebral degeneration and loss of disc space, which may give you useful information for what you should do and watch out for in order to maintain a healthy back.
  • Make ergonomic adjustments how you sit, sleep, stand and shoes you are wearing. Addressing multiple seemingly small issues can have a very positive effect overall!

If you already have existing back pain, the following may help:

  • Be knowledgeable about your condition. See a health care provider to come to a likely diagnosis. Read up and learn about your body and your condition. The better you educate yourself, the more options you will have to improve your pain.
  • Find out what makes back pain better and what makes it worse. Certain motions, such as lifting and bending activities, and certain positions, including the way you sit or sleep, may aggravate your back.  Take note of them and modify. 
  • Work with a physical therapist. A skilled physical therapist can be very useful to show you the right type of exercises and stretches that are good for your back. Even two to three sessions can give valuable insight (more sessions may be needed).
  •  Keep moving. Try gentle movements to improve flexibility and exercises that help relieve tension in those tight back muscles. Even simple walking programs can be beneficial with chronic back pain. Vibration (power plates) and skilled massages are other helpful options.
  • Use healthy medical supplements,such as THIAA, chymotrypsin, bromelain, boswellia, magnesium, glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, fish oil, vitamin D or SAM-e. Work with a knowledgeable doctor to determine a safe and effective option for you.
  • Consider injection therapies. Epidural steroid, platelet rich plasma, prolotherapy and trigger point injections may help.
  • Get relief from pain medication when needed. Unfortunately, some back pain doesn’t seem to respond to any treatment, whether with natural remedies, lifestyle changes, medical pain control devices or even surgery. In those cases, stronger medication may be needed when you have a flare-up. However, it is wise to weigh the amount of back pain with any associated risk for medication side effects from anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers or narcotics.
  • Consult with different health care providers. Initial care can be done with a primary care doctor, chiropractor or acupuncturist. If back pain persists, you may need to see an orthopedic doctor, physiatrist or pain specialists.  

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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