If you suffer from chronic lower back pain and want to avoid surgery in the future, then it’s important to take accountability for your spinal health and manage lower back pain at home and at work. Your orthopedic doctor and care team can provide you with all the education and skills necessary to help you manage lower back pain, but only you can decide to be compliant with the treatment plan.
A routine can help you develop healthy habits to improve your back pain, which will also improve your overall health and vitality. This article explores some of the techniques and lifestyle modifications you can use to reduce chronic pain in your lower back.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Some of the most common causes include:
- Heavy lifting
- Bending your spine the wrong way
- Musculoskeletal or nervous system damage or dysfunction
- Scoliosis (spinal curvature)
- Herniated discs
Your Role to Manage Lower Back Pain
When you understand the condition, you are more empowered to make better decisions about how to manage lower back pain. More knowledge also makes you feel less anxiety and fear, which increases your confidence in dealing with the challenge.
It is best to work directly with your orthopedic doctor and physical therapist to develop a customized care plan for managing chronic lower back pain. Your plan might be extensive, but you should do your best to follow it to the letter, and don’t hesitate to ask questions if something isn’t clear.
Your doctor might recommend a combination of various approaches to help the pain – possibly including medications, lifestyle and diet changes, PT (physical therapy), a back brace, or even surgery.
You can also consider natural ways to manage lower back pain on your own. Let’s review a few evidence-based methods that may help.
6 Tips to Manage Lower Back Pain
In many cases, lower back pain resolves itself naturally with rest and time. The first thing to do to lessen the pain is rest. If the pain continues after several weeks, consider the following 6 holistic options:
Tip 1: Change Your Diet
Modify your diet to help manage lower back pain. The foods and beverages we consume are important cornerstones of our health. If you don’t give your body what it needs to reduce inflammation and fight pain, then you’re going to have a difficult time healing.
Consider the keto diet, which has foods that reduce swelling, strengthen the immune system, balance blood fats, improve cardiovascular health, and promote general health. Some good ingredients include:
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and chard
- Fresh organic fruits (especially dark berries)
- Nuts and seeds
- Grass-fed animal meats
- Poultry and fish (especially salmon and tuna!)
What you choose not to eat is also very important for managing your chronic pain. Avoid foods that inflame the tissues and provide little or no nutrition like:
- Refined salt (try natural sea salt), sugar (try Stevia), and grains
- Hydrogenated oils
- Fast food
- Fatty meats
- Most packaged foods
Sticking to a water-rich diet will help you reduce lower back pain and enhance your total-body health and vitality.
Tip 2: Use OTC Medication (sparingly)
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Advil and Motrin may help control pain, but they should never be overused. If you use this option, don’t use these medications for more than 10 days without consulting your orthopedic doctor.
Tip 3: Use cold therapy
Cold compresses like ice bags, frozen vegetables, frozen meats can help:
- Constrict capillaries and restrict blood flow to the treatment area
- Reduce redness and swelling
- Inhibits nerves’ abilities to transfer pain messages to the brain
- Can be used several times daily
Tip 4: Use heat therapy
Heat treatments like heating pads, hot baths, sauna, steam bath, and whirlpool can help:
- Loosen tense muscles and improve mobility
- Increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the treatment area
- Inhibit pain signals to the brain
Alternate with cold treatments after 48 hours.
Tip 5: Get a Massage (by a trained specialist)
A deep tissue massage overseen by a physical or occupational therapist can help:
- Loosen tight muscles
- Increase circulation
- Increase oxygen and nutrient delivery
- Help you relax
- Reduce anxiety
Tip 6: Improve flexibility
Yoga is a gentle, non-aerobic exercise routine that can help:
- Improve spinal health
- Increase circulation and massage internal organs
- Promote muscle relaxation and reduce anxiety
- Gets you “in touch” with the center of your pain
There are various other techniques for managing your lower back pain at home and at work. Some of these include acupuncture, acupressure, deep breathing exercises, positive thinking, wearing better shoes, getting a new mattress, gentle stretching, and simply standing up and walking! Don’t let the pain control your life. Start taking steps now to improve lower back pain and get back to yourself.