Healthy Living

Be Free From Chronic Back Pain With These 5 Tips

Pay attention to your body and know what works for you.
09/03/2016 03:55pm ET | Updated September 7, 2016

Chronic back pain is an aggravating illness to live with. It impacts sufferers in numerous ways, making it difficult to accomplish daily activities. There are a few things you can do to reduce the pain and improve function.

1. Exercise

Exercising while you are in pain might be the last thing you want to do. However, it is documented that moderate exercise can help ease chronic back pain. Workouts involving yoga and Pilates strengthen core muscles and gently stretch the taut, knotted muscles that can contribute to back pain. They can also help with spinal realignment and increase joint mobility.

2. Adjust Your Posture

Incorrect posture can cause back pain and worsen existing pain. Slouching while sitting or standing puts strain on the muscles of the back.

Improve your posture by monitoring the alignment of your spine. Sit or stand straight, such that your spine is in its normal position, not hyperflexed or hyperextended. Bring papers or screens to eye level instead of bending to work or read. Your back will thank you for it.

3. Eat Healthier

It’s called “comfort food” for a reason ― what could be more soothing than settling in with a few slices of pizza and some soda after a long, painful day? However, those delicious snacks could be doing a lot of damage. Fried, greasy foods often contain trans fats that promote inflammation in your body ― this can worsen your back pain.

Switch your diet up by incorporating fresh fruits and veggies into your meals: a smoothie in the morning, a light salad at lunch, some protein at dinner. Making deliberate decisions about how you fuel your body can have a big impact on how you feel in that body.

4. Reduce Your Stress Level

A stressful lifestyle can contribute significantly to back pain. Rushing about and struggling to meet deadlines can make you less mindful of your body and leave you with no time to decompress.

Reduce the stress you encounter by taking a critical look at your to-do list. Does absolutely everything on the list need to get done immediately? Can some tasks be deferred, delegated or deleted entirely? By paring your list down to the necessary chores, you free up more time to listen to your body and recharge.

5. Try Non-Pharmacological Therapy

Medication is an important part of managing chronic back pain. However, drugs aren’t the only way to go ― there are other therapies shown to offer relief.

Heat therapy often brings tremendous relief from back pain. A hot water bottle or a hot patch delivers warmth to the back. This increases blood flow, encourages muscle relaxation and can reduce back pain.

Newer methods like transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) may also help produce relief from chronic back pain.

Final Note

Pay attention to your body and know what works for you. Consult your health care provider if you think your chronic back pain is getting worse.