If you’ve ever experienced back pain, you know how debilitating it can be. It can affect your work, your play, and even your sleep. As someone who was diagnosed with scoliosis at age seven, wore a back brace every night and half of the day for seven years, and ended up having a spinal fusion at age 14, I’ve had my fair share of back problems and pain. Most of the time, my back pain is minor enough that I can function normally and even sometimes forget that I have two titanium rods fused to my spine. But every so often, my pain becomes almost unbearable with muscle spasms, sharp pains that affect my breathing, and a neck and shoulders that are constantly rock hard. But, I’ve learned over the last 12 years that I do have some control over my pain- so here are some tips for relieving back pain that I’ve found work for me:
Exercise, focusing on your core muscles. A few months ago, I was experiencing the worst pain back I’ve had since the pain I had right after my surgery. I could hardly breathe, I couldn’t sleep, and there was no position I could get in that I was even remotely comfortable. I was absolutely sure that one of my rods had somehow broken and was stabbing my spinal cord, if that’s even possible. I went in, had an x-ray and met with my doctor only to find out that the pain was a result of the fact that my back muscles were getting no help from my core muscles, as I hardly had any. My back simply couldn’t take all of the responsibility of holding me up anymore, and was in a cycle of continuous spasms. I started focusing on strengthening my core, and I’m no longer having spasms. So, do sit ups, work your abs, and make sure your back muscles aren’t making up for a lack of muscles elsewhere.
Stretch. Yes, this is very similar to my exercise tip, but is much less intensive (depending on how intensely you stretch, and how not intensely you exercise, of course) and will increase mobility. For some stretching tips, check out this Coconut Creek Chiropractor.
Minimize stress levels. This tip can be a little more difficult to accomplish, because stress is an inevitable part of being human, and usually isn’t wholly within our control. But there are some things that we can control, and it’s important to do what we can where we can. So find whatever relaxes you, and make time during your day to just chill out.
Maintain a healthy weight. This goes along with exercising, but consists of eating healthy. Again, you don’t have to starve yourself or even diet. In fact, it’s much healthier to be moderate and consistent with your eating habits instead of trying to stay away from sugar or carbs or whatever else altogether and then eventually binging on those very things (which almost inevitably happens either during or after being on a diet.) Maintaining a healthy weight will take any unnecessary strain off of your back, as well as help you feel better in general.
All of these things have helped me with minimizing my back pain, and hopefully they’ll help you too.