April 6, 2022

Simple Things You Can Do For Back Pain

Dr. Venu Vemuri

At some point in time, everyone experiences some type of back or neck pain. It can sometimes be caused by a bad night's sleep on an uncomfortable mattress, or from a demanding physical activity that requires you to push, lift, or move your body in a way that strains your back. Even doing too much of something sedentary like standing or sitting in the same position for extended periods of time can lead to back and neck pain.

As a spine care practice that is committed to a minimally invasive approach to treating all types of spine conditions and back pain, we are always guiding our patients towards natural ways to reduce back pain and discomfort. Follow along for 7 helpful suggestions you can try to limit and even resolve back pain.

7 Things You Can Try For Back Pain Relief

1. Try Stretching ... Back pain can be caused by tightness in many different parts of your body. Tightness in your shoulders, hips, hamstrings, and many other places in your body, may all lead to some type of pain in your back and neck. Developing a stretching routine should be done with care and caution. Easing into stretches very gently is always advisable and holding stretches for at least 20 to 30 seconds is ideal. Fortunately, stretching is something that you can often do from just about anywhere, at different points of the day. Setting an alarm reminder to get you on a stretching schedule may be helpful, especially when you are trying to establish a new routine.

2. Try Yoga ...For those interested in taking basic stretching to another level, yoga is a great option to help improve back pain. Not only does yoga help release physical tension in your body, but it also helps you cope with emotional tension through the practice of breathing and release of endorphins. While there are a variety of yoga practices that can be beneficial and enjoyable, even starting with some of the most basic poses, like downward dog and child's pose, can be a great way to ease back and neck pain and muscle tension.

3. Try Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy - Chronic pain that lasts over an extended period of time is thought to significantly impact a person's state of mind. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that helps people develop new patterns of thinking that can go so far as to help modify sensations of physical pain. An increasing amount of research is being done in this area, including important work published by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

4. Apply Heat ... Putting a warm towel or a microwavable heating pad on the sore area of your back and neck for 10 to 20 minutes is not only relaxing, but it can also help relieve pain and discomfort by instigating better blood flow. A hot shower or bath can also have the same effect.

5. Apply Cold ... To reduce pain and inflammation, it is often helpful to apply ice, a cold pack or even a bag of frozen veggies to the sore area in your back. We always recommend having a thin towel or shirt on to protect your skin from any potential damage caused by extreme cold.

6. Improve your Diet ... An increasing amount of research, including a recent article published by Harvard Health, is coming out about the benefits of eating a diet high in foods that fight inflammation. Not only is inflammation at the root of a lot of back and neck pain, but chronic bodily inflammation is also associated with many major illness including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's. Examples of foods that are considered anti-inflammatory include things like spinach and kale and other green leafy vegetables, fatty fish like tuna and salmon, nuts like almonds, olive oil, tomatoes, and fruits. Meanwhile, you should try to limit foods that are associated with triggering an inflammatory response in your body. These include fried foods, processed meats, soda, pastries, cookies, and other refined carbohydrates made with white flour, along with certain fats like lard, shortening and margarine.

7. Incorporate a Mindfulness Meditation Approach … Pain is often complex, involving many aspects of a person's being. While traditional medicine has often addressed chronic pain with pharmaceutical applications, an increasing amount of research is showing that mindfulness meditation-based techniques can have a marked impact on people's pain levels. Researchers published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) define mindfulness as a "non-elaborative, non-judgmental awareness" achieved in part by focusing in the present moment. Benefits of establishing a mindfulness routine can be experienced without the need for elaborate training and have been connected to many different physical, mental, and emotional benefits including significant pain relief. Just a quick search on YouTube or on Google will lead you to many different suggestions about where to begin.

If you are experiencing back pain that is not going away, you may benefit from seeking out qualified medical attention. Dr. Venu Vemuri, at miiSpine, is an award-winning physician focused on providing an innovative and comprehensive treatment approach towards all types of back conditions and pain. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, call the Louisville, Kentucky miiSpine office today at: (502) 242-6370.

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