Back pain is one of the more debilitating conditions that a person can suffer, impacting their quality of life, mobility, and mental health. Some back pain is treatable, other types might be longer-lasting and force lifestyle changes. If you’re suffering now, there are some steps you can take to minimize pain.
1 Change your diet
Diet plays a major part in pain management. Certain foods have inflammatory properties, which will exacerbate any underlying condition. Processed foods, foods high in refined sugars, and trans fats are the big culprits, so avoid these. Other foods like fish and berries have the opposite effect and soothe inflammation. Look for food high in antioxidants and omega-3. Incorporating these into your diet will help your pain in the long term.
2. Try meditation
It might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of managing back pain, but meditation and mindfulness can change a person’s life. Long-term pain inevitably has a negative impact on mental health, in some cases leading to anxiety and depression. Meditation helps you to relax, divert your mind from pain and is generally considered one of the best coping mechanisms. Meditation also has links to yoga, which is an excellent form of low-impact exercise that can help you regain flexibility without putting undue strain on your back.
3. Investigate treatment options
When someone has suffered from pain for a long time, they often presume that all of their treatment options have been exhausted. This is rarely the case, and there’s usually another step that you can take. Spinal cord injury treatment, for example, is complex and operates on the cutting edge of medical science. New types of treatments, therapies, and surgical interventions become available all the time, so don’t abandon hope. Consult with your doctor and find out whether any new avenues of treatment have opened up.
4. Change your lifestyle
It’s inevitable with any injury that you’ll have to make some lifestyle changes. Just how sweeping those changes depend on the nature of the injury. Some people will be able to proceed as normal with regular breaks, others will have to abandon more strenuous activities altogether. Other lifestyle changes apply universally. Nicotine is known to exacerbate pain, so giving up smoking is an important step. If your job involves heavy lifting you might need to reconsider, and desk-bound workers should always opt for more ergonomic, back-friendly chairs.
5. Don’t neglect exercise
Exercise might be the last thing on your mind when you’re suffering from back pain, but it can really help. Gentle, low impact exercises boost flexibility, enhance mobility and strengthen your core. A strong core takes the strain from your back, helping with the pain. Swimming (since the water supports your body weight) is perhaps the best choice, but yoga, a gentle walk, and even sedate cycling can all help back pain. Just be sure that you don’t push too hard and stop when your body tells you to.