Updated: Jul 20
You know how debilitating it can be if you suffer from chronic back aches and pains. Unfortunately, back pain is a common infirmity that affects many people and interferes with their daily life. It's almost like being a walking zombie — full of pain but without motivation.
The pain of back pain can result in physical, social, and psychological consequences that have a negative effect on an individual's quality of life. In most cases, those who suffer from back pain report boredom, reduced activities outside the home, and mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. So what do you do when your back pain has sapped your enjoyment in life? How can you get it together and get back to something resembling normal or at least increased motivation?
Fortunately, there are numerous things you can do to lessen the pain with help from a New Jersey pain management specialist and some lifestyle changes. Here's an article to learn how to stop back pain from affecting a huge aspect of your life.
Manage Your Stress
Life is full of stress from work, family, school, and deadlines. When you feel like your body is breaking down or you're having trouble functioning, it can be difficult to put aside the worries that are causing you stress.
If you have chronic back pain, stress may actually be what's making you feel bad in the first place. Chronic stress causes the body to release cortisol, which leads to muscle tension, anxiety, and depression. In fact, researchers have found that stress can increase the likelihood of having back pain by as much as 33%.
Stress can also make existing back pain worse, leading to muscle spasms and spasms that cause further injury. But the fact is that managing your stress level makes a huge difference in how well you cope with back pain. So if you want to be proactive about handling your back pain, try taking some time each day to relax or meditate.
Get Enough Sleep
Get enough sleep — even if you have to nap during the day. Sleep is essential for good health and a great way to prevent chronic back pain from developing. When we're sleep-deprived, all sorts of bad things happen.
Our brains aren't working at full capacity (we can't retain as much information), our immune system is compromised (we get sick more often), and we're more vulnerable to other conditions like depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure. We'll start to have aches and pains, too, including lower back pain—but getting the right amount of sleep each night can help prevent that from happening.
The great thing about sleeping enough is that it's a win-win situation: you'll feel refreshed in the morning, and your body will be healthier overall. Not only that, but if you have one of those chronic aches that are always bothering you (like lower back pain), chances are good that a good rest will be just what your body needs to get rid of it for a while. However, if your condition persists or worsens, you may need to seek out professional help.
Seek Professional Help
Back pain can come from a number of sources: injuries, muscle tightness, or just the wear and tear of being on your feet all day long. When you have chronic back pain, it's often the result of something called "malalignment," which means that the way your bones are positioned in your spine is causing irritation to one part of your body. For example, if you sit at an office desk all day long with one leg slightly shorter than the other, your spine will be out of alignment from the pressure it takes on itself when you sit and stand.
Don't find yourself constantly popping pills and wondering why you can't get rid of that back pain. Before you resign yourself to a lifetime of being hunched over and in pain, consult with a chiropractor or physical therapist.
Seeking professional help is one of the most important things to do when you experience back pain, especially if your symptoms don't improve after three weeks. These professionals are experts in painful conditions of the back and can help you pinpoint the source of the problem, whether it's a muscle strain from an exercise or an arthritic joint.
They'll also show you how to correct your posture, improve mobility, relieve pain, and even prevent future issues. Of course, the sooner you start, the better—but don't let another day go by if you've already been dealing with that nagging ache.
Get Moving, But with Care
Our bodies are amazing machines, but they can start to fall apart if we don't take care of them. When you're having back pain, it's tempting to stay in bed and treat it like a sick day. But even though you feel bad, resting most of the time will only make matters worse and lay your recovery. Instead, get moving! Start with gentle stretches and build up to more vigorous exercises so that your body is strong enough to support you when you need it.
It is important to seek advice from a pain specialist. They can teach you how to use proper body mechanics so that you can avoid future episodes of back pain altogether. Here are some things you can do to actively prevent back pain from worsening:
Try not to lift anything heavier than you need to.
Sit up straight at all times.
Take frequent breaks from anything that's making your pain worse.
Pay Attention to Your Posture
Back pain can come from sitting hunched over at your desk all day or from carrying heavy bags or purses—even from sleeping on your side and keeping that one tender shoulder turned inward.
Good posture helps relieve stress on your spine and keep it appropriately aligned for maximum support. You should always sit with an upright posture and avoid slouching over when you work at a desk or computer. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down instead of hunched up toward your ears when sitting or standing. Don't cross your legs at the knees — this puts extra stress on the spine.
The good news is that there are many treatment options for back pain available today. Chiropractic care is one of the most popular and effective treatments for back pain. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation, or "spinal adjustment," to relieve pain and improve the function of your spine.
People with chronic back pain tend to avoid exercise because they fear it will make their condition worse or because they simply don't enjoy being active anymore (and thus don't want to do anything that involves moving around). But exercise does wonders for both physical and mental health — including helping relieve stress and boost mood — so get yourself out there!
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and strengthen your muscles while improving circulation in your body. If you're hurting, start with low-impact exercises like walking or swimming.
And if you need help getting started or keeping motivated, talk with a physical therapist about finding an exercise routine that works for you. They are trained in treating low back pain through exercises, manual therapy techniques, and education about proper movement patterns that can help reduce or eliminate your symptoms over time.
Take Control of Your Life
If you're dealing with back pain, knowing what to do about it is the first step to getting the help you need. Back pain is awful, but there are a lot of things you can do to help lessen the impact it has on your life.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some helpful information so that you can provide the best care for your back, whether that involves lifestyle changes or seeking out treatment options from a New Jersey pain management center.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to back pain is that you can take control of your situation. You don't have to wait for it to improve—you can make changes today to help you feel better tomorrow.