Written by Dr. Brent Wells
Did you know that at least 80 percent of the world’s population will experience back pain? Lower back pain is a common complaint among chiropractic patients. It is actually more common to experience discomfort radiating from the lower back than any other area. Unfortunately, this type of pain can severely limit your mobility and your ability to function in daily life.
Many patients who suffer from chronic low back pain wonder what they can do to make a difference in their discomfort. Their first line of treatment is often a simple pain reliever that reduces inflammation and offers short-term pain relief. However, there are other forms of treatment that can be equally effective for this simple solution.
If you want to find a natural way to alleviate your low back pain, take a look at a few of these easy adjustments you can make.
Heat and Cold Therapy
If you sustained a new back injury, you may find relief through heat and cold therapies. Using an ice pack for the first 48 hours after a new injury can numb the area and reduce swelling. You can use this simple technique to alleviate your pain at the moment.
After a couple of days, you should try switching to heat with a heating pad or a hot water bottle. Heat helps the muscles of the lower back to loosen up and relax, as well as increases the blood flow. According to Harvard Health, this technique is only effective for the first week. After this point, you may want to pursue some of the other alternatives proposed here.
There are many potential causes for your sudden low back pain. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has compiled a thorough list of all the potential reasons you might be experiencing pain, but a few of the most common include:
Chiropractic treatments are considered to be effective for patients who have chronic low back pain. It is particularly important for individuals who do not respond to some of the other self-care approaches found here. Your spinal adjustment and chiropractic treatment may also include other modalities such as massage to loosen up the muscles or another approach to targeted pain relief.
Take a Yoga Class
According to a new study by the National Institutes of Health, yoga may be an effective option for treating moderate to severe low back pain. Researchers gathered a group of more than 300 participants and split them into three groups. One group received physical therapy, another group received weekly yoga classes, and the last group received education only.
At the end of the study, it was found that those who participated in both physical therapy and yoga had a reduction in their pain levels. They were able to conclude that regular yoga classes may be just as effective as physical therapy when it comes to treating chronic low back pain.
This makes sense because many yoga courses focus on strengthening the core muscles and stretching out the muscles of the low back. However, physical activity of any kind can be beneficial for your lower back pain. It is better for you to keep moving than to resign yourself to weeks of bedrest. If yoga isn’t something that interests you, try some of these activities instead:
One of the reasons that yoga is considered to be effective for treating low back pain is that it involves a great deal of stretching. Moving the muscles that surround the lower spine can be a great way to alleviate some of your pain long-term. You should aim to hold each posture for thirty seconds or longer. Remember that you should move out of a position if you feel any sort of extreme pain or discomfort.
Simple stretches like leaning forward to touch your toes are incredibly beneficial for the lower back. Practicing these stretches at different points throughout your daily routine can be great for low back pain. You can also perform stretches derived from yoga postures such as:
You should be spending anywhere from seven to nine hours in your bed each night. If your mattress is uncomfortable and unsupportive, you should highly consider purchasing a new one. A mattress that is too soft may not offer you the same benefits as a firmer mattress that promotes better spinal alignment. However, every individual will be different and the type of mattress you need may vary.
Research is now showing that patients with lower back pain may want to consider a medium-firm or firm mattress. In a recent study, 300 people with low back pain were split into two groups to test medium-firm and firm mattresses. Those who slept on medium-firm mattresses for ninety days had the least amount of pain compared to the other group. This proves that the type of mattress you sleep on could be making a big difference in your pain levels.
Alleviating Lower Back Pain
Apart from taking over-the-counter pain relievers, there are many different things you can do to improve your low back pain. From exercise to chiropractic treatments to lifestyle adjustments, you don’t have to be held hostage by your pain. Even chronic low back pain can find relief with a few of these techniques to reduce your discomfort. Incorporate some of these new strategies into your daily routine to see what a difference they can make in your healing process.
Bio: Dr. Brent Wells founded Better Health Chiropractic and Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998. He utilizes multiple treatment modalities to help his patients achieve a pain-free lifestyle. Dr. Wells and his wife, Coni, met at the University of Nevada before moving on to the Western States Chiropractic College where he studied. He continues to further his education with new courses on spine and brain health. When he isn’t working hard for his patients, you can find Dr. Wells participating in activities around the community, spending lots of quality time with his family, or playing his guitar.