Whether it’s constant low back pain or spasms, an aching neck, or sciatic nerve pain shooting down your legs, chronic back pain can sideline you from your work and favorite activities. Back pain affects about 80 percent of adults and is considered one of the top causes of job-related disability in the United States. Though the pain or discomfort can happen anywhere in the back, the most commonly affected area is the lower back. This is because the lower back supports most of the body’s weight. Pain is considered chronic if it lasts three months or longer. Lower back pain treatment in Brooklyn based pain management and rehabilitation centers includes a wide range of non-surgical treatment modalities.
Dealing with chronic back pain can be especially trying if you don’t know the exact cause. Pain in the low back area can occur due to a host of factors like muscle or ligament strain, bulging/ruptured disc, skeletal irregularities and injury to the bones or spine. Incorrect posture, heavy or strenuous work, carrying or lifting heavy items and long hours of sitting at work can also cause back pain. Other causes include medical conditions such as ruptured disc, sciatica, arthritis, scoliosis and osteoarthritis.
One of the main symptoms associated with this condition is pain anywhere in the back and sometimes all the way down to the buttocks and legs. Pain may radiate to other parts of the body, depending on the specific type of nerves affected.
Common signs and symptoms that accompany back pain include –
- Shooting or stabbing pain in the back
- Persistent pain, where lying down or resting does not help
- Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking
- Pain that radiates down the leg
- Muscle ache
- Inflammation or swelling
Tips to Manage Back Pain
Generally, most cases of back pain improve within a few weeks with rest and self-care. Here are some simple but effective strategies to manage low back pain –
- Maintain a healthy body weight – Carrying extra weight can significantly strain your back muscles and spine. In fact, according to recent reports, more than 70 percent of people in the U.S. are overweight, with nearly 40 percent considered obese. Losing weight can help control back pain, prevent the condition from getting worse, and even potentially eliminate the need for pain medication or surgery in the long run.
- Consume an anti-inflammatory diet – Inflammation is a known symptom of back pain. Avoid foods that promote inflammation including fast food, processed foods and food items high in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates. Eat foods that fight inflammation such as fresh fruit, leafy vegetables, fatty fish and healthy, monounsaturated fats, such as avocado, olive oil, and canola oil.
- Keep moving – Most people who experience chronic back pain are often tempted to take a break from all physical activities. However, this can actually make the pain worse. Staying physically active is necessary for building musculoskeletal health and disc nutrition. A correct combination of physiology with exercises can help effectively prevent injury and pain. Physical therapy treatment in multispecialty healthcare centers involves a correct combination of therapeutic exercise programs such as general strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises that help to improve joint function and mobility. Core strengthening exercises can provide additional support to the lower back, improving posture and reducing strain on the spine. Stretching the muscles and ligaments in the back increases your range of motion and improves back function. Aerobic exercise can increase blood flow and nutrients to the tissues in the back, speed up healing, and reduce stiffness.
- Watch your posture – Bending makes it harder for your back to support your weight. Maintain correct posture when lifting heavy objects. Never bend over from the waist. Instead, bend and straighten from the knees – use your legs rather than your back.
- Wear low heels – People with low back pain should wear low or flat heel shoes. High heels may create an unstable posture and increase pressure on your lower spine. Supportive shoes and orthotics take the extra stress off the tendon. In multispecialty healthcare centers, physicians recommend Foot Levelers Functional Orthotics soles that can be easily slipped into any type of closed footwear. By supporting the foot’s natural structure, these orthotics soles help alleviate pain throughout the body and improve balance.
- Quit smoking – Research suggests that smokers are more likely to have low back pain compared with nonsmokers. Smoking inhibits blood flow and prevents tissue throughout the body throughout the body from getting oxygen and nutrients, which can cause the spine and back muscles to weaken. This can directly contribute to spinal disc degeneration and slow down the body’s natural healing mechanisms, which make it even more difficult to recover from injuries and inflammation. Smoking cessation programs in Brooklyn-based healthcare centers utilize auriculotherapy to reduce nicotine cravings.
For most patients, making the above-mentioned lifestyle changes can help keep back pain at bay. If the pain doesn’t improve within the specified time frame, it is important to consult a pain management physician. Surgery will be recommended only as a last resort when nonsurgical treatment modalities don’t work.