As common as back pain is, chronic back pain and spinal discomfort can reach a debilitating level without the proper treatment. Nearly 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 suffer from chronic lower back pain, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine. A Thomas Jefferson University Hospital study indicated that disabilities in people 45 and younger are primarily caused by lower back pain. From medications and injections to surgery and physical therapy, back pain treatments run the gamut. Alleviate the pain in your lower back by adopting the following lifestyle changes or treatment options.
Obesity can cause a herniated disk, which can be the root of your back pain. Spongy discs cushion the bones that form our spine, explains LifeShape of the Advanced Bariatric Center of Florida. Healthy discs serve as spinal shock absorbers and foster flexibility in the spine. A damaged (or herniated) disc bulges and strains the nerves, resulting in significant discomfort. People suffering from obesity are also susceptible to lumbar spine disc degeneration, chronic low-grade inflammation and musculoskeletal pain. As body mass increases, pressure placed on back muscles and ligaments increases and support for the spine lessens. If you've started to experience the beginning stages of back pain, don't wait to lower your body weightâ€”get moving and evaluate your diet.
As you adopt an exercise regimen to lose weight, engage in yoga practice. Discovery Fit and Health highlights a study from the Group Health Research Institute that found chronic back pain sufferers were able to reduce back pain and improve back-related function by regularly following a yoga program for three months. Yoga emphasizes stretching and strengthening, especially for the core, to help relieve pain, increase mobility and improve posture. Yoga instructor Sophie Herbert adds that yoga teaches mindfulness, deep breathing and meditation, which can help individuals unload stress and release tension.
Lauri Grossman, DO, tells Everyday Health that she advises her patients who suffer from back pain to take the following natural supplements:
- Glucosamine, 500 mg, three times a day
- Flaxseed oil, two teaspoons per day
- Calcium and magnesium per instructions on bottle
- Vitamin C, 2,000 mg per day
Russell H. Greenfield, MD, also suggests Zyfamend for lower back pain relief typically caused by inflamed muscles. The agent consists of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant herbs that target inflammation and aid pain management.
Pain Management Alternatives
If more natural methods of pain relief and elimination aren't effective, such as a restful night sleeping on your side on a firm surface, the following pain management solutions may be your next option:
- Electrotherapy: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy uses "low-voltage electric stimulation that interacts with the sensory nervous system," according to spine-health.com.
- Spine Surgery: Minimally invasive spinal surgery procedures, including foraminotomy, laminotomy, endoscopic discectomy and facet thermal ablation, can treat multiple back and neck conditions. Minimally invasive surgeries, like those provided by Laser Spine Institute, typically result in a shorter recovery period, making them a popular option. Learn more about Laser Spine Institute by visiting their LinkedIn page.
- Pharmacologic treatments: Pain relievers include analgesics/pain medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDS), muscle relaxants, narcotic medications, anti-depressents/anti-convulsants and neuromodulating medications. For a full outline on pain management medications, visit spine-health's Medication for Back Pain and Neck Pain page.