Spoiler alert – there is no quick fix when it comes to curing chronic pain. The key to success is consistency and action. Today I am sharing 3 of my top tools when it comes to pain management, so that you can get your back pain under control and get back to living.
There are so many myths and misconceptions floating around about how to manage back pain. Back pain is a very common problem that affects people around the globe; in fact, it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. While the pain can be so severe that you may worry something life threatening is causing your pain, over 90% of the time, back pain is caused by stress to joints, ligaments, tendons, and nerves and responds well to conservative care such as chiropractic, exercise, and guidance on self-management.
The problem for most people is that they are going about treating it the wrong way. Did you know that bed rest after a back injury actually delays healing and makes things feel worse? If you saw your doctor 20 years ago with a back injury, best rest would have been recommended, but we now know this is one of the worst things you can do – the longer you stay in bed, the more muscle mass you lose, and the harder it is to recover. Knowledge is power, and having an understanding of what is causing your pain and how to self-manage it is one of the most effective tools in the treatment of back pain.
Now we recommend that patients begin movement right away, first in an effort to control pain, then with the purpose of increasing strength and stability, and finally with the intention of improving mobility. This movement should be gradual, progressive, and specific – there are some exercises such as sit-ups and Supermans that can make back pain worse, so knowing which exercises are appropriate and which ones to avoid will play a role in optimizing recovery. Give this Yoga for Spinal Health class a try; it features specific cueing and sequencing useful for rehabilitating back pain.
Most of us lead high-stress lives that are focused on task completion and to-do lists. We are living in a state of chronic stress, and the over-activity in that part of the nervous system is strongly linked to a wide range of health conditions including back pain. Meditation and mindfulness practices are incredible tools for shifting the nervous system into a state of rest and relaxation and are used effectively in the management of back pain. Try this 10-minute stress-reducing guided meditation, and notice how quickly your body can shift from the “fight/flight” response to a “rest and digest” state.
It is important to note that back pain is a naturally recurring condition, meaning it is very rare for people to have one episode of pain and never experience it again. With that being said the key to recovery lies in better understanding what triggers the pain and relieves it for you personally so that you can reduce the pain intensity, and decrease how often and for how long you experience pain. This will give you a greater sense of control over your pain and ultimately improve your quality of life so you can get back to the things that bring you joy.
Have you had a chance to try my Yoga for Back Pain class yet? It features Education, Movement, and Meditation that is specifically designed for people with back pain. Give it a try and let me know what you think!