If back pain lasts for three months or more, it’s referred to as chronic. You feel some temporary relief when it goes away but when it returns, it can be very frustrating. It can be even worse if you don’t understand the cause. Common causes of chronic back pain can include spinal stenosis, where the spinal canal narrows leading to nerve pain, disc issues such as bulging or herniated discs, and arthritis of the spine. Specialists from Republic Spine and Pain can offer insights and provide treatment for various back pain complications. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat chronic back pain without surgery.
A regular exercise regimen is the foundation of chronic back pain treatment. It’s usually the first and most recommended form of treatment, to be done under the supervision of a spine physical therapist or your physician. Different exercises are suitable for different people. Depending on the cause of their back problems, the exercise regimen will be suited to your specific condition and symptoms. A big part of the success will rest on you maintaining the exercises at home. The physical exercise may include core strengthening, aerobic exercises, stretching and flexibility exercises, restraining your posture, and testing the limits of pain tolerance.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Chronic back pain is usually caused by both physical and emotional strains. You may be referred to a rehabilitation psychologist to manage psychological aspects of chronic back pain, which may include depression, frustration, and irritability, among others. The specialist may recommend yoga and meditation, tai chi, and other relaxation and cognitive strategies to keep your mind focused on well-being.
Diets, such as those high in processed foods, refined sugars, and trans fat, are highly inflammatory. You can consult your physician to see how you can change your diet if it’s contributing to your chronic back pain. Moreover, maintaining a healthy weight reduces pressure off the spine, thereby lessening chronic back pain.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, you’ll be forced to accept your condition and adapt. You’ll need to listen to your body’s demands and learn to pace yourself accordingly. You may have to take a break from carrying heavy stuff or mowing the lawn. Take note of activities that worsen your pain and avoid them at all costs. This will not only help you feel better but will also prevent the issue from advancing. In addition to that, you’ll need to quit smoking as nicotine is known to delay healing and accentuate pain.
Alternative treatments include electrical nerve stimulation, laser therapy, biofeedback therapy, massage, and acupuncture. These nonsurgical spine treatments can make a huge difference for your chronic back pain. You can discuss with your spine specialist about which specific alternative treatment is suitable for your condition.
Pharmacologic treatments include muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and analgesics, among others. They can be used to manage and control chronic back pain, although most of them come with unwanted side effects. Thus, they are not recommended for prolonged use. Additionally, most of them are addictive and only treat the symptoms without addressing the underlying cause of the back problem. Pharmacologic treatments should only be used under the prescription of a licensed specialist, and only when other drugs have failed to offer relief.