Anyone who has experienced low back pain, particularly chronic pain, understands just how much it can affect one’s emotional state and quality of life. Here are a few quick tips for the self-management of low back pain.
1. Change postures frequently. The research evidence for perfect posture relieving pain is not compelling. Sitting completely vertical for eight hours a day may result in the compression forces on the lumbar vertebral discs increasing your pain. This is why sit-stand desks are so popular. And if standing becomes too much, reclining may be an option for a period as well – for example reclining in the office chair or a recliner.
2. Watch your weight. Not only does the skeleton have to bear the forces of extra body fat, but fat (adipose) tissue has also been shown to release inflammatory chemicals known as ‘cytokines’ into the blood stream, which increases painful inflammation in the joints.
3. Keep moving. As the saying goes… ‘motion is lotion.’ The synovial joints (such as the facet joints in the spine) literally secrete more synovial fluid with movement, which helps to lubricate and nourish the joints. We also know that endorphins released during exercise are terrific analgesics (pain relievers). Whilst there may be a case for short periods of rest, the benefits of moving despite of the pain tends to increase one’s overall quality of life.
4. Learn the stretches. Learn the stretches that are appropriate for you, your body and your condition. Stick to them daily.
5. Watch your thoughts. Pain science increasingly links the mind to the body. The relationship between anxiety, depression and chronic pain is well established. Pain may cause thoughts of helplessness, which may trigger states of depression. Anxiety may trigger one’s pain response. This is because the nervous system is in constant communication with itself. Keeping a pain journal, meditating and engaging with personal development exercises may all help over time.
(Medical Disclaimer: this is general public education and not specific health advice for any one individual. Please reach out to your trusted health practitioner for any concerns).
At Destiny Health, we offer appointments on the hour and work with a range of painful presentations to help people move and feel better.
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