Whether you’ve experienced an acute injury or continue to live with chronic pain, back pain can impact even the smallest activities in your daily life. At Summit Spine & Joint Centers, our pain management physicians have worked with patients experiencing a range of spinal injuries and conditions. The following are seven of our top tips for improving back pain!
1. Get Moving as Soon as Possible
If you’ve experienced a back injury, you may think rest is the best possible thing for you. Of course, some rest is necessary following an injury. However, it may be less time than you think—no more than three days. Why? Because movement is going to be your ally in helping your back heal and supporting your mobility. Gentle exercise is good, such as walking or yoga. Don’t participate in strenuous activity and don’t immediately return to the activity that caused your initial injury.
2. Pay Attention to Your Posture
Many people don’t realize that, although they may not experience any acute pain, their posture can affect their spine health over time. Poor posture can put unnecessary weight on your back, which can increase your risk for injury. Our physicians see many patients who report a sudden twist or turn that’s caused an injury, but in many cases, years of poor posture have contributed to this sudden, severe discomfort. Pain may also develop over time in cases where poor posture is the culprit.
3. Consider Seeing a Specialist
If you’re seeking treatment for back pain, it could be time to see a specialist. Pain management specialists work with you to address your specific pain, whether it’s developing a regimen that involves physical therapy for specific exercises to support your spine, which can be very helpful, or using non-invasive, drug-free approaches to help correct the discomfort. Often, specialists have the knowledge and skill you need for proper treatment for back pain so you can get back to doing the things you love.
4. Heat or Ice? Use Whatever Benefits You Most
While both heat and ice can be beneficial for acute spinal injuries or chronic pain, it really depends on what you find most helpful. Some physicians only recommend using ice for the first 48 hours following an acute injury and then using heat. Whatever helps you feel better, go ahead and use it while you’re seeking long-term treatment.
5. Beware of Your Sleep Position
The position you sleep in affects your spinal health. People who sleep on their stomachs tend to have the worst back pain, while sleeping on the back is generally the best position. However, both side and back sleepers can benefit from additional pillows—for back sleepers, under the knees, and for side sleepers, between the knees—to help improve back pain and support spinal health.
6. Give Up Tobacco
If you smoke or chew tobacco, quitting could help your back pain. The nicotine in cigarettes and chewing tobacco hinders blood circulation throughout the body, which can slow down the process of healing, especially after an injury. Research consistently shows those who smoke experience greater levels of pain, including chronic back pain, than those who don’t.
7. Don’t Discount Counseling
Many people who suffer from chronic pain are understandably more at risk of experiencing anxiety and depression. If you experience chronic back pain, don’t discount therapy or counseling as a helpful strategy to manage your pain. People who participate in ongoing therapy often have a more positive outlook about their pain and feel better able to cope with their discomfort while receiving treatment.
Need Treatment for Back Pain? Our Pain Management Physicians Can Help!
If you’re experiencing acute or chronic back pain, don’t hesitate to seek help from the pain management physicians at Summit Spine & Joint Centers. We offer treatment for back pain that’s minimally invasive and targets the source of your pain. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified professionals at (770) 962-3642!