Lower back pain is unfortunately common, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every patient. However, with the right diagnostics and care plan, you can find the approach that works best for you to help alleviate your pain and get back to doing the things you love!
There are many reasons someone might suffer from lower back pain. A pinched nerve or a protruding disc could cause discomfort. Patients may even have surgery to fix a bulging disc but still experience pain—this is what’s known as post-laminectomy syndrome, or failed back surgery syndrome.
Poor posture, a sprain or torn muscle, arthritis and compression fractures can all cause lower back pain. Whether your back pain is chronic or acute, here are some overlooked remedies to help relieve your discomfort.
Improve Your Posture
Maintaining proper posture is one the simplest things you can do to help relieve lower back discomfort. When sitting at a desk, keep your back straight and your eyes level with the screen to prevent slouching. Your knees should be at a right angle, with both feet flat on the floor.
When walking, stand up straight, keeping your head up to avoid stooping, and keep your shoulders back yet relaxed. Your chin should be about parallel to the floor. If you find yourself sitting most of the day, be sure to take regular breaks throughout the day to get up and walk around to help maintain proper posture.
Exercise plays a central role in the health of your spine because it helps strengthen the muscles that support your back and keeps your bones strong. That’s why daily exercise can be such a gamechanger for people with lower back pain, and it’s often one of the primary treatments that a pain and wellness center will recommend as part of spine care protocol for patients.
Getting exercise serves another role when it comes to relieving discomfort: it releases endorphins. Endorphins are natural chemicals your body releases that relieve pain and improve your mood. So exercise can not only help relieve pain, but anxiety and depression as well, which often accompany chronic pain.
Any type of exercise can be beneficial. Your doctor can work with you to help you discover safe and effective forms of exercise you can enjoy while still relieving pain.
The relationship between stress and the body is complex. On one hand, stress can help us respond better to life-threatening events, avoid injury and even save our lives. But too much stress on a daily basis, called chronic stress, can take a big toll on the body.
Chronic stress can make pain worse by affecting sleep, increasing muscle tension and releasing cortisol, a stress hormone that can aggravate existing pain conditions in the body. By managing your stress, you can help support physical and mental health that can go a long way towards relieving chronic pain.
People who experience chronic pain often have trouble sleeping, especially those who live with post-laminectomy syndrome and lower back pain. At the same time, not getting enough sleep can make your spinal discomfort worse, so prioritizing sleep and putting steps into place to get more and better sleep is important.
Some practices that can help improve your quality of sleep include:
- Reducing or eliminating caffeine and sugar intake at least two hours before bed.
- Exercising during the day.
- Installing blue light filters on your phone, tablet or television, as blue light can mimic natural sunlight and make your body think it’s time to stay awake.
- Keeping your sleeping space cool and dark, if possible.
- Going to bed and waking up at the same times.
- Avoiding taking naps during the day.
You can also talk with your physician about trying a sleep medication if you’re unable to sleep due to your pain. Often, improving your sleep can help improve your pain, which can in turn allow you to sleep better, so medication may help break the cycle!
Contact Our Pain & Wellness Center
If you’ve been experiencing lower back pain with no relief, it could be time to schedule an appointment at a pain and wellness center. Contact Summit Spine & Joint Centers today to schedule a virtual or in-person visit with one of our board-certified physicians. Call us at (770) 962-3642 or schedule an appointment online!