Five Simple Tips to Help You Manage Your Back Pain:
1. While being overweight or obese has been shown to be correlated with a greater incidence of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, it has also been found to be one of the biggest contributing factors for the development of back pain. Since our bodies frame is designed to only carry a certain amount of weight, excess weight puts an immense strain not only on our spine, but also on other joints throughout our body. This excess strain has been shown to increase the rate of degeneration of the vertebrae in our back, leading to the early development of back pain. In addition to the degenerative effects of being overweight, those extra pounds have been shown to increase the odds of developing osteoarthritis, a herniated disc, and sciatica. Unfortunately, people who are obese also have a greater tendency to undergo unwanted back surgeries. So the next time you feel the urge to stop at your favorite fast food establishment, think twice and head home to get some of those fresh fruits and veggies.
2. Since the time that cigarettes were invented there has always been someone saying smoking is bad for you. While many people have heard that smoking increases the risk of cancer, these same people may be surprised to hear that research is showing it also contributes to the development of back pain. In fact, smoking is related to spinal pain in a couple of different ways. First of all, smoking has been identified as one of the main factors in causing atherosclerosis (blockage of the small arteries throughout the body). The spine and its related tissues such as the intervertebral discs primarily receive their blood supply and nutrients from these small vessels. As these structures become obstructed due to smoking, the tissues are unable heal properly leading to early degeneration and pain. In addition to the effects of atherosclerosis, the nicotine that is found in cigarettes has been shown to decrease the activity of the bone forming cells called osteoblasts. This can be considered another contributing factor to the spines decreased healing capability and as a direct result the presence of pain. These findings only give you another reason to quit smoking.
3. I bet you can still remember your parents yelling at you to sit up straight while at the dinner table or doing your homework. While you may have rebelled against your parents then, you should listen now; your posture has a large effect on your spine and the development of back pain. With the increased time people spend in the seated position at work or on the computer at home, learning how to correct your posture will go a long way in helping you obtain relief from back pain. The effects of poor posture range from putting extra strain on the discs,vertebrae, and muscles throughout your back to causing an increase in pressure on the nerves exiting the spine. All of these factors contribute to pain not only in your back, but also throughout other areas of your body. So the next time you think about slouching in your chair, sit up straight and follow your chiropractors advice.
4. Have you ever noticed that you back pain becomes worse when sitting in one position for too long? In fact, it has been shown through research that inactivity is one of the primary factors for the development of long term musculoskeletal pain. Not only does inactivity lead to weight gain (which causes back pain in itself), it also causes the structures that support the spine to weaken, resulting in a greater incidence of back pain. In addition to weakening, the muscles and discs throughout your spine tend to shorten as certain positions are maintained for long periods of time. Simply developing a daily exercise and stretching program can go a long way in helping you gain relief from your back pain.
5. While many people wait until they can hardly stand the pain to visit a chiropractor, it is important to understand that pain is your bodies last mechanism for letting you know something is wrong. While the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic for the treatment of low back pain is undebatable, many people are still unaware of exactly how chiropractic helps. Chiropractors simply focus on allowing the body to function properly, typically concentrating on the musculoskeletal and nervous system. While each patient is treated individually depending on their condition, chiropractors are skilled at identifying and correcting spinal misalignments. Since every message from your brain to your body travels through your spinal cord, you can imagine how important the alignment of your spinal bones is for protecting this important structure. While chiropractic has been shown to be one of the most cost effective treatments for back pain, chiropractors are even better at preventing back pain from beginning in the first place.
To get additional advice or learn more about preventing back pain, contact Pivotal Health Physical Medicine today to schedule a consultation and spinal exam.