While I myself may not suffer from life-altering chronic back pain, I have many loved ones who do. In fact, my father suffered an injury many years ago which left him with prolapsed and bulging discs, all of which cause great discomfort. In the decades since his injury, he’s tried different therapies, some of which we talk about here.
When it comes to addressing chronic back pain, there are a variety of treatment options available. For some, one option may be enough. However, for most managing chronic back pain will take a combination of consistent treatments. It’s important to find what works for you as no two people experience the same type and severity of pain.
Here are some strategies that may help alleviate chronic back pain.
Stretches for chronic back pain.
Stretching is one of the best ways to help with chronic back and neck pain. Stretching helps to relax tight muscles, increase the range of motion, and improve circulation. When done regularly, it can also help reduce stress and tension in your back and neck muscles, which can lead to pain.
Here are a few stretches that may be beneficial for chronic back and neck pain.
- Neck releases.
Sit up straight on a chair or stool with your feet flat on the floor shoulder-width apart. Place your left hand behind your head with your elbow pointing outward towards the right side. Slowly rotate your head to the left, using your left hand as a guide. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Shoulder rolls.
Stand or sit up straight with your arms at your sides. Slowly roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion 10 times, then reverse and roll them backward ten times.
- Cobra stretch.
Lie on the floor face down with your legs extended behind you and your palms flat against the floor next to either side of your chest. Push off the ground with your arms while arching your back to open up your chest and shoulder area. Hold for 15 seconds before releasing and repeating 3-4 more times.
Another option for managing chronic back and neck pain is acupuncture. This traditional Chinese medicine practice involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points called “acupoints” that are believed to be connected to energy pathways in the body. Acupuncture helps to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and release endorphins that help with pain relief. It can also help relax tight muscles in the back and neck area that may be contributing to your discomfort.
In some cases, medication may be necessary to help manage chronic back and neck pain. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can provide short-term relief from mild aches and pains. Your doctor may also prescribe stronger medications if your pain is more severe. It’s important to take all medications as directed and never exceed the recommended dosage.
Physical therapy can also be beneficial in helping to manage chronic back and neck pain. A physical therapist can work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that targets weak or tight muscles, corrects poor posture, and improves flexibility in the area of discomfort.
Physical therapists can also provide exercises for at-home use that may help reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to the affected areas. Working with a physical therapist can help you develop habits and techniques for managing chronic back and neck pain on your own over time.
Herbal remedies, such as Delta 9 THC, turmeric and ginger, can also be helpful in managing chronic back and neck pain. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that helps reduce inflammation, while ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that may help relieve stiffness and soreness. Herbal supplements are generally well tolerated but can interact with certain medications, so check with your doctor before taking any herbal remedy.
Mind-body relaxation techniques.
Mind-body relaxation techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, and guided visualizations can be effective in helping to manage chronic back and neck pain. These techniques help reduce stress and tension while calming the body and mind. Regularly practicing these techniques can help you stay in tune with your body, recognize when something is off balance, adjust accordingly to prevent further discomfort, and find peace within yourself despite any pain or discomfort.
Heat or cold therapy.
Applying either heat or cold therapy to an area affected by chronic neck and back pain can help reduce inflammation and increase blood flow which in turn can provide temporary relief from discomfort. You should discuss with your medical professional which type of therapy would be most beneficial for your particular situation.
Stress can worsen neck and back pain, so it’s important to learn relaxation techniques to help manage your symptoms. Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery are all effective methods for reducing stress levels and relieving pain.
Have you any other ideas to relieve chronic back pain?
If you follow a combination of these tips, you may be able to better manage your chronic back pain. Remember to speak to your doctor about which approach would be best for you. Better yet, if you get the opportunity, work with them to develop a comprehensive, long-term treatment plan.