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Originally Posted On: 10 Quick Tips For Managing Spine-Related Pain | SimpleStepsForLivingLife
Persistent upper and lower back pain is a common condition in aging adults or people that have had an injury. Ways for managing spine-related pain could be possible. There are many potential causes of this pain, including:
Degenerative disc disease (what I have)
Pain caused by these conditions of the spine can range from mild discomfort to not being about to feel your foot(me before surgery) to debilitating. If you’re living with spine-related pain, here are ten ways to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. (Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any of these.)
1 – Follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Some foods can cause inflammation in your joints and muscles, exacerbating the pain you might be experiencing. Avoid refined sugar and carbohydrates, vegetable oils, seed oils, alcohol, caffeine, and casein. Instead, incorporate foods that have anti0inflammatory properties, such as berries, avocado oil, coconut oil, leafy greens, and fatty fish.
2 – Quit smoking. In addition to all the other health risks that come with regular smoking, studies show that nicotine causes inflammation. Ditching your smoking habit will not only decrease the risk of cancer but also reduce any back pain you may be experiencing.
3 – Do daily stretches. Stretching improves mobility and prevents back pain. You can do many stretches for the spine while seated, making them accessible for all levels of mobility. A simple 10-minute stretching routine that you are consistent is all you need to see results. Check with your doctor about best stretching or exercises specifically for your situation.
4 – Apply heat and cold. Applying heat will relax your muscles, and applying cold will reduce swelling. Each treatment should be done for a maximum of twenty minutes. Try both to see which works best for you.
5 – Replace old mattresses and pillows. If you find yourself waking up in the morning with back pain, your mattress may be contributing to the problem. A medium to firm mattress is generally best for optimal spine support. For upper back and neck pain, your pillow may be the culprit. Choose a pillow based on your sleeping position.
6 – Get active. It’s a common chronic pain misconception that exercise is bad for you. Taking just a half-hour each day to move gets the blood flowing in your muscles, improves your mobility, and prevents pain. A quick walk, aquatic lesson, and yoga are all low-impact ways to add movement to your day. Plus, this might help you gain muscle and lose weight which can help remove some stress on your back.
7 – See a physical therapist. A physical therapist can apply pressure to realign your spine. They’ll also give you exercises and stretches to complete at home between visits. Many people find this is all that is needed to reduce pain and discomfort.
8 – Talk to your doctor about medication. Sometimes, lifestyle changes aren’t quite enough. Your doctor may prescribe pain killers, such as acetaminophen, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs are complementary to an anti-inflammatory diet.
9 – Explore injection interventions. If other treatments and therapies aren’t working, your doctor may use injections to target the specific source of your pain. This treatment is usually a short-term solution. I have heard positive and negative things about injections. When I had my back surgery, my disc issues were so severe they skipped trying this and sent me straight to surgery.
10 – Talk to your doctor about surgery. If none of the above treatments are making a significant difference, it may be time to consider surgery. Clinics specifically for spine conditions and deformities, like the Southwest Scoliosis Institute, can consult with you to determine if surgery is a viable option for you. Be sure to research the surgery options. When I had my discectomy, I learned that doctors can take a couple different approaches to removing the herniated disc material. Some can have longer recovery times than others and some can have a higher risk than other. Be sure to speak with your surgeon regarding their specific approach.