Back pain is not an uncommon problem in the modern world, and there are many underlying reasons for chronic back pain. It is recommended in the latest treatment guidelines that the treatments for such pain start with natural approaches, free from any pain medications (including NSAIDs) or invasive procedures like back surgery.
That is because it is a common mistake that patients use pain relievers (even long-term, despite contraindications to do so) or invasive approaches before trying natural options, and as such tend to over-treat their low back pain.
Common Causes of Back Pain
There are many causes of chronic back pain but some of the common ones are described below:
- Arthritis of vertebral column which causes the progressive thinning of the cartilage inside the vertebral column.
- Spinal stenosis which is a condition in which narrowing of the central canal of the spinal column happens leading to nerve impinging and pain.
- Any disc problem such as disc tearing, disc fracture and a herniated or bulging disc.
- Myofascial pain syndrome. It is unexplained muscle pain and tenderness.
- Compression of the spine.
There are several non-invasive pain relief options you can try, such as:
Physical therapy is a very efficacious first step in dealing with common causes of back pain. A physiotherapist can provide you with individualised workouts, pain management techniques, body alignment postures and stretches that help relax tight muscles, which in turn enhances your spinal range of movement, reducing even severe pain and joint stiffness along the spine.
Many studies have proven that yoga is very beneficial for back pain, especially for lower back pain. Yoga also strengthens back and core musculature, which can then provide additional support for the spine and prevent strains.
In many cases, a person who suffer from any kind of physical pain can experience a worsening of symptoms during episodes anxiety and stress. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help the patient manage their stress levels and improve their reaction to pain. While it does not directly affect the underlying cause of the pain, it acts to reduce the perception of it.
Massage therapy can relax the muscles and thus helps reduce muscle pain as well as pain which is aggravated by anxiety and stress.
Chronic pain can cause both physical and mental stress. Meditation may help ease the psychological stress caused by the pain, while you also work on the physical symptoms in parallel.
Many people nowadays tend to consume diets that are rich in inflammatory substances like processed foods, refined sugars, and trans fatty acids. Instead, the focus should be on changing to a diet that is rich in nutrients that fuel your body and mind. Seek health information and medical advice from your doctor to know if your diet is a contributing factor towards your chronic back pain and how you can correct it.
There are certain foods you can incorporate in your diet to reduce inflammation on the spine. Some examples include:
- Bright coloured vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets.
- Fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines.
- Green leafy vegetables, i.e. kale, collards, broccoli, and spinach.
- Monounsaturated fatty acids, which are much healthier. That includes canola oil, olive oil, and avocados.
- Nuts, which include peanuts in moderation, walnuts, and almonds.
- Seeds for example pumpkin, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Maintain your Body Weight
It is very important to maintain your weight within normal limits of body mass index if you want to keep your spine in a healthy condition. Extra body weight exerts additional pressure onto the vertebral column. The back musculature is also strained by the extra weight and back pain can be triggered. Maintaining a healthy weight also contributes to pain reduction by relieving physical stress from your vertebrae and back muscles.
Get Enough Calcium
Calcium is the basic thing to consume in order to get strong bones, joints and teeth. Taking an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D helps in the reduction of chronic back pain caused by degenerative changes that leave a bad impact on bone density and strength, as is the case with osteoporosis. Foods rich in calcium include:
- Canned salmon and sardines with bones.
- Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt.
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Soybeans and tofu.
If you feel difficulty in taking enough amount of calcium from the diet, you can use calcium supplements with the advice of your doctor.
Address the Root Cause of Pain
Back pain is oftentimes caused by compression of the spine. Repetitive movements, long periods of sitting down slouching over your desk, straining your back, and lack of activity over time can all contribute to the process where the spine becomes pressed down due to external physical stressors, and lead to pain.
It is not just the backbone itself that becomes compressed, but other structures such as spinal discs, nerve roots, and even the spinal cord can become compressed, leading to the triggering of pain signals.
To correct this issue, it is possible to reverse the process through decompression therapy. You can decompress your spine from home with the help of an orthopaedic tool designed to fit the exact shape and size of the human spine. It is called the Backrack.