Pain affects your life no matter where it stems from and people with chronic back pain know suffering all too well. It is the most common form of chronic pain, with over 31 million Americans suffering from back pain at any given moment. Back pain reduces productivity and it harms your quality of life. However, the good news is that chronic back pain can be successfully managed or treated.
Self-Management for Chronic Back Pain:
There are treatments, and we will get to them, which aide back pain relief, but here are some common steps you can take to help relieve pain.
Control Your Weight:
The lower back carries most of your upper body weight and is the most common site of back pain. So it makes sense that more body weight would mean more stress on your lower back. In fact, in order to compensate for extra weight, the spine becomes tilted. This uneven stress may result in your back losing natural proper support. Ultimately it can result in an unnatural curvature of the spine.
By controlling your weight, you reduce stress from your lower back. This, in turn, reduces lower back pain. While weight will mostly affect those considered obese (one-third of obese individuals suffer from back pain), any extra weight may cause pain.
Your body needs a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to stay healthy. A healthy, balanced diet is imperative for recovery should an injury happen.
As a general rule of thumb there are some things to keep in mind while attempting to eat healthier. The National Institutes of Health recommends the following basic guidelines for a healthy diet:
- Eat smaller portions
- Track portion sizes, meal composition, and nutritional content
- Reduce the number of calories you consume daily
- Choose nutritious meals that are lower in fat
The last self-management tip we give works best if supplemented with the first two. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and also strengthen your core and back muscles. These muscles provide good support for your spine and will keep your back properly aligned. Keeping your back aligned helps reduce pain.
You do not have to start off with an intense workout in order remain active and lose weight. A weight loss program with gentle low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming, can help.
Treatments for Back Pain Relief:
Chronic back pain, especially severe chronic back pain, may not go away with self-managment alone. However, there are drug-free medical treatments to help relieve your pain. With proper treatment, it is possible for chronic pain suffers to live pain-free.
Spinal Cord Stimulation:
Doctors have used spinal cord stimulators (SCS) since 1967. While SCS treats a number of conditions, they primarily manage chronic pain in the back, neck, arms, and legs. This pain may be caused by injury or may be due to surgery.
Spinal cord stimulation is unique in many ways and offers the patient a lot of room for flexibility. One reason patients choose to use stimulation is that it is temporary. If you are not happy with the stimulator or for any other reason, you can have it removed just as easily as you had it installed. The second is that it helps control nearly all types of chronic pain in the back, neck, and limbs.
Regenerative medicine is the use of one’s own stem cells or blood platelets to help promote healing and decrease pain. The procedure allows the body’s own mechanism to release growth factors to improve range of motion and quality of life. In particular, regenerative medicine helps the natural healing process of regenerating human cells, and repair damaged tissues or organs. This should be of particular interest for those looking for back pain relief.
At Metropolitan Pain Consultants we offer two unique forms of regenerative medicine: platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and bone marrow concentrate (BMC). The best part about both of these treatments are that they are very safe options.
Both therapies are quite similar in their approach and how the doctor utilizes them. For both PRP and BMC, a physician draws blood from the patient. BMC uses stem cells from hip bone and PRP uses blood drawn from the arm. The physician then places the sample in a centrifuge where it is spun and separated. Finally, using and ultrasound for guidance, the doctor will inject the patient at the site of injury. The healing factors found in platelet-rich plasma and bone marrow concentrate flood an injury and “jump start” the regenerative process. Healing leads to pain relief.
- BurstDR Stimulation
- Spinal Cord Stimulation: What You Should Know
- How to Beat Back Pain
- Chronic Pain: What You Should Know
- Regenerative Medicine vs. Cortisone
Finally, make sure you check with your physician before starting any diet or exercise regimen. Contact us at 201.729.0001 to schedule an appointment to discuss your back pain relief options. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. Moreover, our conveniently located clinics are in West Orange, Aberdeen, and Lyndhurst.