Back pain is common yet potentially debilitating. In fact, back pain causes more disability globally than any other condition, according to a 2010 study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Roughly 8 out of 10 adults experience some form of back pain during their lives.
Fortunately, there are a variety of back pain therapies available that can be highly effective. Some of these are things you can do at home or even your office in your spare time. We can help you with other therapies for back pain at our health and wellness clinic in Cincinnati. Dr. Blatman has helped countless people heal from back pain and regain control of their lives.
Here are a few things you can do to feel better, followed by a number of approaches we can try at the office in Cincinnati.
What You Can Do
We understand. When the pain is severe, the last thing you want to do is move. But even simple exercises like a walk, light yoga, or light movement in a swimming pool can provide substantial relief. Exercise can help loosen your muscles. It also releases endorphins — natural painkillers produced by the brain. The truth is regular exercise can help both alleviate back pain and prevent future back pain. It is a powerful therapy for back pain.
Hot & Cold Compresses
A cold ice pack pressed against the shoulders or back reduces inflammation, providing substantial relief from back pain. Cold provides a relieving numbing effect for intense pain. Don’t have a cold pack? Pro-tip: Use a package of frozen peas, vegetables, or fruit. Do not apply for more than 20 minutes at a time.
A heating pad can also provide needed relief to sore or aching muscles. If you don’t have a heat pad, a hot water bottle, towel, or even a bag of rice heated in the microwave will suffice. Easy does it, though — don’t overheat the area. Heat is almost always a better choice for healing than cold. It is soothing, and it speeds up blood flow, metabolism, and the very mechanisms of healing.
Stretching exercises can provide immediate relief to back pain. Stretching that pulls on the ends of your muscles should be done slowly and gently…never into pain. Start by touching your toes. This bends your hamstrings and loosens the muscles in your lower back. Lie back on the edge of a couch and stretch your arms downward. This will also help to loosen the muscles in your shoulders and spine.
Sleep with a Pillow Under Your Knees
Sleeping on your back puts a stretch on your tight iliopsoas muscles. Many people do not have enough flexibility to lie on their back with their hips straight and not put too much curve into their lower back. By placing a pillow under your knees, you can relieve that pressure, allowing your iliopsoas muscle to soften. Elevating your feet while sleeping can also be a great therapy for lower back pain.
Eat Plenty of Calcium and Vitamin D
We’d recommend a dietary change. Make sure you are getting substantial amounts of calcium and vitamin D in your diet. This will help prevent osteoporosis — one of the most common causes of back pain later in life, especially in women. Make sure to eat plenty of leafy greens, fatty fish, and egg yolks. If necessary, you might consider taking vitamin D and K supplements. Milk from cows is not necessary and humans do not need to drink it. Humans are the only animals that drink milk after infancy, and we do not even drink our own. In addition, the Nurses NHANES study of more than 3,000 nurses showed us that those who drank more milk had more osteoporosis.
Buy New Shoes
We don’t often think about our feet when it’s our back that hurts, but the truth is a new pair of shoes can be highly therapeutic for back pain. Wear comfortable, low heeled shoes. Avoid shoes that are flat — this can put undue strain on your back if your calf and hamstring muscles are too tight. Make sure your shoes fit correctly and adequately fit your feet. If back pain continues to be a problem, consider working with a podiatrist or foot specialist to find proper footwear.
Use Ergonomic Devices
Back pain can commonly be the result of subtle but improper slouching or straining at a desk. Use ergonomic devices to modify your office space to help support your back. Make sure your computer screen is at a level so your upper back and neck posture is ok. Check to see if your chair is the right height. Adjust if necessary.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Exhaustion is a surprising cause of back pain. Poor sleep tends to make back pain worse and makes it harder for your body to tolerate pain. The average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
You might also consider switching your mattress. Sleeping on a mattress that is too soft can lead to back pain.
If sleep continues to be a problem, consult a doctor. You may be suffering from sleep apnea, which makes it difficult to get the deep restful sleep required for dreaming.
What We Can Do
Massage therapy can help relieve back pain by alleviating pinched nerves and increasing blood flow to the muscles of the back. In addition to undoing tense knots, massage can help reduce the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol and a neurotransmitter linked to pain. Massage also boosts the level of mood-enhancing serotonin.
Stem Cell Therapy
We also offer stem cell therapy for back pain, especially lower back pain. Stem cells provide the natural building blocks for healing, increasing the body’s natural healing processes. We harvest the stem cells from your own tissue or obtain them from umbilical and birth parts of healthy c-section babies, and then inject them to help your facet joints, or the knotted and injured fascia of your lower back and buttocks in order to provide relief. This treatment can provide pain relief as well as decrease inflammation. Stem cells can also increase your functionality and range of motion. Stem cell therapy is a powerful regenerative medicine that can provide wide ranging relief from back pain.
Platelet-rich injections can be highly therapeutic for back pain, particularly lower back pain. We inject your own blood that’s rich in bioactive proteins that promote and manage the body’s healing process. Your blood is run through highly specialized equipment that removes the red blood cells and concentrates your platelets in the plasma. This platelet-rich plasma substance is then injected into your back. It’s an uncomfortable process but generally tends to provide relief from back pain and lower back pain.