Chronic Back Pain and Solutions for Relief

Effective Approaches to Back Pain

Over 100 million Americans currently live with chronic back pain. Despite being such a common ailment, the roots of back pain remain elusive in most cases. The pain might be caused by muscles, discs, nerves, or a variety of other structures in the back that for some reason become injured or displaced. Muscle injuries in general are often caused by overuse, and this pain usually subsides spontaneously within a few weeks.

However, because the back is such a complex structure, it can succumb to other types of injuries such as bulging or rupturing of a disc, narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the nerves, misalignment of the joints that hold the spine due to arthritis or injury, and an array of other disorders.

Unfortunately, the long list of potential injuries means that back-pain sufferers must be patient and find a doctor who will provide a thorough examination and request X-rays or MRIs if he or she suspects anything out of the ordinary. Unless there is nerve damage, a tumor, or an otherwise obvious problem, determining the reason for the pain involves a long process of ruling out potential causes. Ultimately, it is important to determine how to find relief from the constant pain to maximize a patient’s quality of life.

Effective Treatments:

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that helps to relieve everyday lower back pain.

It was originally thought to work by freeing up clogged energy pathways in the body.  Today there is proof that acupuncture releases chemicals within the brain that work to fight against pain. Initially, try going to acupuncture up to three times a week to relieve chronic pain.

Many people seek a chiropractor to alleviate pain in the back.

The chiropractor can work to manipulate the spine in order to reestablish joint mobility. Force is manually applied to joints that have become stiff and painful due to muscle injury, inflammation and pain. This is thought to be effective in relieving muscle tightness and promoting the healing of tissue.

Capsaicin cream is a topical treatment that provides a numbing effect when applied over the painful area. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers responsible for the “spiciness” in certain foods. In creams, capsaicin may help decrease the activity of a neurochemical that transmits pain, providing relief from discomfort.  This cream can be found in drug stores as well as health food stores with a typical dosage of 0.025 % capsaicin, and it should be applied 4 times a day. It may sting or burn, so try wearing gloves to apply the medication.

More Techniques:

The Alexander Technique is a therapy that teaches individuals proper posture and helps to eliminate habits like slouching that can lead to pain and muscle tension.

There is significant evidence that suggests the Alexander Technique aids in the reduction of back pain. These techniques can be taught through a private session or in a group setting. In these sessions, an instructor will watch the way you walk and carry yourself and then coach you in order to correct bad posture as well as habits that may be contributing to the pain.

Try hypnotherapy to get the mind and body into a deep, relaxed, and concentrated state. Hypnotherapy is often used to make behavioral changes that contribute to health issues including back pain. It can also help improve mood in individuals suffering from chronic low back pain.

Gentle exercises such as tai-chi and yoga can significantly reduce chronic back pain. Light, low-impact stretches and workouts can help strengthen and stretch out muscles. The exercises help keep excess weight off of the body which relieves pain by removing unnecessary pressure and tension on the back.

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