At least 31 million Americans suffer low back pain at any given point in time. If you’re among this population, you want relief so you can do your favorite daily activities without discomfort and dysfunction.
While medications, injections, and other more invasive procedures are sometimes necessary in times of trauma or severe spine disease, the vast majority of low-back pain can be alleviated with at-home and lifestyle changes. Read on to learn how you can manage your pain and make it go away with effective conservative means.
Achieve a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese makes it more likely you’ll suffer from low-back pain. Excess weight, especially in your midsection, shifts your center of gravity forward so you end up straining your back muscles.
At Vulcan Pain Management, Dr. Victor Mendoza can help you follow a healthy, well-balanced diet with proper portion control to support a healthy weight.
A sedentary lifestyle results in weak muscles in your core, poor posture, and increased low back pain. Being active helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, but also brings muscles into balance to support your spine and promote good back health.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-effort cardiovascular exercise daily to maintain healthy blood circulation and two to three short strengthening sessions per week. You might try weights (start light at first) or core-specific work such as Pilates.
Your tobacco habit contributes to degeneration of the disks that cushion the vertebrae in the spine. Nicotine interferes with blood flow and reduces calcium absorption so your body isn’t as good at growing new bone tissue. Heavy smokers who cough a lot or develop emphysema can also experience low back pain.
Change your workspace
If you have a sedentary job that has you spending a lot of time in a fixed position, such as hunched over a computer, explore ergonomic options for your chair, desk height, and keyboard to support better posture. Dr. Mendoza can suggest good choices that support better back health.
Also, change a pattern of repetitive sitting when you can. Yes, you need to do your job, but get up every 30-60 minutes to do a few minutes of stretching or walking. Give your low back a break to help it maintain good health.
Perform daily chores correctly
Acute low back pain can develop from simple activities, such as twisting to close a car door or moving the couch to vacuum. Be smart when you lift heavy items. If you have to pick up a big box, bend your knees and use your legs to pick the weight up. Keep the item close to your body with your back straight.
If you’re faced with an unusual chore, such as shoveling snow, go slowly. Twisting and lifting a heavy item — such as a big pile of the white stuff — can cause an acute muscle strain and serious back pain.
At Vulcan Pain Management, we want to help members of the Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, communities live a happy, pain-free life. Call us if you have low back pain that doesn’t respond well to lifestyle changes or if you have an acute strain that is seriously interfering with your quality of life.