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A List of Effective Pain Management Solutions for Patients with Low Back Pain

Generally, a person can experience two types of pain: acute and chronic. Low back pain is classified as chronic if the pain persists for over 12 weeks, even after the underlying cause has been treated. In the United States, the prevalence of chronic low back pain has increased significantly in the past decade. This type of pain is debilitating and causes mobility impairments that can lead to disability. People with chronic pain are prone to depression and various mood disorders. Continuous low back pain can even spread beyond mobility problems and affect the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and pulmonary systems. All of these factors will ultimately lower a person’s quality of life.

Pain management is extremely important in these chronic cases. Assessing the pain in each patient is a critical first step to determine the suitable method of management and pain control. This assessment begins with analyzing the patient’s medical history, ascertaining their level and intensity of pain, locations, and expectations. Once the examination is completed, the proper pain management treatment can be recommended.

One of the main concerns in managing chronic pain is how the pharmaceutical route often provides little to no relief for low back pain. This is where more holistic and natural treatment alternatives come in. Here are the types of natural pain management techniques that have been proven effective in helping patients to cope with pain.

Low Back Pain Can Be Debilitating without Adequate Pain Management

Chiropractic Therapy

Low back pain happens due to overstraining of the lumbar area. Working in a sitting position for too long and anomalies in the spinal curvature such as scoliosis or kyphosis are two of the most common causes. Chiropractic therapy is done through spinal manipulations to restore the spinal nerve function and enhance the range of mobility. For low back pain cases, chiropractors often do the spinal manipulations manually. In the therapy, the chiropractor will employ a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust. This technique has been proven to provide an effective, long-term solution to low back pain, neck pain, and lumbar herniated discs.

Physical Therapy

While chiropractors help you relieve tension in your spinal muscles and improve circulation, a physical therapist (PT) will help you to safely increase mobility by doing passive exercises. Passive means they will assist you in moving the target muscle groups instead of you doing them yourself. Often referred to as physiotherapists, PTs are trained professionals that will also employ various massage techniques to relieve pain and restore strength.

Exercise

Regular physical activity is important to keep the muscles trained and relaxed and eventually, prevent pain episodes. However, people with low back pain should steer towards low-impact exercises. Exercising in water, such as walking in a swimming pool, is great to take off some the weight from the joints and may make exercise feel easier. Stretching exercises and low-impact aerobic routines can also be performed daily as a complementary treatment at home.

Heat Therapy

There is some proof that using hot or cold packs can help relieve pain. For low back pain, heat therapy is far more effective compared to cold therapy which mostly treats pain caused by inflammation. It is advised to apply moist heat to the painful area for 15-20 minutes. Hot towels, showers, and baths are among the most effective method of therapy. Sleeping on top of a heating pad can also help, but remember to set a timer to turn the pad off after 20 minutes.

Nutrition and behavior modification are other important aspects of pain management. A clean and healthy diet rich in fibers can boost the immune system and other bodily functions. Since low back pain is prevalent in office workers, correcting habits in the workplace can be a part of the solution. Try to mingle and walk around the office instead of sitting on your desk for hours on end, and avoid slumping while sitting.

Successful pain management is a combination of efforts by the health care provider, the patients themselves, and their families. The goal of pain management is to alleviate pain by improving every aspect of your life, and this is something that you must strive to do every day.

Sources
Noninvasive Pain Management Techniques, Spine-Health.com
10 Daily Habits to Stop Back Pain, Healthline.com