As one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, back pain is a well-known problem. If you have never experienced back pain, I promise you to know at least one person who has.
When it comes to treatment, there are several options for treating back pain. From pills to injections, to devices, you’ve likely tried some variation of all three.
If western medicine has tired you out, try a more natural approach. There is absolutely no guarantee that any of these will work, or how well they’ll relieve your pain, but one thing is for sure, it never hurts to try (still, use common sense).
The Mind-Body Connection & Pain
Our emotions are heavily tied to our pain levels. If you suffer from acute pain, you may or may not benefit from, or even recognize a need for a more emotional approach to dealing with pain. Unfortunately for those in chronic pain, the emotional experience can be overwhelming and ultimately make your physical pain worse. You may become irritable, sad, anxious, and even depressed. All of your worries turn into stress.
When your back pain is treatment-resistant (with medication), try these things to help:
- Meditation Gratitude
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help manage pain by focusing on changing the way you think and fighting stress levels, not so much by getting rid of the actual pain. Your negative thoughts may not worsen your symptoms but certainly will not help to improve them. CBT involves changing your negative outlook to a more positive one and managing the emotions that contribute to your concerns with pain. You will learn coping strategies and ways to adapt in order to feel the effects of relief.
Biofeedback is a non-invasive tool that uses electrical sensors to reinforce sensations in your body that will aid in reducing pain. Sensations are translated into data shown on a computer, allowing you to see your responses to sensations in real-time. With regular practice, you learn to control your response to painful sensations by visual association.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a tool that blocks pain signals by using electrical pads attached to your body, providing relief for physical back pain. Adhesive pads easily adhere to the area where you experience pain. A remote device connected to the pads allows you to control the intensity of the stimulation that it provides through the electrodes. The relief from using a TENS unit can be a great and effective way to dissolve your back pain, at least during the time of use. The sensations of relief are vibrations that range from pulses to tingling, to prickling in different patterns and rates that comfortably provide relief.
Chiropractor & Spinal Manipulation
At first, though, seeing a chiropractor or having spinal manipulation performed seems rather counterproductive in treating back pain. Doesn’t it hurt? Well, that’s a personal determination. It is however generally considered safe. Just be sure to consult with your doctor first if you have any other health problems or concerns.
Applying ice and/or heat to your back can provide great relief for back pain. You can choose either hot or cold, or alternate both.
Cold therapy is useful to reduce inflammation and will dull the pain you feel. Use these forms of cold therapy for no more than 20 minutes at a time:
- Reusable ice pack
- Cold towel
- Bag of frozen veggies (wrapped in a cloth to prevent burns)
- Icy Hot
Heat therapy is useful alone or alternating with cold therapy. Heat increases blood flow to the area where applied, loosening tension, and decreasing pain. You can use moist heat or dry heat; whichever is more comfortable.
- Heat pack
- Warm bath
- Warm towel
While these treatments seem simple, they can be very effective in treating back pain. Ditch the traditional medications and give alternative therapies a try!