Pain is a problem that many of us have to experience in our life. In some cases, pain may be beneficial, such as the pain we feel when we touch something hot that lets us know to take our hand away. On the other hand, there are certain types of chronic pain that can affect our quality of life in ways that those who don’t suffer can’t even imagine. That is the case with those who suffer from back or sciatic nerve pain.
A problem with this type of back pain is not uncommon. In fact, about 10% of the population suffers from this type of pain and it is the top reason why people miss work. The problem can occur in anyone but it tends to take place more in those who live in the United States. In fact, eight out of 10 Americans are said to struggle with back pain and it is an issue that is closely associated with much of the painkiller addiction we hear about on the news.
Most people who suffer from chronic lower back pain don’t realize that sitting too long, standing too long or lifting things improperly could lead to the issue. They typically only learn about those possibilities after they have the pain.
Many doctors will prescribe an opiate drug as the first line of pain treatment. Those doctors may not let you know about exercise for back pain, leading you to believe that medication may be the only option available.
What causes back pain?
Back pain is often triggered by something specific. Understanding what triggers the pain can help you to avoid the problem but in some cases, those triggers may be misidentified. According to research, two-thirds of patients who suffer from lower back pain feel that there is a specific issue that caused the back pain, such as lifting a heavy load.
What you may not realize is that lower back pain may have been triggered before the discomfort occurs. There actually may be a number of triggers that could include everything from sex and alcohol consumption to distractions during physical tasks.
You may also find that sports injuries and accidents are a common cause of chronic back pain. Along with those common problems are poor posture, inactivity, stress, and obesity. All of those issues could increase your risk of back pain.
It is not only about knowing what causes your pain but it is also about understanding how to avoid it from coming back again. You also need to know what to do when the pain strikes.
One of the options is to use a tennis ball. This video will show you how to relieve sciatic nerve pain:
In most cases, back pain will resolve on its own within a few weeks even if you don’t get medical treatment. There are certain ways, however, to speed up the process.
One of the things that you can do is to relax your body and mind when the pain first strikes. You might also try applying ice or chiropractic and acupuncture.
Some try anti-inflammatory herbs instead of prescription painkillers. Ginger and curcumin are common examples.
You might want to look beyond the physical aspects and address your emotions. If you suffer from depression and anxiety you may not be able to heal as quickly. If you have pain, it may be a sign that your emotional problems are getting the best of you.
Most people are not aware of the impact that their thoughts and emotions can play in pain. The central nervous system has a memory and if you have pain that lasts more than a few minutes it will remember it.
Those memories may persist after the injury has healed or the injury may recur when it shouldn’t. You have to retrain your brain using emotional freedom techniques or other mind-body techniques in such a case.
EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman shows you how to relieve pain with EFT:
Sciatic pain can be an extremely excruciating issue. It occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched and it can send pain, numbness and tingling down the legs.
Many people use stretching exercises to reduce sciatic pain. The sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis, which is a muscle located deep in the glutes. When it gets too tired it can pinch the sciatic nerve and result in those problems. If you stretch the piriformis, it may help with some of the pain. There are 4 different exercises you might consider:
1. Piriformis stretch
2. Seated hip stretch
3. Pigeon pose
4. Self-trigger point therapy using a tennis ball or foam roller
You can use this one-minute daily stretching routine to help with sciatic pain:
There may be a number of other treatment options available for sciatica. Those treatments may include the following:
Chiropractic – according to a 2010 study, 60% of those with sciatica that received chiropractic care three times a week experienced a degree of relief.
Acupuncture – this has also been shown to help individuals who suffer from sciatic pain. It may take 12 treatments or more to see improvement but many people find that it helps.
Yoga – the stretching associated with yoga may help to relieve some of the sciatic pain you are experiencing. It may take 16 weeks to experience the relief but it is likely to occur.
Pilates – a study associated with older women who had back pain showed that Pilates along with nerve stimulation can help with this type of pain.
Trigger point massage – this type of therapy applies firm pressure to the points of the piriformis as well as the glutes and lower back.
Topical preparations – a number of anti-inflammatory oils and liniments applied directly to the area may help to reduce inflammation and pain.
One important thing to consider if you suffer from back pain is avoiding sitting too long. If you do need to sit, you should maintain the proper posture. This will help with your lower back as well as with pain that may be associated with your shoulders, neck and upper back.
Many people who have to sit on a regular basis at work find that a standing desk may help to reduce the pain as much as possible. Experimenting with this can show a significant amount of improvement. It may not be possible to stand for hours at the time but when you reduce the amount of time that you sit to an hour or less, it can make a difference.
If you stand for an extended amount of time to avoid sitting, try using a cushioned grounding pad. You can also get a stand-up desk so that you can enjoy the benefits of standing without having an impact on your performance at work.
You can watch this video to see how a typical home office stand-up desk works:
It seems that the human body was not designed for strenuous activity on an ongoing basis. It was also not designed to sit continuously. If you stand and do a more gentle activity, it can help by having an impact on your overall health and potentially the amount of pain you are experiencing.
Sometimes, it is easier to prevent a problem than it is to treat it. These prevention exercises may benefit those who are already suffering from back pain.
Exercise – adding physical activity into the mix can help to strengthen the muscles that support the spine. High-intensity exercise is the best choice because it allows you to make the most of the time you spend exercising. You only need to do that type of exercise one or two times per week.
Posture – it is very important to maintain the proper posture, especially if you are sitting down. We tend to spread our weight out when we stand but when we are sitting, we tend to slouch or perhaps bend forward to get closer to the screen.
Vitamin D and K2 – when you optimize your vitamin level it can help to keep your bones from softening, which may be a precursor to low back pain.
Grounding – this involves grounding yourself to the earth and is sometimes referred to as Earthing. Doing this may help to reduce inflammation and reduce the amount of pain that you are experiencing. It can also increase the function of your immune system which can help with your overall health.
Psychological factors – you likely already realize that the pain you are experiencing is closely associated with your emotions. Believe it or not, there is a lot of evidence that backs it up. Using mind-body techniques can help with severe lower back pain and increase your odds of getting beyond the problem.
K-laser treatments – any type of infrared laser therapy can help to reduce inflammation, pain and speed healing. It affects the bones, muscles, ligaments and everything within the body. Using a K-laser allows the area that is suffering to be targeted specifically.
Hydration – your body is made up of water so staying hydrated can help to reduce the pain and injuries you are experiencing.
Sleep – it is not only important to get enough sleep, you need to avoid sleeping too long. Sleep on your side to reduce the curvature of your spine and do some stretching exercises before you get out of bed.