Chronic Low Back Pain – What can we do?
Chronic Low Back Pain – What can we do?
This article was provided by Dr. William Ross DC, a chiropractor at Excellence in Health Chiropractic & Rehab Clinic in Anchorage, AK. If you’d like to learn more please visit https://www.anchoragechiropractoronline.com/
Low back pain affects a significant portion of the population, in fact more than 80% of adults in the United States will experience low back pain at some point in their life. Back pain can affect our ability to go about our daily lives, and can threaten our most basic human functions and activities – so how can we prevent it from happening or getting worse?
What is the Health Status of Your Spine?
The MOST important thing we need to know to take care of our back is to know where we stand. Do you know the health status of your spine? To find out, you should visit a local chiropractor for a full examination – this will tell you where your starting point is, and the chiropractor will give a recommendation on what they can help you with, and what you need to do on your own to achieve or maintain a healthy spine. Checking in on our spinal health is important at any age!
Our spine is made up of a series of joints, and it is the motion in these joints that is critical to the health of our whole body. Motion is what keeps our discs alive, our nerves healthy, and also what feeds information to our brain so it can manage our body the way it needs to be managed. Loss of motion in these joints can create poor posture and unevenly wear out our spine, which affects the function of our entire body. Our spine is responsible for the protection of our nervous system, which is the master system that controls how our body regulates itself. We lose motion in our spine when we encounter all types of life stresses including sports injuries, falls, sitting too long, pregnancy, chemical exposure, emotional trauma – just to name a few. When our spines lose their healthy motion they begin to show signs of degeneration (this is also known as spinal arthritis), which affects how our nerves communicate the needs of our body to our brain and results in poor function of our cells, tissues, and organs. This poor function isn’t just an experience of pain, it can look like poor sleep, indigestion, anxiety, colic, as much more. In fact, with only 9% of our nerves transmitting pain we shouldn’t rely on pain as our only indicator of a problem. It is important to get your spine checked even if you haven’t noticed any symptoms – don’t wait for the pain to show up!
So, if improving motion in our spine is so important, how do we do it? By incorporating simple daily and weekly spinal hygiene health habits like stretching, yoga, proper nutrition, exercise, massage, and chiropractic adjustments it is easy to stay proactive about managing our spinal health. Check out the options available in your community to incorporate these activities into your schedule, often rec centers have great classes available at great rates. Alternately, there are many online videos and classes that make stretching or yoga easy to do at home. A few minutes every day will make a huge difference in the long term health of your body!
Note: Do you have an injury? Consult a professional prior to beginning any new exercise regime – often a medical doctor, a chiropractor, physiotherapist, or personal trainer can offer advice on how to best manage your injury.
When it comes to your diet, management of inflammation is key – especially if you are already experiencing back pain. There are a number of anti-inflammatory diet strategies that are available through a quick search on google or a look around your local library or bookstore.
Here are some general rules to follow:
- Increase intake of fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens
- Increase quality sources of Omega-3 fats (Wild fish, flax seed oil)
- Note: this may require investing in a supplement to get a high enough dose to manage levels of inflammation, check in with your health care provider on this one
- Decrease intake of dairy as well as processed meats and grains
- Avoid sugar (baked goods, sodas, candy, desserts, etc.)
- Ensure you are drinking enough clean water, for most people about 8 cups a day is a minimum (remember to add an extra cup for every caffeinated drink, like coffee or tea)
For a more specific and personalized diet plan, it would be valuable to meet with a nutritionist or a naturopath who can set a guideline, prepare a meal plan, and check for any necessary additional supplements.
*This article is advising on strategies to maintain or prevent a chronic back injury, this advice is NOT intended for an acute problem. Please remember to contact a medical professional immediately if you are experiencing a sudden significant change in back pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, or a loss of bowel or bladder function.
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