Low back pain is the leading cause of pain in the U.S. Up to 90% of adults may experience some form of back pain in their lifetime. Thankfully, 90% of those cases of back pain are also treatable at home with some basic pain-healthy habits. This month on Inside Pain, we’ve rounded up our favorite back pain healthy recipes, exercises, treatments, and habits you’ll want to incorporate into your life.
16 back pain exercises that may help you
A recent study showed what we’ve known all along: walking is great for your back strength and flexibility! The new research out of Tel Aviv University found that walking could be as therapeutic for low back pain patients as physical therapy. We noted about the best types of walking:
“Faster walking allows more movement and motion in the spine, especially when swinging arms are added. This ups the aerobic ante, too, allowing not only for therapeutic relief of back pain but also cardiovascular benefits. Movement in the back and spine seems to be one of the keys to treatment, and another beneficial type of walking is that of hiking with a loaded backpack over varied terrain. Adding 20 to 25 pounds of weight in a backpack forces the body to remain upright to balance the weight, and the uneven terrain helps promote increased movement in the lower body, moving the spine and its attendant muscles.”
Once you’ve incorporated walking into your routine, try out these exercises for back pain:
- Three seated stretches that you can do at your desk that can help you maintain upper back strength and flexibility, while reducing pain.
- For upper or lower back pain, core strengthening exercises are a must to help prevent future flare-ups or reduce the pain that you have. We rounded up 11 back exercises that can help strengthen the back, increase core strength, and improve overall body conditioning.
- Yoga! Beyond its meditative and stress-relieving properties, some practitioners are now finding that yoga helps them with scoliosis-related back pain.
9 pain-healthy (and delicious!) recipes
As part of our commitment to treating the whole person when it comes to pain, we focused on some deliciously healthy, simply amazing, pain-friendly recipes on the blog this month!
- Eat This, Not That: Summer Crockpot Recipes: Love the crockpot, but don’t love the heavy soups and roasts that are often made in it? We found five great summer favorites made easy in the crockpot. We’ve got everything from canned jams to cajun boils to vegetable lasagna, all made in the crockpot!
- Grilled Honey Teriyaki Shrimp: In honor of National Grilling Month, we made an easy shrimp recipe, with a lemon, honey, and teriyaki marinade.
- Super Fresh Tomato Basil Soup: Need to use up some garden-fresh tomatoes? We’ve got the recipe here. It’s a simple and light take on the classic tomato soup.
- Pineapple Cilantro Slushies: Nothing says summer like a cold drink, pineapple, and a cute straw. This recipe takes a Southwestern flair with added cilantro and citrus.
- Ginger Steamed Baby Bok Choy: Six simple ingredients come together to make a perfect summertime side dish.
18 back pain treatments that could work for you
If you need more hands-on help with your back pain, you can try one of the devices from our “6 Back Pain Devices You Can Use At Home” post. Depending on the exact cause of your back pain, thermal devices, massage tools, supportive pillows, back stretchers, acupressure mats, or TENS devices might help alleviate some of your back pain symptoms. If back stretchers sound particularly good, we have five more of our favorites in our “How Do Back Stretchers Work?” post.
As we noted in the post:
“When used correctly, these types of products can provide you with relief from your back pain in the comfort of your home. You should also consider printing off information about a few and asking the opinion of a medical professional, like your physician, before beginning use. To avoid accidentally worsening your pain, be sure to follow all instructions carefully.”
Likewise, in our post on transdermal magnesium, we looked over the recent research related to magnesium deficiency. We found that:
“In 2009, the World Health Organization published a report indicating that 75% of adults are not getting the recommended levels of daily magnesium, with one in five adults getting less than half of what they need.”
Magnesium deficiency can lead to insomnia, headaches, constipation, fibromyalgia, and anxiety, among other conditions. Because of this, we discussed some of the ways you can increase magnesium in your body. Dietary supplements don’t generally work, but transdermal (through the skin) methods show promise. It’s a great excuse for a long soak in an Epsom salt bath.
Other back pain treatments and preventions that we discussed in more detail on the Inside Pain blog this month included:
- Reducing the amount of time you sit during the day to improve spine health
- Quitting smoking, as smokers have three times the likelihood of developing chronic back pain than non-smokers
- Receiving acupuncture treatments, which have been shown to help reduce back pain
- Incorporating mindfulness practices into your everyday routine to reduce stress and pain perception
- Practicing good form when you head out for a game of golf
- Talking to a counselor if you also suffer from depression along with your back pain (there’s a proven link between these two conditions)
Talk to your pain doctor
While there are almost as many treatments for back pain as there are people who suffer from it, your pain doctor is an expert in her or his field. With a pain doctor’s help, you can find the treatment that best helps alleviate your back pain and improve your quality of life. Talk to them about the options we’ve discussed on the Inside Pain blog to find those that work best for you. You can find your nearest pain doctor today!
What has helped you reduce your back pain?