It might seem astounding that for as many people who experience back pain in their lives, said to be 80%, not many specialists have a clear understanding of how to treat it. And anyone who has gone to a doctor for lower back pain will often become quite frustrated. Tests will be ordered, MRIs and CAT scans will be done, and there will be nerve impulse tests. When it’s all over you’ll probably end up with a prescription for a painkiller, or if you are unlucky a spinal fusion that will likely not fix the problem.
The success rate for spinal fusion is only about 25% and sometimes only adds to the disability. And one of the main reasons why people get prescription pain killing drugs is to try to only relieve the pain in the lower back. This brings on a whole new set of problems including overdosing or an expensive addiction. According to the US office of national drug control policy prescription painkillers in 2010 were responsible for over 16,000, which is over five times as many caused by heroin.
There are better ways however, especially if a person doesn’t wait until they’re sedentary or obesity sets in. Here are a few options available to almost everyone:
1. Stretching. Especially as we age stretching is probably the single most important thing we can do. Stretches that especially emphasize the legs and the core should be a part of everyone’s daily routine. I’ll point out one method, called the Egoscue Method that is a series of specific stretches tailored for an individual’s specific needs. It is designed to restore muscular balance and skeletal alignment.
2. Strength training. Any strength training exercises that build a strong core are going to help stave off back pain. Planks, lunges and squats will do the job, but you have to be especially careful to do them safely to avoid causing additional problems.
3. Massage. A good therapist will know in about 10 seconds where the problems lie if it’s a muscle-related back issue. Once identified they will be able to provide a lot of relief almost immediate by working those muscles. Just be sure to drink plenty of water to flush the system, and believe me that is important. Massage also will release endorphins to reduce stress and allow the muscles to relax.
4. Yoga. Many back pain issues come from lack of flexibility in the core area, and one yoga session a week has shown to reduce back pain even more than medication or physical therapy. If you’re not into full yoga sessions at least find out which yoga poses will promote flexibility in the back and core area.
5. Chiropractor. If you are suffering from chronic back pain it might be that something is just a little out of alignment. I have used chiropractors for other issues but not back pain, and I think they can be a great help.
I would use the methods cited here if I were just building up the back area, but would only resort to a chiropractor if I had specific, chronic pain issues. That said I would only resort to painkillers or spinal fusion after everything else was completely exhausted.