Back pain is a big deal. I've seen how patients suffer with it. I've heard the stories about missed work and lost wages. I know the toll that back pain takes - physically, financially, and emotionally.
Today I want to share five pain-relieving strategies with you that I've seen work successfully in my practice.
I saw a patient just the other day that was at her wits end. She asked me about surgery, but I reserve this option only for when the back is seriously injured. I suggested she explore some other options that are safer, less expensive, and effective ways to treat back pain.
1. Take a Vitamin B Complex:People with healthy vitamin B levels are less likely to experience chronic pain. Different types of vitamin B relieve pain in different ways. If you have ongoing back pain, adding a vitamin B complex may help to reduce your symptoms.
2. Visit Your Chiropractor: Many people, especially doctors in my profession, question the value and safety of chiropractors. But, according to research reviewed by Orthopedics Today, chiropractic medicine has a high level of patient satisfaction and a low risk of side effects. Often back pain can come from misalignment in your spine. A chiropractor can help you restore your mobility and reduce your pain. I do offer one bit of cautionary advice when seeking a chiropractor - choose one who recommends stretches to prevent a recurrence of the condition.
3. Make Stretching a Part of Your Daily Routine:Regular, gentle stretching can help to prevent injuries and may offer some pain relief throughout your day. If you have a Yoga center near your home I suggest this form of exercise as a great way to help stretch those back muscles. If not, here's a good and easy stretching exercise to alleviate and in some cases eliminate back pain!
For the lower back, I recommend that you lie flat on the floor on your back. Bend one leg at the knee so that your foot is flat on the floor. Extend the opposite arm out to the side, letting it rest on the floor. Look in the direction of your arm. Gently let your raised leg fall over your straight leg. Do not force the stretch past the point of comfort. Hold the stretch for four deep breaths.
For the upper back, sit in a chair and give yourself a hug. Do this by grabbing your opposite shoulder with each hand. Holding your shoulders, look down. Again, hold the stretch for four deep breaths. When you do this, one arm will be above the other. Once you complete the stretch, switch so that the other arm is on top and repeat the stretch.
Ask your chiropractor or orthopedic doctor for additional stretches.
4. Take Melatonin Before Bed:There are a number of studies that show taking melatonin before falling asleep at night can reduce pain caused by a number of things. One animal study suggests that melatonin may not only relieve back pain, but may promote healthy tissues in the spine.
5. Take an Omega-3 Supplement:Omega-3 fatty acids have proven anti-inflammatory properties and can play an important role in pain management. They are also good for your heart and will give your mood a lift, so you've got nothing to lose by trying this supplement.