Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates

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Managing Chronic, Long-Term Back Pain

Long-term pain is not only physically exhausting, but it’s also mentally challenging. Lower back pain sometimes seems like it just won’t end, and pain management is vital for conducting your life as normally as possible.

If you’ve suffered for some time with this back pain, your doctor is likely to start you on a treatment plan. That plan may include interventional injections, or nerve blocks, and various medications aimed at reducing pain. Luckily, you can undertake certain measures that can complement the treatment plan.

Apply Ice and Heat

If your pain is due to an injury, you can find relief from applying ice and heat packs to your lower back. Ice can help reduce inflammation and pain, so apply an ice pack with a towel over it to the affected area for 20 minutes, several times a day.

Heat packs can improve blood flow and relax your muscles, or you can try soaking in a warm tub for the same effect. With both kinds of packs, make sure they’re properly covered to avoid burns.

Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are generally safe to use and can be applied topically or put into a diffuser to scent the air. Different oils are more effective for different ailments, so it’s vital that you know what can help specifically with your back pain.

Wintergreen in particular can be soothing, but lavender, vetiver, frankincense, and similar oils can soothe excited back muscles as well. Oil blends can be even more beneficial, as they use the pain-relieving properties of multiple oils at once.

Do Yoga

The back pain that still nags you could be lessened with more dedicated, regular exercise. In fact, research has revealed in at least one study that three months of yoga practice may lower people’s pain and fatigue. Your lower bank could benefit from the many stretch poses of yoga, and a regular practice may have other health-related benefits that will become evident as you take each class.

Lose Weight

You may never forget that you’re carrying belly fat around all day if you’re overweight. But far beyond affecting the way that your body looks in clothing, extra weight can also weigh down your body and affect joints and muscle groups. All your muscles in your back could be affected by additional fat — your back muscles are straining regularly by the extra weight. Of course relief is needed.

To that end, healthy food and diet intake is vital to good back health. You may need to cut down on your pie, pasta, soda, and cake so that you can drop enough pounds and relieve your back of the additional work.

Rethink Your Shoes

For many women, high heels complete a fashion look and they’ve grown used to them. Unfortunately, however, those heels can cause feet to ache. What’s more, any pain from the feet and legs can affect muscles in the lower back region. If you don’t ever seem to be getting anywhere with pain relief, your shoes could be the culprit.

Soak in Float Tanks

Sometimes called “sensory deprivation tanks,” float tanks are cropping up around the country. In these tanks, you float in many pounds of Epsom salts or other magnesium salts.

Magnesium, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, can be effective for easing the kind of pain you’ve noticed in your lower back. Floating also relieves the hips, back, and legs of any sensation so that pressure isn’t on those areas. For many people, sessions in float tanks are often followed by intense calm feelings.

Evaluate Your Sleeping Situation

For some people, back pain is merely a symptom of another comfort or health issue. For example, your bed might be older than you even remember. This can mean that it’s not protecting your back as it did in the past. Foam toppers or wedges to nestle you in a comfortable position could result in lower overall feeling of pain.

Try Physical Therapy

If you have tried several different treatment methods and have had little success, try receiving physical therapy. Therapists can work with you to improve your posture when standing, sitting, and moving, which might help your chronic pain ease over time. They will teach you exercises to strengthen your core muscles, improve your flexibility, and increase your endurance, all of which can reduce lower back pain.

Consult Your Physician

Your doctor knows what treatment plan is best. If you continue to have problems that keep you from enjoying life, discuss with your doctor what additional treatments they can recommend that will complement their treatment plan.

Pain management for long-term back issues can be easier when you’re utilizing the techniques and pain-reducing ideas here. Of course, you should share anything you try with your healthcare provider. Consult Southwest Florida Neurosurgical & Rehab Associates for direction about the best treatment options for your back.

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