My Top Six Things They Can Do at Home to Heal Your Back Pain…
1. Exercise Regularly…
About 25% of Americans are affected by back pain in a given year, and they spend more time at the doctor’s office for back pain than any other medical conditions with the exception of high blood pressure and diabetes. Nearly 80% of Americans will experience a back problem during their lifetime. Number one, exercise; exercise is crucial for people with lower back pain. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and combats fatigue, and can help decrease lower back pain. Exercise can help you improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints.
Exercise can strengthen your muscles around your joints, help you maintain bone strength, give you more strength and energy to get through the day, make it easier to get a good night’s sleep, make you feel better about yourself and improve your sense of well-being, and help you control your weight.
Being overweight has a strong link to lower back pain. Exercising gets your joints and muscles moving. This decreases stiffness and weakness in the lower back joints and muscles that can cause people to experience lower back pain.
Regular exercise increases circulation, which can lead to a decrease in pain. Arteries and blood vessels dilate and get blood circulated through them when exercising. This can pump much-needed blood and circulation into stiff, injured, or arthritic joints in the lower back and spine. Consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Certain high-impact exercises like running cause an increase in lower back pain. Switch over to low-impact exercises, like swimming, cycling, yoga, or even walking.
Often times the tendency, when we have back pain, is to not move as much
Many will use it as a reason not to exercise, and what you want to do the opposite. Exercising can help bring down the back pain if you can just work through some of the uncomfortableness. When you’re having lower back pain, if you can work through that by starting some light exercising, it can actually decrease the pain.
It doesn’t have to be overly-strenuous, I am talking about mild exercise…
There’s even been some significant research on just the benefits of getting out and walking. You’re getting circulation. You’re getting the joints moving. It can reduce your weight, which can lead to lower back pain. You don’t have to go out and run a marathon or become a championship body builder. Even light exercise can carry some pretty significant benefits.
What else can you do from home for their back pain?
2. Supplement Your Diet with Vitamin D…
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and vitamin D2, ergocalciferol. Cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can be ingested from the diet and from supplements. The body can also synthesize vitamin D in the skin when exposed to enough sunlight.
Synthesis from exposure to sunlight and intake from the diet are the main ways to get your vitamin D. A particularly interesting study published in Spine in January, 2003, looked at vitamin D deficiency in chronic lower back pain in Saudi Arabia. Believe it or not, a good percentage of the population, specifically women who wear burkas, do not get enough sunlight, which is your body’s main source of getting vitamin D. The study involved 360 patients, 90% women and 10% men, attending spinal and internal medicine clinics over a six-year period who have experienced lower back pain that had no obvious cause for more than six months.
The patients range in age from age 15 to 52 years old. The researchers used lab results to determine if the patients were deficient in vitamin D. Findings showed that 83% of the studied patients had an abnormally low level of vitamin D before treatment with vitamin D supplements. After treatment, clinical improvements in all symptoms were seen in all groups that had a low level of vitamin D. The study concluded that in 95% of all the patients, vitamin D deficiency is a major contributor to chronic lower back pain in areas where vitamin D deficiency is endemic.
Screening for vitamin D deficiency and treatment with supplements should be mandatory in this setting. Measurement of serum 25-(OH) cholecalciferol is a sensitive and specific detection of vitamin D deficiency and hence, for presumed osteomalacia and patients with chronic lower back pain. The Mayo Clinic reports that adults who have severe vitamin D deficiency may experience bone pain and softness as well as muscle weakness.
Osteomalacia (bone pain) has been found among the following people: those who are elderly and have diets low in vitamin D.
he good news about getting your vitamin D is that it is abundant in most parts of the world, and free. By getting small amounts of sunlight each day, one can raise their serum vitamin D levels. That’s vitamin D levels in the blood.
How much vitamin D should you be getting?
By getting small amounts of sunlight daily one can raise their vitamin D levels, otherwise consider supplementing with 1,000 to 5,000 IUs a day. Read More here on a prior bolg post I wrote about the bennefits of vitamin D for low back pain Raleigh Chiropractor’s Blog For Pain Relief With Vitamin D
Exercise may heal back pain?
3. Maintain a Strong Core…
What exactly are your core muscles? The core is a group of muscles which include the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, longissimus, thoraces, and the diaphragm. Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius muscles. The core is used to stabilize the thorax and the pelvis during dynamic movements, and it also provides internal pressure to expel substances such as vomit, feces, and carbon-laden air.
Weak and/or overly tight core muscles can result in painful spasms and suffer injuries themselves, which then prevents them from supporting the spine as needed. Compressed muscles can also lead to problems with bone structure and alignment of the spine due to poor posture from the weak or overly tight muscles. It creates an increased risk of back pain or lower back injury. Strengthening your core muscles can reduce the likelihood of back pain episodes, reduce the severity of back pain, protect against injury by responding efficiently to stresses, improve posture, and in some cases can help avoid back surgery and facilitate healing from a back problem after spine surgery.
I would suggest consulting with a chiropractor, physical therapist, or a highly-trained personal trainer. Most of these professionals are familiar with these types of exercises.
Here are a few exercises that can help strengthen their core, although I recommend you work with someone on these to make sure you are doing them properly.
-Plank Core Exercise
I wrote more on this in a prior blog post…read more here! Raleigh Chiropractor’s Advice on Exercise For Back and Neck Pain
Weight loss and less back pain?
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight…
Overweight individuals are at a greater risk for back pain, joint pain, and muscle strain than those who are not obese or overweight. According to the American Obesity Association, episodes of musculoskeletal pain, and specifically back pain, are prevalent among nearly one third of Americans who are classified as obese.
It’s more wear and tear on your back joints—on all of your joints, for that matter. Your hip, knees, spinal joints, and discs wear on each other with more pressure on a daily basis, and this leads to the joints wearing down faster.
I often explain to my patients, “Picture a hummer running around on a compact Kia car’s tires. The tires representing your joints, like your vertebrae, knees, and hips.
Those tires with all the extra weight of a big hummer are going to wear down at a faster rate and with more wear and tear than they would on the smaller Kia that they were intended to support.
Obese or overweight patients may experience lower back and sciatica from a herniated disc. This occurs when discs and other spinal structures are damaged from having to compensate from the pressure of extra weight on the back. Disc-related pain is the number one cause of lower back pain in all adults.
The discs in your spine are designed to absorb the weight of the entire body. It’s quite simple. If you are carrying around extra weight, these discs will likely wear out and suffer injuries at a higher rate than if you were not overweight. People are often at a much greater risk of developing osteoarthritis in the spine when they are overweight.
Considering all of the other health benefits associated with weight loss, if you are overweight and have lower back pain, strongly consider a weight-loss program. I tell all my patients to avoid diets. Diets do not work, in my opinion. Make a lifestyle change.
Being overweight also carries health potentially dangerous conditions, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased rate of heart attack. Losing weight is kind of a no-brainer. If you’re having lower back pain, it could be a good first step!
I hope you enjoyed this post…
In health…your Raleigh Chiropractor,
Dr. Jeffrey Gerdes, D.C.