Back pain is not merely inconvenient; it can incapacitate you and make everyday living painful and difficult. Statistics show that 70–80% of us experience severe or prolonged back pain at some point in our lives.
In addition to pain relief creams and stretching exercises to do at home, your doctor can prescribe heat treatments, braces, and medications. If you have stubborn or chronic pain and are open to complementary or alternative therapy, you can manage back issues whether your pain is in the neck or upper, middle, or lower back.
Always keep your doctor informed about any complementary therapies you decide to try, and make sure that any professionals you work with are appropriately licensed in their fields. A simple Google search will tell you all you need to know about certification and licensure.
Yoga and Tai Chi
The slow, gentle movements in yoga and tai chi stretch your back muscles and increase blood flow, helping to reduce pain. No matter which part of your back hurts, your instructor will know at least one pose to alleviate pain—and you’ll feel relief in minutes. Yoga and tai chi require little to no equipment, so you can do them anywhere you have a little room.
A physical therapist will not only show you exercises to reduce back pain, but he or she will also show you how to move to keep pain at bay. You’ll discover how to get up from a chair, walk, bend over, and pick up items correctly. He or she will also discuss how good posture will help your back.
When you work with a physical therapist, you’ll have exercises to do at home as well as appointments for therapy in an office or hospital. Physical therapists use a range of equipment and tools, such as stationary bicycles and heated pools.
A good massage therapist will soothe your back pain while working on the muscles that are causing you to hurt. When you meet your massage therapist, describe exactly where the pain is and how sharp it is so he or she will know which muscles to massage. Often, therapists work with essential oils and salves to further decrease pain and relax muscles.
Spinal manipulation is an excellent tool for realigning the body and reducing back pain, whether it is acute or chronic. As with physical therapy, your chiropractor may use a variety of tools to help you in the office and send you home with a list of exercises. Many people use chiropractors on a short-term basis, while others visit regularly even after the pain is gone.
An ancient Chinese therapy, acupuncture involves very thin needles inserted in specific areas of the body to balance the flow of energy and reduce pain. Back problems, as well as knee and elbow pain, are commonly treated with acupuncture, though not everyone will respond to the therapy.
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