Are you suffering from low back pain?  If so, weighing the risks and benefits of medication can be tricky.  Nobody wants to suffer in unnecessary pain.  For short periods of time, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (i.e., aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen) and prescription drugs can provide some relief to help us function in everyday life until the injury heals. But for chronic pain that lasts an extended period of time, it’s wise to examine the side effects and risks of prolonged medication usage for low back pain and determine some alternatives to getting you back to a  healthy body.

The list of possible side effects from long-term use of medication can be rather frightening and includes such ailments as stomach bleeding, ulcers, kidney damage and dysfunction, iron loss, gastrointestinal irritation, blurred vision, drowsiness, headaches, dizziness and worse; the list is nearly endless. Some nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and other medications can increase the negative side effects and even interfere with the pain-relieving performance of these medications. To make matters worse, when someone takes a pain reliever over a long period of time, people can become resistant to the effects of the drug, causing them to want to increase the dosage, only to discover that the pain-relieving benefits decrease over time as the side effects increase.   

But there is hope.  Taking a more holistic approach to lower back pain can reduce the need for prescription medication and improve the quality of life for patients who suffer from chronic pain.

  • Movement is extremely beneficial!  It may sound like that last thing you want to do, but exercise, including strength training and stretching is one of the most effective treatments for back pain. Weakened muscles in the body’s core (those muscles in your abdomen and low to mid-back) make it difficult to move through life without pain.  
  • Reducing stress and tension are also helpful.  When you feel the stress building, slow down your breath or take a short walk.  When the body is tense and tight, blood can’t flow easily through muscle fibers and toxins can become trapped leading to back pain and other physical problems.
  • Workplace ergonomics are another factor to consider. Do you sit all day?  Or perform a repetitive motion in your work?  Many office workers have replaced their desk chair with an exercise ball or standing desk in order to keep their hips rotating freely and get passive exercise that strengthens their pelvic muscles, leg muscles and the lower back.
  • Losing weight also helps.  Carrying extra weight around puts extra work on our muscles.    Pay attention to your nutritional needs and drink plenty of water (the only beverage with no calories or artificial sweeteners).  Rapid weight loss isn’t healthy, so avoid fad diets. It’s more sustainable to add healthy habits instead of subtracting your favorite vices.  
  • Correcting your posture is another approach.  Consult with physical therapist to learn about your specific posture issues. Good posture can help you breathe easier and move better, reducing pain and stress on the joints and muscular system.

To find out more about healing from low back pain please contact us.  The Telespine program can be a great addition to your holistic approach for reducing back pain and increasing productivity through health and wellness.


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