How to Treat Back Pain

Back pain plagues millions of Americans each year. Some sustain injuries putting their backs out of commission for short periods of time; others have chronic pain. With so many people in pain, it is important to understand that there are more treatment options than just medication. Among the most popular are yoga, physical therapy, and prevention.

Yoga

Although Yoga has been around for thousands of years, its benefits in the modern world are numerous. Yoga can be used to improve balance, muscles tone, and flexibility. It has been shown to improve many injuries, especially knee and back pain. Poses including up dog, down dog, child’s pose, and the warrior poses can be particularly helpful for in improving pain. Often, pain of the back is caused from a herniated disk or the spine being out of alignment. These poses accomplish two things – first, they help build the muscles around the spine and rib cage that contribute to good posture, and second, they help to realign the spine. America is a country of nine to five workers, many of who sit at a desk all day. Over time, excessive sitting compresses the vertebrae making it painful to move around and be active. Yoga can help decompress the spine.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be an effective way to relieve pain without going to extreme measures like daily medication or surgery. After receiving a referral from a primary doctor, physical therapist set up an initial evaluation appointment. If the pain is centralized, they may request that the patient get an x-ray or an MRI before coming in so they can see what is causing it. They will preform an assessment on the patient to determine how the injury interferes with their daily life and create a plan of action. Generally, they will show the patient a number of exercises that can be done to relieve pain and strengthen the surrounding muscles and have them to those at home. If the exercises require equipment, they will be allowed to return to the office and use their equipment throughout the week until their next appointment. As the patient’s injury improves, more difficult exercises will be assigned.

Prevention

The best way to treat such pain is to avoid injury in the first place. As mentioned previously, America is a sedentary country. Inactivity contributes to weaker muscles and bones, and therefore makes people more prone to injury. By meeting the basic activity recommendations by the government – 30 minutes of activity five times a week – the risk of injury is significantly reduced. Eating calcium rich foods make the spinal column stronger and less likely to break or crack. Staying thin will reduce the weight on the vertebras and make staying active easier. Picking up things off the floor by bending your knees will reduce strain on the back. Small things make all the difference in preventing back injuries.

Back pain plagues millions of Americans, but you don’t have to be one of them. By regularly practicing Yoga, going to physical therapy, and taking preventative measures, you can be pain free.