Living with Chronic Back Pain: How to Live with
One of the World's Biggest Health Problems
By Luke Douglas
Chronic back pain is something that a lot of people, unfortunately, have to learn to live with, and while that’s a pretty grim thought, at least it means that people have come up with all the different tips and tricks that make living with chronic back pain more bearable. So, from household remedies to medical aid, here are all the things that will help you stand up straight again and walk through life pain-free.
Find the right footwear
This cannot be stressed enough. The position of your feet determines the position of your spine, and it’s crucial to have footwear that supports you from your toes to the top of your head. First, let’s talk heels: for women, it’s probably obvious that sky-high heels are a no-no, as it will make you stand unnaturally and prevent you from standing for a longer time, which is one of the things that adds to the pain. However, going in the opposite spectrum and wearing something completely flat isn’t ideal either, because a small heel is what will keep your back in the best condition. It’s important to note that this is only a rule of thumb, and you should always stick to what feels the most comfortable to you. Also, moving from the outside of the shoe to the inside, ergonomic insoles that can be bought at Protalus.com are a must-have because the right arch of your foot will do wonders for the state of your back. Keep in mind that you might have to size up or look for wide-fit shoes so that you can comfortably place both the insole and your foot in there.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they have back pain is to just stay still and do nothing. It might seem tempting, especially if that’s the only state when there isn’t pain, but there are several things you are doing wrong there: unless you have acute back pain which is literally preventing you from moving, walking around and doing exercises prescribed by your physician will warm up and relax your muscles, decreasing the pain. In addition, laying down might make things worse, as long periods of laying down can make your muscles – especially the deep ones that hold your spine up – atrophy. This will mean even more pain down the line and a longer recovery period.
Know when to ask for help
If you’re living with chronic pain, it can be very easy to get numb to the pain levels and not recognize when the pain gets worse. But, this is crucial, because some pain can’t be just slept off or numbed with pills. So, when you feel a rush of acute pain make sure you visit a physician or physiotherapist and if your pain seems to be getting progressively worse and you can’t manage to live with it anymore, seek out a doctor like Timothy Steel who provides surgeries that will offer you long-lasting help. If you are taking any prescription medication for your pain, and you feel like it isn’t enough to manage, make sure you talk to your doctor about the medication and dosage and never self-prescribe or increase dosages on your own.
The importance of sleep
For people with chronic pain, day-to-day life can be exhausting, and if you are spending a lot of time on your feet or in uncomfortable positions, by the end of the day it can feel like your back is all but ready to give up. This is when you go to sleep and you have the entire night to recover – that is, if you don’t wake up in the middle of the night in pain. To get good quality sleep, you need to have good support – an ergonomic mattress that is firm enough to keep the shape of your spine intact, but soft enough to let you be comfortable. You will also need an appropriate pillow – something that will give your neck the correct support. All of these are trial-and-error situations, so keep changing your setup until you find something that is comfortable for you. You can also invest in an electric heating pillow that will keep your back warm while you sleep, because a cold back (especially if your shirt lifts up and your back is exposed) will only lead to more complications. As far as sleeping positions go, do your best to sleep on your back, or in a fetal position, but nowadays doctors will recommend finding whichever position is most comfortable for you and settling on that one.
Living with chronic pain can be frustrating, exhausting and above all, painful – but it’s something that you can live with. Today’s technology and medicine allows us to live a virtually pain-free life, and there are even long-term solutions. However, you must remember that nothing comes from laying around, and the absolute best thing you can do for your back is to do the exercise the doctor has prescribed.