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  • Writer's pictureJessica Frizzell, PA-C

6 Ways to Reduce Back Pain

Are you experiencing back pain? Unfortunately, it is a common ailment many of our patients encounter.

For some, back pain is more or less an interruption to their day-to-day activities. For others, it is debilitating and forces them to adjust their way of life.

When living with a rheumatic disease, it is vital to take steps to manage the symptoms brought on by your autoimmune condition. Back pain is one of those symptoms that can be difficult to remedy, but your efforts to decrease the discomfort are an investment in your future.

What can you do to help or prevent back pain? Let’s discuss 6 ways you can find relief:

1. Rest vs. Movement

There is a fine balance between resting too much and being too active. As a general rule of thumb, movement keeps the body going. It is crucial to not spend days on end with limited motion. Exercise is extremely beneficial when trying to manage pain, joint stiffness, muscle weakness, and inflammation.

When you are feeling back pain, listen to your body and take a break when needed. The key is to be mindful and aware of how long is too long - that fine balance element. Recognize when your body has reached its limit, but strive to remain active when you can.

2. Heat vs. Cold

Applying a warm heating pad on your back increases blood flow and improves circulation, and therefore, heat therapy is typically used to address stiffness and tension. On the other hand, using a cold ice pack decreases blood flow, which can reduce swelling and inflammation.

Some patients like the heat, and others prefer the cold. Oftentimes, it comes down to personal preference. It might even become a trial and error process to know what works best for your body. If you are unsure, start small. Try one or the other for a short period of time and see how your body reacts.

3. Proper Posture vs. Poor Posture

How do you hold your body (and back) while standing, sitting, moving, or lying down? Do you have poor habits and tend to slouch or slump? The Mayo Clinic explains:

“When you practice proper posture, you keep your bones and joints in alignment. This decreases the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces, reduces stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together and allows your muscles to work more efficiently. Good posture can also help prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and back and muscular pain.”

4. Negative Attitude vs. Positive Thinking

When you live with a rheumatic disease, non-physical problems tend to lead to physical problems. As crazy as it may sound, managing your emotions is a way to manage your back pain.

What are you doing to improve your mental and emotional wellbeing? You can give yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises a try. Perhaps the guidance of a professional counselor or therapist would be useful. Although it is impossible to avoid stress altogether, there is power in positive thinking.

5. Calling a Doctor vs. Managing at Home

What causes back pain? There is quite an expansive list of reasons. Back pain can be the result of something minor, like sleeping in an uncomfortable position or lifting too much. If this is the case, you can most likely care for the problem at home.

Other times, back pain can be the result of a serious problem. Seeking the help of a medical professional is a good idea when you have persistent back pain. A trained eye can help pinpoint the source of the pain, and from there, offer solutions to help the situation.

6. Come See Us!

At Paducah Rheumatology, we want to hear about all your aches and pains, including back discomfort. When we are given the whole picture, we can better develop a personalized treatment plan designed to meet your specific needs.

Our healthcare team is ready to help you feel your best! Give our office a call today.

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