Do you suffer from chronic back pain?

If so, you’re not alone. Back problems are among some of the most frequent complaints doctors see. According to a recent report, close to 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain when they visit the doctor. What’s more, around 16 million American adults suffer from persistent or chronic back pain.

But, chronic back pain doesn’t have to rule your life. Read on to learn the steps you can take to relieve chronic back pain.

Switch Sleeping Positions

The way you sleep can have a tremendous effect on your back. If you’re a back sleeper or stomach sleeper, it’s time to switch things up – literally.

Instead, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs. Keep your spine in a neutral position, and make sure you’re sleeping on a comfortable mattress. If you need to sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees. This simple adjustment can do wonders for your back pain.

Maintain Good Posture

Your parents were right when they told you to sit up straight at the dinner table! Poor posture can exacerbate your back pain, especially if you sit for long periods of time.

Instead of slumping over your keyboard, sit upright with your shoulders relaxed, and use the back of a chair to support your body. To account for the gap between your lower back and the back of the chair, place a pillow or a rolled towel there. Keep your feet flat on the floor as well.

Try Medication

Depending on the type of back pain you suffer from, your doctor may recommend one of the following medications:

  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can help relieve back pain. However, you should take these medications only as directed by your doctor.
  • Topical Pain Relievers: These may include creams, oils, or salves.
  • Muscle Relaxants: These are an option if OTC pain relievers don’t do the trick.
  • Narcotics: These may be prescribed as a short-term solution.

Some antidepressants can also help relieve back pain, such as duloxetine or tricyclic antidepressants.

See a Physical Therapist or Other Medical Professional

Many people who suffer from chronic back pain work with a physical therapist. A physical therapist can teach you exercises that will increase your strength and flexibility, and improve your posture.

Physical therapists also provide patients with information on how to modify movements to prevent pain flare-ups. There are other medical professionals you can see for your back pain, including chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, or naturopaths.

You can ask your primary doctor or physical therapist for recommendations.

Surgery

Surgery is seen as a last resort for relieving chronic back pain. However, surgery is typically reserved for patients who are experiencing pain related to structural problems, such as a herniated disc or narrowing of the spine.

If you haven’t responded well to other treatment options, you can talk to your primary physician about finding you the best back surgeon.

Time to Relieve your Chronic Back Pain

Now that you know how to relieve chronic back pain, it’s time to get started.

Check back in with us for more pain relief guides!