Back pain is a common phenomenon, but good information about it can be hard to find. It's easy to be swept up in poor advice, confusing terminology, and uncertainty. As a back pain sufferer, it's important for you to take a deep breath, step back, and start from square one by getting informed. Whether you have a new diagnosis, or are exploring new options for a long-term case, you can benefit from the following tips for approaching your back pain:
- Act sooner rather than later
Just like most other diseases, back pain doesn't improve with waiting. You don't have to have money or even a doctor to get started on the right track, though! Some ways to act quickly on your back pain include finding a doctor (see #2), finding gentle exercises that relieve your back (see #3), and continuing to learn about why your pain might have happened.
- Get a complete team on your side
You should find a primary care physician who is committed to understanding your unique needs and answering questions. Once you find one, or if you already have one, it's time to ask them about referrals to specialists or other practitioners who can help handle your case.
An ideal complete rehabilitation for a back pain patient might include a medical doctor, a physical therapist, a chiropractor, and possibly more. Breaking the cycle of pain requires retraining, and there isn't one fix that will solve your complicated pathology in a day.
- Find comfortable movement activities
Bodies are meant to be moved, and generally, inactivity makes muscles and bones unhappy. Much pain is related to failure to use the body properly, and special core exercises are one way to start approaching this. By all means, rest is important, but in order to relieve your back pain for now and in the long run, you'll need to find ways to move your back so that it can get important blood flow, nutrition, relaxation, and stabilization it needs.
- Focus on your plan, not your problem
MRIs and x-rays are important tools, but in the end, they're just pictures. It's easy to get bogged down by labels and discouraged by diagnoses, but what matters much more is focusing on your goals. If you're preoccupied with your pain and it's causing you to have difficulty being motivated to work toward solutions and changes, talk with your doctor about a counseling referral.
- Be open to non-surgical treatments and possibly lifestyle changes
A change in your lifestyle is necessary, because if you don't change your bad habits the back pain will most likely not go away, and if it does it will just come right back again. Surgery may seem like a quick fix to some, and a last resort to others. But considering that surgery has a high failure rate when it comes to relieving back pain, it makes sense to try safer and non-invasive treatments first.
At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate everyone as much as possible about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!
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