Chronic back pain is a major cause of disability in the US. Although many people recover fully from back injuries, others struggle with common pain, sometimes for years. To make matters worse, the common treatments that have been prescribed in the past, most notably oxycodone, carry substantial health risks like addiction and even death. The so-called opioid crisis that has ravaged working-class American neighborhoods was largely fueled by the overprescription of these types of heavy narcotics to chronic pain patients. What causes chronic back pain and what can you do about it?
Chances are that if you have watched any television during the day, you may have noticed the large amounts of advertising for car accident attorneys. That’s no coincidence—car accidents injure millions every year. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that 4.4 million people experienced significant injuries in 2019.
Safety technology has advanced in cars, but not to the extent that it prevents back injuries. Basic precautions like always wearing a seatbelt to avoid whiplash in case of an accident and avoiding driving while impaired can help prevent car accidents and, potentially, back pain that could result. If you have been injured in a car accident, physical therapy is a good option for recovering full function and limiting pain. Many physical therapists specialize in treating car accident victims.
Injuries on the job contribute to the development of chronic back pain. This is most common in industries and occupations that require extensive heavy lifting such as construction. Companies are legally required to ensure their workers in case of injury. Worker’s compensation is the money that employers must pay to support the treatment and recovery of workers who hurt themselves on the clock. Interventional pain specialists can help you recover full function and remain pain-free following a workplace injury.
Excessive body fat puts a heavy strain on the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the body, including the spine. While there are ways to strengthen your spine to accommodate the weight, working with a dietician to find a healthy weight loss diet is generally more effective. Eliminating excess weight can improve pain symptoms in overweight people who also experience chronic back pain.
When your mother told you to stand up straight, the reasons went beyond proving respectability to the neighborhood—good posture actually protects against chronic pain. As humans, we are physically designed to stand erect. To correct your posture, stay mindful of the position of your body. Physical therapists can recommend exercises specifically designed to improve poor posture.
Institute these changes in your life today to achieve reduced back pain. Of course, any attempt to treat your own condition should be done with the supervision of a professional, whether that be a chiropractor, dietician, or pain management specialist. Remember, it’s easier to fix your back pain right the first time around than to have to fix any home-remedy side effects later.