It’s no secret back pain is the number one cause of missed workdays. In fact, chronic back pain is the most common reason adults seek medical care.
According to the CDC, about 20% of U.S. adults in 2016 reported chronic back pain. Eight percent of U.S. adults experienced high-impact chronic pain that restricted their activities.
Unmanaged back pain can quickly impact your quality of life. That's why Dr. John Regan and our team at Spine Group Beverly Hills recommend you come to see us if you experience back pain. We offer a variety of treatments for back pain, including surgery, that can help ease your discomfort.
Not all types of back pain require surgery, though. Sometimes lifestyle modifications are enough. Dr. Regan can suggest the right lifestyle modifications for your specific needs. But until then, here are five simple changes you can make now to help relieve your pain.
Stretch more often
Believe it or not, weak core muscles can exacerbate back pain — especially lower back pain. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles in your back as well as your abdominal muscles.
In addition to working out, don’t forget to stretch. Stretching warms up your muscles and keeps them loose. Tight muscles are more prone to injury so don’t forget to stretch. Try adding a gentle yoga class or stretching session to your morning and nighttime routine.
Maintain good posture
Poor posture can exacerbate neck pain, shoulder pain, and even back pain. “Posture” isn't just about standing straight. It’s essential to maintain good posture while you’re sitting, standing, and walking.
Whether you’re picking up a toddler, bags of groceries, or heavy boxes, it’s essential to practice safe lifting techniques. This includes:
- Using your leg muscles to lift
- Holding the item close to you (rather than extended away from your body)
- Using both straps on backpacks
In addition, never twist your core while lifting.
Maintain a healthy weight
According to the experts at Harvard Health, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on your spine. Excess weight, especially in the belly area, can put too much stress on your spine.
Exercise can give up the two-for-one benefit of strengthening your muscles and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
Change up your sleeping position
Do you wake up with a sore or stiff back? Your mattress may be to blame. Your sleeping position can also impact your spine health. Worn out mattresses or too-soft mattresses don’t provide the level of support you need.
You can also try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees. This keeps your spine in a neutral position. If you’re a back sleeper, slide a pillow under your knees.
What to do if lifestyle changes aren’t enough
Sometimes lifestyle changes, like practicing good posture or lifting techniques, are enough to relieve back pain. However, sometimes back pain isn’t alleviated with lifestyle changes alone. If you have a degenerative condition, you may need more interventions. From PRP therapies to minimally invasive spine surgery, Dr. Regan is here to help you get the relief you need.
Don’t let back pain keep you from living your best life. To learn more about your options, visit our website and schedule an appointment at our Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, California, clinic.