They say there are two kinds of people: those with back and those who will have back pain. Most people will have some degree of back pain at some point in their lives. As if back pain isn’t bad enough, some people become addicted to opioid painkillers either because of the pain itself or because of an intervention for the pain. And after you get treatment for the addiction, the pain may still persist. Although back pain is often difficult to treat effectively, there are some things you can do that might help to some degree. If you have structural damage to your back or spine, be sure to ask your doctor what’s safe for you to do. If your back just hurts for some reason, here are some things you might try.
Strengthen your core muscles.
For many of us, especially those of us who sit in chairs all day, our core muscles get pretty weak because they don’t have to do anything. When the muscles are weak, the spine itself takes all the load, which can cause pain, especially if–like most people–you don’t sit with great posture. Strengthening your core muscles supports your spine and improves your posture, reducing your back pain. Back pain expert Stuart McGill recommends exercises involving static holds such as planks and “bird dogs” to strengthen your core. Stay away from twisting and bending exercises. For specific recommendations you may want to see a physical therapist.
It’s typically not recommended to stretch your spine itself, but tight muscles in your hamstrings and hip flexors, as you tend to get from sitting all day, can pull you out of alignment. Just think about how you walk after you’ve been sitting a long time. You probably lean forward because your hips are tight and take small steps because your hamstrings are tight. Your shoulders may be hunched forward as well if you work at a desk. This is not a healthy position for your back. Loosening up your hip flexors, hamstrings and shoulders will take some of the unnecessary pressure off your spine. As with core strengthening, a physical therapist may be able to help.
The last thing you want to do when your back hurts is get up and move around, but often, lying around only makes it worse. If there’s no actual damage to your spine, try getting a bit of exercise. Swimming and walking are both low impact and should let you exercise without too much pain.
See a therapist.
A psychotherapist, that is. It sounds weird; how can a therapist help your back? In two ways, really. Depression and anxiety have been shown to increase the perception of pain. If you’ve been struggling with either of those, or with excess stress, improving your emotional state will likely reduce your pain. Also, a therapist may be able to help you manage your pain by changing how you think about it, in particular, not trying to avoid it. Struggling against the pain often just makes it worse, but, of course, that’s difficult not to do.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, we can help. Recovery Ways is a leading addiction treatment provider with an excellent recovery rate. Our expert staff includes masters and PhD level therapists and board certified addiction psychiatrists. Our comfortable facilities will help to make your treatment as enjoyable as possible and our therapists use proven techniques like sensory integration and recreation therapy to help to engage the world without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 1-888-986-7848 or email us through our contact page to learn more.