Worse Chronic back pain
Mistake: You’re trying to tough it out :One in four Chronic back pain sufferers waits at least 6 months before looking a doctor, typically because of downplaying pain or thinking it’ll pass on its own, according to the American Pain Society. And many sufferers self-treat with OTC painkillers.
Get relief: Seek treatment sooner rather than later. Studies show that the majority of injuries resolve themselves in about 4 weeks, so if yours hasn’t — or if your Chronic back pain is affecting your ability to function — see your doctor. Waiting can wreak havoc on your body and your mind. When pain keeps you from being active, muscles weaken and shrink and joints stiffen, setting you up for further injuries.
Mistake: You’ve seen more than one specialist
In our fragmented health care system, with a specialist for every ailment, it’s easy to jump from one doctor to the next. But doctor hopping, experts say, can waste time and money, lead to excessive MRIs and other diagnostic tests, and delay treatment.
Get relief: Find one doctor who can be your point person to coordinate other treatments. Your primary care physician is likely the best person for this. Just make sure you get a sense that he or she takes your Chronic back pain seriously, offers you a treatment strategy, and sees you frequently enough to monitor your progress — or refer you to a specialist if your plan is not working.
Mistake: You’re afraid to exercise :It may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re hurting, but study after study shows that exercise reduces all kinds of Chronic back pain.It strengthens your muscles and oils your joints, making you less likely to get reinjured. It also releases natural pain-relieving endorphins, which can boost your mood, and it fights the inflammation associated with a number of painful conditions like gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
Get relief: Start slow and easy, especially if you’ve been sedentary for a few months. Do 5 or 10 minutes of walking or another low-impact activity a couple of times a day if that’s all you can do. Swimming or aquatic aerobics, especially in warm water, makes it easier to move, takes pressure off joints, and reduces stiffness and Chronic back pain.The goal is to get you to a comfortable level of functioning. For people who have fibromyalgia, low- or moderate intensity activities reduce Chronic back pain better than high-intensity ones.
Mistake:Your instinct is surgery before therapy :Surgery may feel like the most efficient option, but for Chronic back pain, the research is mixed. Studies show that operating to relieve lower-back pain without any evidence of nerve pressure, for example, may offer minimal, if any benefit, compared with a rehabilitation program — not to mention that it comes with risks. The truth is any surgery has a chance of making your pain worse from infection, scarring, and nerve damage.
Get relief: Opt for pain medications, physical therapy, or exercise first. To treat Chronic back pain , for example, experts recommend trying a combination of the three for at least 6 months before discussing surgical options. Many people will improve enough to either avoid or no longer be eligible for surgery. You can also talk with your doctor about trying a shorter, more intensive rehabilitation program.
Mistake: You’re wary of narcotics
The news is filled with stories about unintentional deaths from pain meds or celebs who became hooked on them, so many pain sufferers prefer to play it safe with OTC pain relievers. Even some physicians avoid narcotics for fear of being punished for overprescribing them. But the reality is, most people in Chronic back pain aren’t going to get addicted to or die from pain meds. And the benefits of taking them are immense — when you’re in less pain, you can be more active and speed your recovery.
Get relief: Most doctors start patients on low doses of opioids and require check-in evaluations every 3 or 4 weeks to make sure the medication is working well. If you experience that “drugged” feeling in the beginning, don’t worry — it’ll go away in a few days as your body adjusts to the medication. Take the drug only as prescribed — don’t increase the dose or combine it with other types of drugs, such as muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety drugs, unless you’ve talked with your doctor.
Mistake: You haven’t considered natural treatments :If you can’t take Chronic back pain meds because of side effects or are just looking to enhance their effects, consider alternative treatments. Clinical studies show that acupuncture, for example, relieves osteoarthritis pain, sciatica, and lower-back problems. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers can benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3-fatty acids supplements; according to a large review of recent research, patients who took devil’s claw, white willow bark, and cayenne for lower- Chronic back pain back pain had more relief than those who took a placebo.
Get relief: Herbal therapies are not without side effects and they may interfere with other medications, so talk with your doctor before taking them. Numerous studies also show that mental techniques can help ease Chronic back pain.Start with some simple relaxation techniques: Practice deep breathing and tightening and relaxing different muscles for 15 to 20 minutes every day. A therapist can help you learn other types of relaxation, such as visualization, self hypnosis, and biofeedback — ask your doctor for a referral.