Whether you just deal with occasional back issues or you’re regularly experiencing back pain, you probably don’t want to rely on medication alone. Over-the-counter remedies may not work, and a recent study from the U.S. linked the regular use of NSAIDs and other common pain medications with an increased risk of heart disease. Prescription pain relievers may provide relief, but they also carry risks of complications and desensitization. If you’re not sure what your next step should be in dealing with your back pain—or if you’re stuck waiting for a referral to a specialist—these alternative methods of finding pain relief can help you cope.
Spend Time in the Sun
Increasing your levels of vitamin D can help boost your mood, which can contribute to an over all decrease in your experience of pain. It doesn’t take much, either—just minutes a day (if you’re outdoors for longer, wear sunscreen). Scientific studies support the claim that people who get their recommended daily dose of vitamin D are less likely to report regular pain.
Get Your Endorphins Up
Endorphins are an instant burst of feel-good, and can provide relief from muscular and other types of pain. Anything that gets your heart rate up encourages your body to release endorphins. You don’t need to go out for an extreme sport, even a brisk walk will do.
Eat for Relief
Foods that are high in resveratrol, like cranberries and other dark berries, help stave off tissue degeneration and can aid in long-term pain management. Looking for short-term relief? Some claim spicy foods can help you deal with pain, but it may just be that they provide a distraction.
Reach Out to Others
Make sure you have a good support network helping you out. If you find that your friends and family are having trouble knowing what to say or relating to you, you may find it helpful to join a support network for others dealing with chronic pain. Can’t find one in person? Even online groups can help you remember that you aren’t alone.
Get a Good Mindset
Back pain is often linked with depression, and in a vicious cycle, depression can intensify back pain. Dealing with emotional issues resulting from your pain can be instrumental for your improving health outlook. Especially if doctors are finding it difficult to give you a definitive diagnosis, you may find talking with a therapist or counselor to be beneficial.
You don’t need to school yourself in the specifics of meditation to receive its benefits. A guided meditation (you can find tons to download or stream online) can help you to let go for a while. Even if it’s as simple as relaxing and sending your mind to your “happy place,” thought exercises can provide restorative therapy.
Tend to Your Body’s Other Needs
Chronic pain can easily dominate your body’s other needs, like sleep, exercise, and diet. Try to attend to these needs because of your back pain, not despite of it. For example, when people avoid moving their back too much to avoid pain, the lack of exercise can actually exacerbate the problem by causing the body’s core muscles to lose strength and elasticity.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain that is disrupting your life, you shouldn’t be kept waiting. Call the Spine Institute Northwest at 888-712-0318 to learn more about the services we offer for Canadian patients.