Did you know that back pain may be the leading cause of disability worldwide? Back pain affects your quality of life in plenty of ways. It can:
- Interrupt your sleep at night
- Limit the types of exercises you can do
- Take a toll on your mood
- Reduce your productivity
For someone who has lived with back pain for quite some time, a common question would be, “Do I need to undergo surgery?”
The answer is that surgery isn’t always necessary. There are certain factors to consider such as the origin or cause of the pain. Also, surgery would often be the last option after all other options have been exhausted.
This is especially true if back pain never goes away and interferes with your life.
In that case, YES – there are non-surgical ways that relieve back pain. Some of these strategies require a doctor’s prescription while others can be done by yourself at home.
7 Ways to Relieve Back Pain Without Surgery
Here, you’ll find effective back pain relief techniques. Use these as the first interventions for back pain before considering surgery.
1. Physical therapy
There are two approaches to physical therapy. One is passive, in which a physical therapist (PT) applies heat or ice packs or uses transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to reduce the feeling of pain. The other approach is active, in which exercises such as stretching are incorporated in a patient’s life. The UK Guidelines recommend exercises such as tai chi and yoga.
There’s a ton of research on the benefits of yoga, which is why more and more doctors recommend it. Back pain can be related to mental and emotional stress. Stress causes back pain by tightening the muscles in your shoulders and spine area.
The right yoga poses will enable your body to relax. Poses that are known to help with back pain are the following: Cat-Cow, Downward Facing Dog, Sphinx Pose, and Supine Twist.
3. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet
Not everyone is aware of this, but you can actually eat for back pain relief. The key is to eat foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Good food choices include avocados, nuts, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts). These foods are also beneficial for you if you are trying to manage your weight through a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet.
4. Try swimming
For a zero-impact workout, swimming is a great option. Unlike running on a treadmill or jogging, swimming does not hurt your muscles — thanks to the buoyancy of the water that lets your body float. As you move about in the water, your shoulders, back, and legs get a good stretch.
5. Over the counter medication
If you are wondering whether there are medications that relieve back pain, the answer is yes. NSAIDs and acetaminophen are one of those options that relieve pain caused by stiffness.
But this is very important: Make sure to speak with your doctor before taking any of these medications since they’re contraindicated in certain medical conditions. Liver and kidney problems, for example.
6. Listen to your body
As someone experiencing back pain, it’s important for you to listen closely to your body. Feeling tired from mowing the lawn or preparing meals? Do not force yourself to exert more effort. Take a pause for a couple of minutes or rest your body completely.
Here’s a helpful tip: Keep a journal where you can write down situations or activities that trigger back pain.
7. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil
People with chronic back pain may consider CBD oil for both pain and inflammation. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in your brain that are involved in pain sensation and mood. While it is sourced from marijuana, it does not cause a “high.”
In the World Health Organization’s Critical Review, they state that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” Before you consider CBD, just make sure to check the CBD legislation where you’re from. Ask your doctor about it too.
You may need to explore different strategies for back pain relief, like the ones above, in order to find what works for you. Get an opinion from your healthcare provider as well because it is important that you identify any underlying cause of the pain. I hope this article helps!