What Can You Do About Chronic Pain?

To begin with, you must make sure clear lines of communication have been established with you physician(s) and any other health care providers being seen for chronic back pain. Do not just assume it is your cross to bear and suffer in silence. Though it is true that the majority of back pain in general is not symptomatic of serious illness, do not assume you are therefore free from all risk.

There have been cases of people whose backs’ hurt persistently and they just mistook it for a fact of life and went on the best they could, only to discover that “bad back” was really a sign of something much worse, like cancer or otherwise damaged internal organs.

In order to facilitate communication to a health care professional it is a good idea to spell out some specific things to yourself first as a means of organizing your thoughts and presentation. For example, asking yourself and answering the following questions can go a long way toward clarifying what you are experiencing:

    1.How bad, on a scale of 1 – 10 is my pain?
    2.How long have I had this pain?
    3.What words can be used to describe it (tearing, burning, throbbing, etc.)?

Coping with Chronic Pain

There is not a single definition of pain that is appropriate for everybody because it is a highly subjective experience. What, to another person, is excruciating may be nothing more that a slight discomfort for you. Not only do views of pain vary among individuals, your own perception of it can change over time.

Even when you do have a clear perception of what pain means to you, there is no objective way to measure it you can use to convey your impressions to somebody else. It is not unusual for patients in a doctor’s office, who have come in because pain is severely impairing their day-to-day lives, to have great difficulty describing it clearly.

One thing we do know, however, is the difference between when we are hurting and when we are not. In the case of acute pain, you may cry out from it and experience terrible suffering for a time, but it ends eventually, and usually the sufferer returns to their normal activities and way of life.

Chronic pain is different. A sufferer of chronic pain not only hurts, but they keep on hurting. Indeed, the psychological impact of chronic pain can be worse than the physical sensation itself, especially when the daily grind of it wears you down and turns the world grim. Acute pain usually does not change one’s personality. Chronic pain, if not addressed properly, can alter it drastically.

Aerobic Exercise and Back Pain

If you go to a physical therapist for back pain, chances are you will have to do some kind of aerobic exercise as part of your treatment. Even if you don’t seek therapy for your back, it’s still a good idea to incorporate aerobic exercise into your back pain treatment plan. For those who suffer from back pain, the best aerobic exercises are low impact. These include swimming, walking, water aerobics, and bicycling. Running and aerobic dance should be avoided as these jar the body and are too hard on already-injured muscles and joints.

There are even videos featuring non impact aerobics, which can be great for those suffering from debilitating back pain. Not only does aerobic exercise benefit your body, but it also benefits your mind: aerobic exercise has been shown to improve moods, decrease depression, and increase the tolerance for pain.

If you haven’t exercised regularly in the past, you should start out slowly. Just walk two or three blocks or swim one lap, and gradually increase your pace and distance. Any exercise at all is much better than none. You should eventually work up to a regular schedule of twenty to forty minutes of exercise three to five times per week. An added bonus is the release of endorphins that occurs with thirty minutes or more of aerobic exercise.

Strengthening Exercises for Back Pain Relief

Strengthening exercises are great for relieving back pain, as well as preventing future injury. Many exercises will strengthen the back muscles, and here are a few more to incorporate into your exercise routine.

Strengthening Program A new series of videos on DVD could be what you are looking for. They were produced by a former sufferer of chronic back pain and sciatica, Mike Saros. He tells his story and then shows how doing a very simple 12-15 step by step routine once or twice a week eliminated his pain for good. Please take the time to follow this link, read his presentation and then order through the secure order page- you will receive instant acess to the material, and be given a 100% money back guarantee. You have nothing to lose but your back pain.

Exercise Balls and Back Pain

One way to get a good stretch is with an exercise ball. Many people like these because you can stretch your back without straining it and other muscles. And like with pilates, exercise ball stretching helps strengthen your core muscles, including your back. If you are new to the exercise ball, chose one that is soft and not 100% inflated. These are just a little bit easier to work on than hard balls. As with other stretches, do these exercise ball stretches slowly and smoothly, hold for about ten seconds (longer if you can), and repeat ten times.

BACK ARCH: Sit on the ball as if it is a chair. Walk your feet forward so that the ball rolls under your back until your rear end is on the ground. Place your hands behind your head and slowly push yourself back up so that you roll backwards over the ball.

BACK FLOOR PRESS: Lie on the floor with the ball under your knees and legs over it. Arms should be resting at your sides. Pull your belly button towards your spine and hold. Remember to keep the rest of your muscles relaxed. As you get more comfortable with this exercise, you can do it while lifting your arms a few inches off the floor, as in the pilates Hundred.

Stretching for Back Ache Relief

Stretching is very important in relieving back pain for several reasons:

    1) it improves your flexibility, which in turn allows your back to move through its natural range of motion painlessly,
    2) it sends necessary nutrients to the tissue along the spine that keep your muscles from getting stiff and weak, and
    3) it helps to prevent further injury to the back.

Some of the recommended yoga and pilates exercises involve stretching, and listed below are a few more stretches that will benefit the back. There are a couple of things you should remember about stretching. First, you should not feel pain when you stretch. If you do, you have gone too far so ease up a little. Stretch only as far as you comfortably can, hold it for about ten seconds, and then slowly release the stretch. And second, don’t bounce. Move smoothly and slowly. If you jerk or bounce your body, you’re likely to injure it.

Tai Chi practiced along Victoria Harbor, HK, China

Tai Chi for Back Aches

Tai chi is an ancient form of martial arts that is soft and slow, making it great for people who have back pain. The Taoist Tai Chi Society‘s Medical Advisers have documented that tai chi helps improve posture, reduce spinal degeneration, maintain flexibility of joints, improve balance, and increase strength and stability in the lower back. Everyone can benefit from tai chi; if you can’t do the exercises standing up, you can still do many of them while sitting in a chair.

Unlike yoga, tai chi requires extensive movement, but is less jarring to the joints than aerobic exercise. It’s almost impossible to describe how to do a tai chi movement correctly—you really need to see someone else doing it to understand. There are numerous videos you can check out if you’re interested, and some video stores offer free exercise video rentals.

Libraries may have videos, too. The best way to learn tai chi, though, is from an instructor, and classes tend to be relatively inexpensive. Take a class or two just to learn the movements and you’ll be able to practice at home on your own.

Pilates and Back Pain

Pilates is another great exercise for relieving back pain because it focuses on strengthening your core muscles, which include the back. Pilates exercises are very smooth and controlled movements, so there is little danger of getting injured while exercising. It’s also a great way work on your strength and flexibility, both of which help to alleviate back pain. However, as with yoga, you should avoid any extreme twisting or bending movements. Also as with yoga, Pilates exercises should be done on a mat or other soft, supportive surface.

One of the best benefits of Pilates is that it helps improve posture, a common cause of lower back pain. Use common sense when doing Pilates; if exercises that arch your back hurt, don’t do those. Or if exercises that round your back hurt, do only the back arching ones.

The following Pilates exercises benefit the spine and are appropriate for beginners. Do each exercise slowly and smoothly, and repeat ten times if you can. The key to pilates is quality of exercise, not quantity; it is more important to do fewer exercises slowly and correctly than to do all ten repetitions quickly.