Seven steps for back pain relief

February 24, 2013

Back pain, Healing, Health, Joint pain, Pain

Dealing with pain can be difficult, but with a comprehensive pain management plan that combines modern science, ancient healing techniques and a healthy lifestyle, you can find lasting relief.

by Dr. Julie Gorman — 

Pain is your body’s alarm system telling you something is wrong. While medications often can provide temporary relief, they do not address the underlying causes of the pain. In addition, they often have unwanted side effects, such as liver damage and stomach ulcers. Dealing with pain can be difficult, but with a comprehensive pain management plan that combines modern science, ancient healing techniques and a healthy lifestyle, you can find lasting relief.

The following steps are helpful for back pain relief:

1. Rest and activity — When you’re hurting, adequate rest and sleep promote healing. However, remaining inactive for too long can cause pain to linger. One of the best things you can do for back pain is to get moving — gently and in moderation, with activities such as yoga and tai chi.

2. Ice and heat therapy — When pain is associated with an acute injury or joints are inflamed and hot, applying a cold pack can reduce swelling and numb the affected nerves to provide relief. As the process progresses, you’ll want to switch to heat or use alternating applications of heat and cold to promote circulation and help movement.

3. Natural supplements — Nourish your body with a good multivitamin, omega-3 oils, vitamin C and magnesium. Also, help relieve pain and inflammation with ginger, turmeric, cayenne and enzymes.

4. Acupuncture — In 1997, a National Institutes of Health panel concluded that acupuncture could help in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain and fibromyalgia without the side effects of medications.

5. Massage — Who couldn’t benefit from a good back rub? Massage can relax tight, painful muscles, making movement easier.

6. Relaxation techniques — Regardless of what causes pain, stress heightens our feelings of discomfort — and feelings of pain add to stress. To help break this vicious cycle, try relieving stress by journaling, talking with a counselor or meditating.

7. Medications — Too often people take medications as their only line of defense against pain. Medications are supposed to lessen the pain in your back, so you can manage the activities that will help you get better. While most people don’t need medications long-term, using them for a short time can help ease your pain enough to get you up and moving.

 

Dr. Julie Gorman is a naturopathic medical doctor who provides comprehensive care for a variety of pain disorders including: back pain, carpal tunnel and fibromyalgia. She can be reached at the Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine Center in Phoenix, AZ 602-265-1774 or www.AIMcenterAZ.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 2, April/May 2006.

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