What Can I Do About Chronic Back Pain?

Back pain is a common source of discomfort, and it’s one of the leading causes of disability around the world. In the United States, there are at least 100 million people suffering from back pain.

Chronic back pain isn’t a disorder. Rather, it’s a symptom that can be caused by issues with your nerves, ligaments, and vertebrae. In some cases, issues with nearby organs such as the kidneys can also cause chronic back pain. 

Hormonal changes are another major contributor to chronic lower back pain. For example, postmenopausal women have lower estrogen levels, making them more susceptible to bone loss and osteoarthritis. 

Other risk factors for chronic back pain include heavy lifting, obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Now that you know what may be causing your back pain, our experts at The Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine will share a few tips on how to relieve your condition and reveal what treatments can help you manage it.

Strengthen your core, but avoid lifting heavy

Heavy lifting and a sedentary lifestyle are both risk factors for chronic back pain. So how can you improve your core strength without worsening your symptoms? 

Many experts recommend taking up low-impact activities like walking or swimming. 

Strengthening your core (the muscles in the abdomen and back) improves your posture and reduces the strain on your back. Exercise can also diminish the effects of low estrogen levels on bone density in postmenopausal women

Keep in mind that exercise isn’t for everyone. If your pain is debilitating, you can end up injuring yourself while exercising. Ask a physical therapist about what exercises you can do to strengthen your core without causing further damage to your back.

Ditch your uncomfortable shoes 

When you hear the term “uncomfortable shoes,” you probably picture stiletto heels. 

However, some flats have soles that are so thin, you might as well walk barefoot. The lack of arch support can lead to chronic back pain. 

To fix this, look for shoes with shock-absorbing properties that provide plenty of arch support. 

Custom-made orthotics may be an even better option. One study found that wearing orthotics for six weeks reduced back pain.

Lose the extra pounds 

Being overweight or obese puts a lot of pressure on your back, and it can lead to a herniated disk and chronic back pain. Carrying a few extra pounds can also worsen arthritic back pain by increasing inflammation levels

Not sure if you’d benefit from losing weight? Calculate your body mass index (BMI)

If you want accurate results, consider purchasing a body fat caliper, because some people weigh more because they have above-average muscle mass.

Ask your doctor about Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)

Not all types of back pain benefit from PRP. However, if muscle strains or damaged tendons and ligaments are the cause of your chronic back pain, PRP may provide relief. 

During your PRP procedure, our specialists draw a small amount of blood from you and spin it in a centrifuge. This separates your platelets, which are blood components that aid in healing, from the rest of your blood. 

Our specialists then prepare a solution rich in plasma and platelets and inject it into your problem area. 

Researchers believe that a solution 10 times richer in platelets can speed up the healing process, relieve pain, and reduce inflammation.

Pain management treatments currently available 

PRP, medication, and massage are just a few of the treatment options we offer our patients at The Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. 

If you want to get a diagnosis or experiment with a highly personalized treatment for your back pain, contact us to schedule an appointment at our office in Toms River, New Jersey.

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