Are you one of the 3 million Australians suffering from back pain? Despite the fact that lower back pain is a problem, 70-90% of Australians will face at some point during their lives, there is little information out there on how to treat your pain without strong medication. If you want to ease your back pain without painkillers, here are natural, proven alternatives.
While eating healthy is unlikely to provide any short-term relief, maintaining an optimal diet and weight will result in less pressure on your lower back. As well as monitoring how much you're eating, you'll need to keep an eye on what you're eating. Different foods can alleviate or exacerbate inflammation. Flax and chia seeds, omega-3 rich fish, olive oil, and bright-coloured vegetables can all reduce spinal inflammation, so include them in your daily diet as much as possible.
It almost sounds too simple, but distraction is actually a great way of managing pain. Some doctors claim that up to 80% of your physical pain experience is "emotional", or mental. While that doesn't make your pain any less real or painful, it does mean you can alleviate some of it by focusing your mind elsewhere. Though the depressive feelings that come with chronic pain can put you off of having fun, enjoying your favourite activities will help take your mind off the feeling. If you're at home, listening to music, reading and writing, and even watching TV are all easy distraction methods. When you're at work or out of the house, try focusing on deep breathing or mental counting to keep your mind off the pain.
While you're probably aware that regular exercise strengthens your muscles in the long-term to reduce spinal pressure, did you know that physical activity can also provide short-term relief for back pain? When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These endorphins are the body's natural pain-reliever, working in the same way as strong painkillers like codeine and morphine. Of course, you must take care to avoid exercises which increase back pain. Toe-touches, sit-ups, and leg lifts can all make your pain worse. On the other hand, Pilates and aerobics pose no risk when done correctly.
While these techniques work for many people, you may find it difficult to manage your pain without professional help. Outside of seeing a doctor for painkillers and physiotherapy, visiting a chiropractor for spinal adjustment treatments can be a beneficial step for sufferers.