Many different factors can increase or decrease pain levels when it comes to chronic back pain. Therefore, effectively managing sleep, diet, and exercise can help reduce back pain.
A good night’s sleep is essential to rest and recharge. Three hours before bedtime and onwards, one should avoid eating, exercising, and using electronics (cell phones, computers, televisions), as exposure to lights emitted from these devices disturbs the bodies sleep/wake cycle. In order to wind down for bedtime, do something relaxing before going to bed, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath.
Nighttime light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, which controls sleep and wake cycles.
Be sure to get around 8 hours of sleep each night. One of the easiest ways to do this is by setting a routine bedtime and wake time each night. By doing this, your body will expect to go to sleep at the same time each night. Check to see if your mattress is giving you proper back support for your sleeping position. The Sleep Judge has some great pointers on how to prevent technology from disrupting your sleep.
Consuming certain types of food may be contributing to your back pain. If your back pain is caused by inflammation, consider trying an anti inflammation diet. Consuming some foods, such as salmon, almonds, and spinach, may reduce back pain, while consuming other foods, such as white bread, cheese, and red meat, may actually be contributing to your back pain.
Cherries: A sweet way to reduce inflammatory pain
Exercise and Work
Daily exercise may not only reduce your pain, but it can improve your mood, mental focus, energy levels, and sleep. Strengthening the core muscle groups may significantly reduce back pain. Talk with your doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer in order to determine what types of exercises you may be able to do without aggravating your back pain. At SpineZone for example, the physical therapists and trainers work with you to strengthen your back muscles at the clinic and at home.
Swimming is a low impact aerobic activity that can be easy on the back and spine
Most of us have to work, and many of us have office jobs that are sedentary by nature. Keep a pair of sneakers and clean socks in a drawer in your cube for impromptu walking opportunities at work. Anytime you have a phone meeting in which you do not need to be in front of a computer, grab your earbuds and take the call on your cell while you walk around outside – you can work and exercise at the same time! And ladies, avoid wearing high heels – as great as they look, they can actually be a major contributor to back pain. If your back pain worsens from sitting for prolonged periods of time, consider asking your employer for a standing work station.
Lifestyle changes, such as sleep, diet, and exercise, may not be as easy as swallowing a pill, but they have been shown to be effective in reducing pain and can be a safe alternative to taking medication.
Have you tried any of the tactics mentioned above to reduce your chronic back pain? If so, have they worked? Please leave your comments below.
About the author: Alissa has experience working in the bioscience industry and she shares SpineZone’s devotion to exercise therapy. She is passionate about sharing helpful information with patients in order to encourage decisions that improve health related behaviors and clinical outcomes.