Most of us are well aware that making healthy lifestyle choices can help to protect us from heart disease and cancer and can improve our moods and energy levels. Many individuals are unaware, however, that specific symptoms, like low back pain, can be affected by a series of lifestyle changes. The truth is that by making some positive changes in habits and behaviors, we may impact the likelihood of developing back pain, the severity of the pain itself, and the length of time it takes us to recover from an episode of acute discomfort.
By consulting with a highly competent physiatrist, a doctor who specializes in rehabilitative care and alternative medicine, we can ensure ourselves of the most effective, least invasive, treatment back pain that may be interfering with our quality of life.
How Our Habits May Make Back Pain Better or Worse
While severe or ongoing back pain will certainly warrant medical diagnosis and treatment, it is important to be mindful of the aspects of our behavior that may help or hinder our level of comfort. Following is a list of some of the ways we may be exacerbating our back pain and, by the same token, some of the ways we may be help to assist in our own healing.
Getting Enough Sleep Is Vital
Statistics support the belief that having just the right amount of sleep is a way of promoting good health in general and avoiding back pain in particular. It has been verified that individuals who get fewer than 6, or more than 9, hours of sleep nightly experience more back pain than those who fall into the moderate range.
Eating a Healthy Diet Contributes to Good Health and a Sense of Well-Being
Not only is it essential that we eat a balanced diet of mostly fresh food to keep our bodies functioning at an optimal level, eating well makes us feel much better. Junk foods, heavy in fats, sugar, and salt, promote inflammation which increases pain levels. The more fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat protein and whole grains we digest, the more likely we are to feel energetic and content.
Moving Helps to Keep Us Stronger, More Flexible and More Comfortable
Everyone should engage in some form of exercise. Brisk walking is a good place to start, particularly if your back pain keeps you from engaging in more complex, strenuous exercise.
Keeping Calm Helps to Lower Pain Levels
Just as stress amplifies pain, relaxation lessens it. This is why yoga and other forms of gentle motion combined with meditation can be especially useful for patients with chronic back pain.
While the bad effects of smoking on parts of the body — lungs, cardiovascular system, mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus — are well-known, few people are aware that smokers are three times more likely to develop back pain than non-smokers. For those of us who need another reason to finally quit, this bit of information may do the job.