Are You Accidentally Making Your Chronic Back Pain Worse?

Arthritis in the Back Los AngelesLiving with chronic back pain leaves a person constantly searching for ways to lessen the pain. Unfortunately, the Internet is often the tool most used in searching for ways to decrease back pain, but it is not always the most reliable. Employing certain tactics to make your back pain disappear may inadvertently be making the pain more severe. Common symptoms of back pain include:

  • Mild to severe back pain that does not stop
  • Shooting, burning, aching, or electrical pain
  • Discomfort
  • Soreness
  • Tightness
  • Stiffness

The physical signs of literal back pain are often not the only symptoms of chronic back pain. Many people experiencing the debilitating effects of this type of pain might also be enduring one or all of the following:

  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Weakened immune system
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from usual activities

Making Back Pain Worse Instead of Better

Here are some common ways people increase their back pain, instead of making it better:

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Improperly bending or poor back mechanics
  • Improper use of icing and heating back muscles
  • Sitting on fitness ball rather then your office chair

When you are experiencing chronic back pain, it is common to significantly reduce physical activity. While this is a good idea in some cases, in reality it’s best to keep some level of physical activity going. Lying in bed for days or weeks can delay healing. Resting longer than 48 hours causes muscle atrophy, which can often lead to a muscle spasm and increased weakening of the back muscles. Light activity like walking, swimming, or spending some time on an elliptical trainer can actually speed up the healing process.

It’s important when bending or lifting heavy objects to bend at the knees rather then using the support of your back muscles. Improper bending increases the likelihood of injuring your back through something as simple as a sneeze. In time, over-usage of the back muscles causes significant weakening so that when you least expect it a sudden injury occurs.

In the case of icing and heating back muscles it’s important to note that although a hot shower might feel good, the heat might actually be increasing inflammation by opening up blood vessels. Icing and heating in combination breaks the cycles in which muscle spasms cause pain.

Fitness balls are best used in combination with office chairs. Sitting upright on a fitness ball for eight hours without any back support makes it almost impossible to maintain good posture. Instead, try sitting on a fitness ball for periods of 15 to 20 minutes. Alternating between a regular chair with back support and a fitness ball is the best way to ensure strong, healthy back muscles.

Make an Appointment with Susan A. Baker MD Today

If you are suffering from chronic back pain, or another condition treated by a rheumatologist, make an appointment with Dr. Baker today either online, by filling out the online contact form, or by calling (310) 274-7770 to get started on treating your chronic back pain and increasing your overall health

Next, learn about what conditions a rheumatologist treats

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