Has your back pain ever caused you to miss a deadline, call in sick to work, skip a hang out or spend a ridiculous amount of money on back massages? Well, 540 million other people share the same struggles.
A 2018 report from The Lancet revealed that more than 1 in 10 people suffer from lower back pain worldwide. This is also the leading cause of disability which means that underlying health conditions are the common triggers.
And since back pain is one of the most common issues people suffer from on a daily basis, it is also a common obstacle at work, at school, or even at home. Accomplishing the simplest tasks gets harder when you’re constantly bothered by pain that gets worse over time.
The Seriousness of Back Pain
While most tips from orthopedists and neurosurgeons emphasize adopting a healthier lifestyle to treat back pain, it is important to fully understand the degree of seriousness back pain brings to your body and its long-term implications.
Now that back pain is becoming a strong factor crippling the productivity of millions of people each day, dealing with it should not be taken lightly. It’s not always as simple as taking pain killers, getting massages, buying a new mattress or changing your sleeping position.
Before you proceed to self-medicate your pain, understanding what it really is and why it manifests on your body is more important.
At the end of the day, you need to remember that body pains and aches are ways of your body to communicate internal issues you might have been undermining. What needs to be addressed are the things that can point to more serious health conditions.
Opting for treatments with temporary relief won’t do you good in the long run. The best thing you can do is observe what your body is signalling you on the onset and identify how your lifestyle is affecting it.
And so, if you’re constantly suffering from back pain that just won’t go away, here are some of the things it might be trying to you:
1. You Need To Have A Better Posture
Poor posture can lead to issues on your spine. And working on improving your posture is not only limited to how you sit at your desk at work, it also extends to your sleeping position. Mindfulness on how you sit, stand, and lie down especially during inactivity is important to treating back pain.
Continued practice of poor posture will greatly affect your body when you get older. More serious complications like spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration, and digestive disruptions can arise in the long run. These don’t only lead to more pain, but more bills piled up for you as well!
When sitting for long periods of hours, make sure that your back is straightened against your chair. If you’re starting to feel discomfort, try to stand up and walk for a bit. You can also do back, arm, and leg stretches.
As early as today, start training your body to work properly so you can avoid irreversible issues in the future.
2. Your Body Needs Regular Exercise
Muscles that are inactive get weak and stiff overtime. Not only does this lead to back pain, but this also makes physical activity harder to do. Bending, lifting, and prolonged exercises will be more difficult and painful if this is left untreated.
And so, in situations like this, acknowledging your role in making your body stronger is more important than complaining about the not-so-good manifestations you feel all over your body.
Common cases of obesity also come with back pain. Therefore, regular and strategic exercise, along with a balanced diet, is an effective way to lose weight. It’s like hitting two birds in one stone!
On top of that, the act of exercising also signals your brain to release chemicals called endorphins which are considered as the “feel-good” chemicals. So, they take the feelings of pain and discomfort away.
Monitoring your physical activity and making sure that you incorporate healthy practices to feel good about your body is an important habit to have. More than their results in easing the back pain you’re suffering from, they also promote an improved overall health.
3. You Suffer From An Underlying Medical Condition
One of the more important reasons why you should act on your back pain and visit the doctor for consultation is because it might be indicative of an underlying medical condition that can worsen without proper treatment.
Aside from spine conditions such as osteoporosis, complications like kidney stones and infection, pelvic inflammation, arthritis, cancer of the spine and neurological diseases like shingles and the cauda equina syndrome can all manifest through a simple back pain.
These are the reasons why if your back pain still persists after all the treatment and home remedies you’ve been trying for months, consider making an appointment with your local physician as an option.
Early detection of serious medical issues will help you address them at their early and remediable stages. This means that you will be offered with different (less pricey) options on how to address them and have a reliable treatment plan that will help you bounce back healthier.
4. You Have To Take Care Of Your Mental Health
Psychological conditions manifest physically in different ways. Some experience headaches, constipation, hair loss, acne, shortness of breath, the list goes on and back pain is one of them.
Many studies have also illustrated the relationship of anxiety, stress and depression to back pain. It was pointed out that mental health problems and different chronic pains have caused each other to persist.
For example, people who are suffering from high levels of anxiety tend to be less resistant to pain. How your brain “rewires” your attitude towards pain leads to lower tolerance which makes sensations of pain and discomfort more emphasized when emotions are heightened.
Simultaneously, constant experience of back pain can also be a contributing factor to worsening mental health conditions.
A global study from the General Hospital Psychiatry journal showed that people who suffer from back pain are more than twice as likely to develop different psychological conditions like depression and psychosis.
Taking care of your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical well-being. Although there are still a lot of areas to be explored on the connection between the two, it is clear that health should be looked at holistically.
It’s easy to brush off constant suffering from back pain thinking that it will go away on its own eventually. While back pain can be a temporary situation for some, it can also be a manifestation of a more complicated condition that has long-term effects on your overall health.
If you start looking at these frequent episodes of pain and discomfort with concern and thoughtfulness, you’ll realize that there is more to your body than what you think. So, try to understand what they are trying to tell you – you might have to fix your posture, in need of exercise, experiencing medical issues, or struggling psychologically.
Whatever the cause may be, addressing them as early as possible will not only alleviate the pain, but it will also help your body to be on it’s best state.
When you are at your best and feel your best, it will translate to how you function in society. You get to be more productive at work, spend more time with your friends and family, and become more relaxed at home.
Therefore, observing physical changes and taking care of your body improves both your health and overall quality of life.