Most of the time, back pain is only a distraction for maybe a week or so, but if you reach a point where your spine-related discomfort occurs on a regular basis, it could seriously affect your life at home. The same thing is true if you’re living with a spinal cord injury. Exploring all available treatment options is a good starting point. Still, you may be facing some challenges at home that are making things more stressful than they need to be. If this is the case, consider the following home modifications.
1. Install Ramps and Lifts
If you are permanently or temporarily confined to a wheelchair because of a spine condition, improve access around your home with ramps and lifts. Ramps can be placed outside over steps, or indoors in some locations. Lifts are usually attached to the side of a stairway. Even if you’re not in a wheelchair, ramps and lifts may be helpful if your back pain is making it difficult to climb steps. Similar devices may also be used on vehicles you need to get in and out of on a regular basis.
2. Update Bathtub and/or Shower Systems
Taking a single step into or out of a shower or tub may be enough to trigger back pain or throw off your balance. If this is a frequent issue you have, think about investing in a bathtub or shower system that’s specifically designed to allow entrance without the need to step. If an update like this isn’t in your budget, consider using:
- Portable grab bars that stick to shower walls
- Tub attachments that create lower steps
- Shower seats and bath benches
- Shower wheelchairs
3. Use a Toilet Seat Raiser
Lower back pain or radiating nerve pain related to conditions such as sciatica tends to be triggered when sitting down or getting up. These movements are required for using a toilet, but seat raisers can minimize such motions. Handrails on the side of a toilet can be equally helpful.
4. Purchase Firmer and/or Higher Furniture
If you are considering updating or replacing some of your furniture, opt for couches and chairs that are higher and firmer to ease stress on your spine. With mattresses, firmer also tends to be good for back pain. On a related note, be mindful of your sleep positions and go with flatter pillows to maintain your spine’s natural alignment as much as possible. With chairs you sit in often, make sure your feet comfortably fit on the ground and your knees aren’t above your hips. At work, see if your employer will agree to let you use an ergonomically designed chair if you have chronic back pain.
5. Secure Rugs and Use Nonskid Mats
Even when back pain isn’t involved, slips and falls are the most common type of home accident in the United States. Having existing back pain can make a fall even more dangerous. Reduce your risk of falling by:
- Using nonslip rubber mats and runners near entryways
- Fixing loose kitchen tiles or sections of carpeting
- Using carpet tape to keep area rugs or throw rugs in place
If these home mods aren’t enhancing your quality of life at home, talk to your doctor or a Beverly Hills spine surgeon about treatments you may not have considered yet. Some patients see improvements with chiropractic care, electrical stimulation of nerves, injections directly into the affected area, water-based therapy, and adjustments to diet and exercise habits.
If you’re having difficulty finding a solution for alleviating your chronic back pain, you may want to consider minimally invasive spinal surgery. Beverly Hills residents can reach out to The Spine Institute and schedule an appointment by calling 310-828-7757.