6 Overlooked Ways to Remedy Back Pain in Los Angeles, CA

One of your first attempts at relieving back pain may involve over-the-counter or prescription pain and anti-inflammatory medications. Pharmaceutical remedies are often recommended since they can be effective for many people living with back pain. However, if you prefer to avoid dependence on medication and some of the risks associated with the long-term use of certain drugs, there are some overlooked remedies that may allow you to manage your back pain enough to focus your attention on your daily activities and avoid surgery such as spinal fusion. Beverly Hills residents may want to consider the following ways to remedy back pain.

1. Getting the Endorphins Flowing

Released from the pituitary gland in the brain, endorphins are “feel-good” hormones that can naturally ease pain. Some studies suggest endorphins may have effects similar to mild pain relievers. They also ease stress and anxiety, which are factors that can contribute to back pain. Some ways to stimulate endorphin production include:

  • Aerobic exercise appropriate for your capabilities, such as walking, swimming, and biking
  • Massage therapy and/or chiropractic adjustments
  • Meditation

2. Enhancing Sleep Habits

Nearly 70 percent of people with chronic pain report experiencing insomnia. A lack of sleep can make it difficult for the spine to naturally heal since this process takes place in the deeper stages of sleep. Enhance your sleep habits by:

  • Sticking to a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoiding strenuous exercise before bed
  • Sleeping on your side instead of your back or stomach
  • Placing a small, rolled up towel under the small of your back or a pillow under your knees to enhance your spine’s alignment

3. Working Core Muscle Groups

Core muscles that include the internal and external obliques, abdominal muscles, and pelvic muscles provide direct and indirect support to the spine, especially the part responsible for most lower body movements. If these muscles are weak, your spine will absorb more of the pressure from your daily movements. Target these important muscles by striving for at least 20-30 minutes of exercise each day. When doing core exercises, prevent back pain by:

  • Avoiding exercises that tend to place too much stress on the spine, like squats, toe touches, and sit-ups
  • Stretching before doing any exercises
  • Opting for water-based exercises or gentle forms of exercise like yoga that work the same muscle groups

4. Stretching the Hamstrings

If there’s one set of muscles you should focus on to minimize your back pain, it’s the hamstrings between your hips and knees found in the back of your thighs. If these muscles are tight, your movements will place added stress on your lower spine. Even if you’re not exercising, stretch your hamstrings at least twice daily. If a standing hamstring stretch is too difficult to perform, a seated variation may produce the same results.

5. Applying Heat/Cold to Immediately Ease Pain

Hot and cold work differently on back pain, but applications of either one may be enough to ease your discomfort. Cold applications are meant to reduce the inflammation that contributes to pressure on nerve roots. Heat relieves pain by increasing blood flow and circulation to promote healing. A boost in circulation also minimizes the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Versions of hot and cold therapy include:

  • Ice and heat packs
  • Warm baths
  • Heating and cooling gels
  • Swimming or relaxing in a heated pool

6. Shifting Mental Focus

A big part of how you experience back pain involves your perception of it, which is why two people with the exact same source of back pain often report different levels of pain. Increase your mental focus by doing things that change how you think about your pain, such as:

  • Deep breathing and other relaxation techniques
  • Mindful meditation
  • Mind-body disciplines like yoga and Pilates

In some instances, surgery may be the only viable remedy for chronic back pain. At The Spine Institute, we specialize in a wide array of fusion and non-fusion procedures, from artificial disc replacement to transforaminal interbody fusion. Beverly Hills patients can trust in Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of expert surgeons to diagnose the source of their pain and help them find relief. Call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an in-person evaluation.