If you suffer from chronic back pain, you may not be in the mood to celebrate the New Year at all. Did you know, though, that there are New Year’s Resolutions you can make that will reduce or even eliminate your discomfort? Try the following steps to manage the pain and get back in control of your life for good.
Many patients with back pain are reluctant to exercise. They assume that moving around will just make the pain worse. In reality, it is inactivity that can cause your joints and muscles to stiffen up and increase your discomfort. Regular low-impact exercise, on the other hand, strengthens the muscles that support your spine, reduces inflammation, and distributes blood and nutrients to soft tissues.
Walking is an excellent exercise for those with chronic back pain. If you find that walking on concrete is too jarring, try walking paths or athletic tracks. You can also walk on a treadmill. Other exercises you may want to try include swimming or water aerobics, yoga, stretching, and resistance training. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. He or she can help you choose the right equipment, such as walking shoes, and instruct you about any exercises you should avoid.
Many individuals work in jobs that require them to sit all day. Then they come home and sit some more. Research suggests that just one hour less of sitting each day can reduce neck and back pain. As an added benefit, standing up more frequently can also improve mood.
If you work on a computer from home, consider purchasing a standing desk or placing a laptop on a counter top so you can do your job standing up. If you work in an office setting, try to find an excuse to get up at least once an hour. For instance, you might choose to walk to a colleague's office instead of calling him or her, or you might take regular breaks to get water or a nutritious snack. Perhaps you can use your lunch hour as a time to stand or walk. If you like to watch television at home, stand up and move around during commercials, or keep an eye on the TV while you're doing chores around the house.
Get Plenty of Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D both help strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a leading cause of back pain, especially among older adults. You can get calcium by drinking milk and eating yogurt and leafy green vegetables. Sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D, so log as much outdoor time as you can. Vitamin D can also be found in cheese, egg yolks, and fatty fish. Make it a point this year to improve your nutrition in this way.
The New Year does not have to bring more suffering. You can reduce chronic back pain and improve your mood and the quality of your life by making and keeping just a few simple resolutions.