Overview of the Pros and Cons
Often when your pain becomes severe, or starts to affect your mobility, you are willing to try just about anything to alleviate it and the discomfort; and further, to have the ability to be mobile again. Light exercise, according to a recent study, has proven to be more effective against this debilitating condition, than many traditionally used treatments. Naturally, however, it is critical to liaise with your doctor to ensure that there is nothing in your medical history preventing you from walking. Having the required scans are also necessary to ascertain your particular condition, before putting on your walking sneakers and heading out.
A review of studies involving 31,000 sufferers, suggests exercise, coupled with understanding risk factors, can eliminate the need for painkillers, back braces and shoe inserts. Walking is a particularly good form of exercise, because it is less likely to damage the joints than other activities, and it helps to maintain bone density. The advice comes as sedentary modern lives are blamed for people becoming more prone to back pain.
Lower back pain generates enormous costs in treatment, and is one of the most burdensome health problems. As
well, the time lost from work or lack of productivity on the job cannot be forgotten.
The Collaborative Approach
Exercise in collaboration with education is likely to reduce the risk. Knowing what is going on is crucial, since back pains can stem from many different things, so investigate it first. Exercise alone may reduce the risk for the short term. The available evidence suggests that education alone, back belts, shoe insoles and ergonomics do not prevent lower back pains. Sauna treatments, massages and joint manipulation are also avenues explored. However, in some instances, exercises and stretches can do the job, these may not be the only things that have to be done, but often these are what are not done.
What the Studies Reveal
Neck or back twinges – Seven in ten people have suffered recurrently for more than a decade, research has shown. The pain has forced three in ten to take time off from work. But two fifths of sufferers admitted doing nothing to protect their backs, or attempting to do something a long time ago when the problem initially started. Being determined and consistent, are two key factors in getting relief. Also, understanding that all things aren’t made equal. So what works for one person diagnosed with the “same” condition, would not necessarily be best for, or suit you, based on other factors surrounding your health, or duration of the issue.
Sitting for long periods – This can put twice as much pressure on the spine as standing. It can reduce blood flow to muscles and joints, which may lead to stiffness. One of the problems of modern life is de-toned muscles. If we don’t use them, we lose them. Exercise is definitely helpful for back pain; in fact it’s very important to keep as gently active as possible.
Taking painkillers and using hot or cold compression packs sometimes are the only things that bring relief. If you have persistent problems, your doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers like codeine and diazepam. Or, they may refer you to exercise classes, physiotherapy, or podiatry care.
Aging and weight gain – In the worst cases, surgical removal of discs is needed. But even adding a few minutes of walking to daily routines such as taking the stairs instead of the lift could provide relief. At around 50 years, a number of people lose their fitness and begin to put on weight, placing added pressure on the spine, joints and muscles. By the time we reach our 60s, it is common to experience degeneration of the joints and spine. There is a worrying growth in the use of strong painkillers, which can cause more harm than good. The benefit of physical activity in easing pain and preventing recurrence is clear.
In the Final Analysis…
Remember the order in which to follow things: visit your doctor; have a scan to try and determine your diagnosis; ask if light exercise and stretches are okay for you to do; if they are, let that be your first line of treatment. However, visit a physiotherapist to get appropriate advice on the types of exercise or stretches to do. If exercises aren’t advised or aren’t working, visit your podiatrist to further investigate. The feet and the back are linked, a connection most people are unaware of, and podiatric interventions may be required. Insoles are known to be one of the most common solutions to alleviating back pains. Nevertheless, explore other areas and note that painkillers, ideally, should not be a permanent solution depending on what the base problem may be. More importantly, keep in mind that if you have tried one thing consistently for a period of time, and it doesn’t work, or fully alleviate your condition, you may need to try something else or combine treatments to get the desired effect.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!