When it comes to managing chronic pain, especially lower back pain, sometimes medication alone isn’t sufficient. By finding a physical activity that alleviates pain, not only will your medication be more effective, but you may even be able to cut down your dosage to reduce side effects. Let’s explore some therapies that have been proven to improve pain management.
Yoga for Pain Management
According to Harvard health, yoga has been found to help reduce the symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, lower back pain, and more. Studies reveal that a weekly yoga class can be as effective as standard exercise therapy and many participants found increased mobility over time.
What makes yoga such a great tool for patients suffering from chronic lower back pain is that there are many modifications available, so each individual can tailor the practice to meet their unique needs and experience level. Some retirement homes and rec centers even offer seated yoga, which is great for people who might not be able to practice on the floor. A trained yoga instructor will be able to provide you with any suggested modifications based on any injuries or health problems that could become agitated by exercise.
Another element that makes yoga such a great tool for managing chronic pain is that it focuses on breath and mental clarity, which can improve mood and overall sense of wellbeing. This is important because your mental state directly impacts your physical health, so by taking time to improve your mental health, you may notice improvements in your chronic pain as well.
Meditation for Pain Management
Meditation is the practice of mindfulness. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, advocates of meditation for pain management explain that being mindful of your pain is more effective than fighting it. This is because combating pain—or even ignoring it—can cause stress that can heighten symptoms rather than remedy them.
Practicing meditation to effectively manage pain is not easy and takes practice. But the ultimate goal is to find awareness in the body and reach a state of feeling content, even when physical pain is present. Pairing a daily meditation practice with your prescribed pain medication can lead to an overall more successful pain relief routine.
If you can’t find guided meditation sessions in your area, there are plenty of resources online that can help get you started. A few popular options include:
Pain Management Therapeutic Massage
Massage therapy is widely used to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia and arthritis. Massage is also a great tool against lower back pain. A therapeutic massage causes the release of serotonin, which is the body’s natural pain combatant. Massage is also believed to improve sleep and reduce anxiety—which can relieve pain. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) certifies the most trusted massage therapists in the nation and is a great resource to find the option that’s best for you.
Your Personalized Pain Management Plan
Of course, it’s always a good idea to consult with your physician before starting any new pain management techniques. But you can take comfort in knowing that all of the therapies listed above are completely natural and don’t pose a risk of adverse interaction with your prescribed medications. However, always listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard when trying a new physical activity. It’s also important to communicate your health concerns to your instructor or therapist, so that they can provide guidance on the safest way to alleviate your pain. By combining therapy techniques with your medication, you may be able to find more complete relief for your chronic pain, so start researching the therapy you feel will be most enjoyable for you. And of course if you ever have questions about OTC or prescription pain medication, the pharmacists at Wiley’s are always happy to provide answers.