When there’s No Cure for Your Aching Back
You’ve seen all the doctors and specialist, and you’ve had all the tests – then, at the end of it all, you’ve discovered that your back pain in “chronic.”
For many, this is an unfortunate reality thanks to conditions that are not easily treated and rarely cured such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. Chronic pain from these conditions often follows a pattern of low-level discomfort with intermittent flare-ups of more intense pain.
Living with chronic pain day-in and day-out can be exhausting and frustrating. But you can limit the severity of your pain and the effect it has on you with the following strategies:
1. Become an expert in Pain Management
No one pain management technique works for everyone. With this in mind, you need to be open to trying all sorts of methods and techniques to diminish and manage your pain.
Keeping your pain at the lowest level possible will help keep you active, which in turn will minimize your chronic pain further and help prevent it from getting worse. It will also help decrease the stress that is often associated with chronic pain. Common pain management techniques include:
· Cold Therapy
· Heat Therapy
· Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications
· A healthy exercise regimen- possibly in a pool
To find what works best for you, try various combinations of pain management techniques. But be patient, as it may take quite some time before you find the right combination of treatments.
2. Find a support network
Chronic back pain can be an isolating experience. You may not be able to be as active as you once were resulting in saying “No” to social gatherings. You may have also stopped participating in some of your favorite activities.
As you become more isolated, your experience of the chronic pain may increase because you have fewer stimuli to distract you from your back pain. Additionally, you increase the risk for developing mental issues like depression.
I encourage those that are experiencing chronic back pain to try and find a network of social support to limit the isolation effects that chronic back pain can have on an individual. The key to a support network is not only finding people who are empathetic and supportive, but also finding a health distraction from the pain. This does not necessarily mean always being around only other people with chronic pain. Rather, this can be a set of friends and family who regularly visit you, and have various interests that can be pursued even with your chronic pain.