There are several theories on what creates pain in our bodies. As a Tulsa chiropractor, the type that I am focusing on today is the achy pain that is created by restriction/tightness in our joints. A good percentage of the back pain, neck pain, etc. that we treat in our office can be traced to ‘fixated’, ‘stuck’ or misaligned joints that are not moving well.
Here’s 7 Ideas to Help with Those Aches and Pains:
1) Go for a Walk – Exercise is even more important as we get older because our body wants to stiffen up. One of the best exercises for your lower back is walking, so get out and walk today! It’s springtime!
2) Reduce Your Intake of Sugar – Sugar is very inflammatory. It’s loaded in most processed foods, soft drinks, sweets, etc. Whenever we consume too much of this inflammatory substance, our aches and pains are more likely to bother us. Want even faster results? – google ‘anti-inflammatory’ diets and see that a diet higher in fruits / vegies, lean meats, fish, raw nuts and seeds and less ‘white’ food / processed food are good at reducing body inflammation levels which trigger pain.
3) Get a Massage – Our soft tissues around our body tend to get ‘tight’ and our muscles will often splint. This splinting can create trigger points in our muscles which can create referred pain. Additionally, our tight muscles fight against our joints in restricting normal joint play which can further cause our achy pains.
4) Engage in Stretching / Yoga – If you are dealing with chronic lower back pain, chances are that your hamstrings are tight. Additionally, glut muscles are also usually engaged with tension – all of which leads to mechanical problems which lead to pain in the back. Our upper body needs stretching as well.
5) Try Ice – Put away the electric heating pad. Better yet, throw it away or save it for your pet. Dry heat such as the electric heating pad tend to feel great while it’s on but when you take away the heat, the pain can come back with a vengence. I am big fan of icing the affected area for 14-20 minutes. This will reduce inflammation.
6) Balance Exercises – I’ve found that standing on one leg to work on balance will help fire postural muscles that aid with spinal stability. Lift you knee up for 5-7 seconds and hold, then alternate. This is a good starter to help build better balance and stability. Down the road, employ the use of wobble or rocker boards (be careful – start slow and have something nearby to help balance) to add higher difficulty. After a few weeks of 5 minutes a day, our posture muscles start to become more stable and can help with pain reduction. The above is most appropriate for lower back issues.
7) Joint Mobilization – There is much hope in restoring motion to joints that have pain. A study comparing recovery rates from injuries sustained by baseball players and hockey players found that hockey players had a much quicker overall recovery from injuries with less pain. Scientists seem to think that as a general rule, hockey players have a much higher rate of body mobility with continually moving versus baseball players who tend to be more sedentary. Joint mobility is important for joint health and helps to block pain. Joint mobilization and manipulation (whether by hand or instrument) is an effective means to reduce pain.
Disclaimer – the above ideas are not meant for clients who are known to have systemic inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disorders, etc. Consult with your chiropractor or primary care doctor before implementing a self-guided home exercise program.
– Dr. Michael Lau, D.C.
Ste D, 6130 South Maplewood Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74136