Back pain is a common health issue today that affects at least 8 out of 10 people.” American Chiropractic Association

Chronic pain persists for weeks or months and is usually associated with an underlying condition, such as arthritis. The severity of chronic pain can be mild, moderate, or severe.
Here are some tips to create better habits and that may help the underlying problem and strengthen the back.

 Drink plenty of water to enhance the height of your intervertebral disks. Since your body is composed mostly of water, staying hydrated will keep you fluid and reduce stiffness.

Quit smoking. Smoking reduces blood flow to your lower spine, causing the spinal discs to degenerate.

Maintain an optimal weight so there is no extra stress on the spine.

When lifting items, use your legs and, always keep your back straight.

Sleep on your side to reduce any curve in your spine. Sleep on a firm surface with a pillow between your legs to keep the spine in a neutral position. Or sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees to help maintain the normal curve of your lower back.

Switch your sitting positions often. Periodically get up and walk around or gently stretch your muscles to relieve tension. Take breaks and peform Brueger’s Relief Position periodically throughout the day. Click here for a demonstration.

Sit in chairs or car seats with good lumbar support.Correct posture means keeping your feet flat on the floor and your computer keyboard within easy reach so you’re not leaning forward.

Don’t stand in one position for long periods of time. Move. If your job requires a lot of standing, invest in a good cushioned floor mat to stand on.

Soak in a tub of warm water and Epsom salts; this brings relief to sore muscles and is great for your skin as well.

Get restorative sleep.

Stretch your hamstrings twice daily. Tight hamstrings place additional stress across the lower back and sacroiliac joint, leading to more pain. Click here for more details on stretching.

Use Relaxation Techniques. Research shows that practices such as meditation, deep breathing, tai chi, and yoga, which help put the mind at rest, can do wonders for the back. These modalities can induce a relaxation response which helps reduce the perceived pain level.

Release your inner endorphins. Endorphins, hormones made naturally in the body, can be just as strong as any manufactured pain medication. When endorphins are released in the body, they help block pain signals from registering with the brain. They also help alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression, which are all conditions that are often associated with chronic back pain.Try the following activities to release these feel-good messengers:

A recent National Institutes of Health study looked at back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain. In the article published in the October 2012  issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association they concluded  that “acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain . . .” Click here to read the abstract.