Having chronic back pain is no joke. It’s a tough thing to deal with and if you ignore it, unfortunately, it won’t go away.
You’ve got to be proactive about how to treat chronic back pain and you shouldn’t delay.
The exercises and treatments for back pain are not hard to learn or perform.
The most important part to rehabilitating your back is a strong commitment you need to make on a daily basis.
You need to set aside a hour or so per day to stay vigilant and do the appropriate back exercises and stretches.
Get to know these exercises and start adding them to your daily routine.
There is also some great therapy tools/home equipment that you can get for very little money that will also improve your results.
Simple things like a… lacrosse ball, foam roller, therapy ball and an Invertabelt should do the trick (discussed later).
I also use an Inversion Table, but these can get a bit more expensive, but are definitely worth it.
When you compare the cost of all these products versus a few months of Physical Therapy, you’ll save thousands of dollars.
So, the question is…
How to Treat Chronic Back Pain?
There’s a number of approaches to treat chronic back pain.
Below is a list of options you have to treat this disorder.
There’s back surgery options, basically spinal fusion surgeries or Laminectomies.
Laminectomies have had better results than fusions based on my patients feedback over a 10 year span.
I’ve never met a post-op spinal patient that had good results with a spinal fusion surgery.
Even years after the procedure.
In my 10 years experience working with rehab patients with chronic back pain (and with my own personal experience), those that take up a solid back pain exercise program have the best long-term results.
Today, we’ll focus on the most effective ways to get rid of chronic low back pain.
The great thing is that you can do all these therapies at home and you’ll be able to treat your back pain independently.
Start with Ice/Cold:
We always want to treat of any recent injury using R.I.C.E. That is.. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
But… We also want to use cold therapy with chronic back pain from time to time.
There’s no better way to quite down that aching back than by putting your feet up on a chair or couch and applying an ice pack for 20 minutes.
You take the pressure off the back and let the cold calm down the system.
What About Heat?
Heat is wonderful as well. A simple hot pack can relax the back muscles, increase blood flow and healing and also has a calming effect.
That being said, know that Exercise, over everything else, is what is going to help get your back pain more than anything else.
There are so many great back pain exercises, but I think we’ve got the best ones complied in our last post, 10 Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises.
These are the same exercises that therapists give to their patients and this is really a complete list of low back pain exercises to begin with.
In general with back exercises, you’ll want to sequence the exercises so that they are complementary to one another.
What does this exactly mean?
You want to work opposite motions to help balance out the exercises.
So if you’re working back extension, you want to follow that up with a bit of trunk flexion.
For example, cat/cow or cat/camel as it’s called, is a great example and exercise that you’ll want to add to your daily routine that incorporates these reciprocal relationship.
The goal of back pain exercises is to get the body moving without pain.
Sometimes the exercises and cold therapy are sufficient enough to get rid of chronic back pain, other times, it’s not enough.
Yoga is Awesome:
As a therapist, I was not surprised to make the correlation with Yoga and therapy.
I like to think of yoga as daily therapy.
Yoga incorporates a lot of great exercises and stretches that greatly decrease back pain. Consider joining a local yoga studio or watch some YouTube videos.
The key again is consistency, try to get to 3 yoga classes in per week if possible.
Manual Therapy & Modalities:
Manual therapy techniques can work great for some people, but they usually require a therapist.
You can do some excellent manual therapy on yourself using a foam roller, but the most effective tool I’ve found to self administer manual techniques for low back pain is The Invertabelt.
It’s a really great product that incorporates manual therapy by providing overpressure and decompression to the spine.
The results are great.
They’ve also got a whole series of exercises that are dedicated to low back pain.
We highly recommended them and encourage you to read our in depth review of The Invertabelt.
As for Modalities:
Modalities can be effective in treating back pain, but again you’re looking at going into Physical Therapy or buying a home based system.
On a personal note: I did 8 weeks with a PT that focused on modalities and got zero results.
As a therapist, I had a bad shoulder years ago and did 2 months of Laser Therapy and also didn’t get much for results.
Maybe that’s just me, but I find that I respond to manual therapy techniques better.
Dry Needle Therapy:
This again is a PT service that can get pretty costly. The results are phenomenal and can really break up atrophied muscles in the back as well as significantly reduce back pain.
It takes a few sessions to get used to the needles, but the results are great.
You’ll still need to combine this with a back exercise program to optimize your results.
This is a new product in the back pain treatment category.
It was created by Physical Therapist as a way to specifically treat lower back pain on your own.
So it’s a home low back pain product that you administer yourself. You watch some videos and it works really well.
I’ve been using it personally for several months and I think it has the best value of all the ways to approach back pain.
Especially from home.
It uses a couple physiological principles that help you get your back moving again.
That is, overpressure and decompression of the spine.
The product comes with core strengthening exercises and I think you’ll get really solid results for low back pain using the Invertabelt.
Foam Rollers are wonderful, you should own several.
You can use them to work both the upper and lower back. A Foam Roller is a great way to get a deep manual therapy/massage like treatment for most any part of the body.
Foam Rollers are also a safe way to perform a spinal twists, as well as, crack your back to get your spinal column realigned.
There are a ton of foam roller brands out there, pick something that will be comfortable and also go for a longer foam roller.
They are easier to use for the various back stretches and exercises versus the shorter ones.
I also find foam rollers are one of the best ways to treat myofascial knots for upper back pain.
Therapy balls are great for a number of home therapy related things. You can work core strength in a unique way with a therapy ball that is very safe and intuitive to learn.
You can also use a therapy ball to put your feet up on and find a nice resting position for the managing chronic back pain.
It also provides distraction to the lower back naturally and so it’s nice to have a Therapy Ball lying around at home.
Upper or Lower Back Pain: What Ails Ya!
Most people suffer from chronic lower back pain versus upper back pain.
But, for upper back pain, the Foam Roller and a Lacrosse Ball work great.
Both can be used to treat painful knots that accumulate in the upper back, middle back and shoulders.
By using direct pressure as well as a rolling movement with a Lacrosse Ball you can provide a deep therapeutic pressure that will diminish knots and a decrease upper back pain.
What’s the Best Way to Treat Chronic Back Pain at Home?
For Upper Back Pain: A combination of therapeutic exercises the encourages upper back movements, a foam roller, and a Lacrosse Ball.
For Lower Back Pain: A combination of our Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises and The Invertabelt should do the trick.
If not, you could add an Inversion Table to your daily routine to provide addition back pain relief.
Work at this habitually and you’ll get great results.
The Invertabelt comes with very detailed instructions for specific exercises and it’s easy to create a work out program with this device.
Try to get at least 3 sessions per day where you can work between the exercises for best results.
Now you know how to treat chronic back pain, if you have any questions or feedback, leave a comment below.