Over-the-counter medication may be all you need to take care of occasional back pain, but it may not be great for long-term back pain. You may develop a tolerance for the medication, and if you need a stronger prescription, you can risk dependence. If you have chronic back pain, here are two drug-free ways to find relief.
1. Chiropractic Treatment
Many insurance plans cover an allotment of chiropractic treatments per year. An adjustment once or twice a month may be all you need to manage pain.
Many people have sedentary jobs, which are horrible for the neck, back, and leg muscles. When you sit all day, your neck may crane forward, and your hip flexors may become too tight. To compensate for awkward positioning, your spine gets thrown out of alignment. When your spine gets thrown out of alignment, it can actually compress nerves and cause conditions like sciatica.
When you go to a chiropractor, he or she can relieve some of that nerve pressure and swelling. He or she can use a nervoscope, a device similar to a thermometer. It measures the temperature on either side of your spine. When your nerves are compressed, the blood flow is altered as well. The nervoscope can help your chiropractor figure out which vertebrae to adjust for the best results.
Besides offering adjustments, many chiropractors offer massage therapy for back pain. Massage techniques are fantastic back-pain relievers. When muscles are massaged, blood flow increases in the area. Improved circulation means more oxygen and healing to sore muscles. Massage can also increase endorphins, chemicals which are known to reduce pain and make people feel better.
2. At-Home TENS Unit
TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. When you need to unwind from your day and relieve back pain, you can use a TENS unit at home. Your chiropractor, or another medical professional, can set you up with an at-home TENS unit and again, your insurance may cover a portion of the cost.
The idea of electrical nerve stimulation may seem scary, but TENS units are very safe if you follow the manufacturer's instructions. These devices have two electrodes which you can stick to areas of pain, like your low back. When you turn the machine on, you will feel a slight tingling in the area. These devices use a very low current to interrupt pain signals before they reach the brain.
You don't have to suffer in silence. Reach out to a chiropractor today for an in-office appointment or for at-home options, like a TENS unit.