Back pain is one of the most common health issues in the world, with over 30 million Americans experiencing it at any given time. It is also the #2 complaint for doctor’s visits in the United States, trailing only respiratory infections. Yet something as simple as stretching can help eliminate this issue on a widespread level.
Reducing back pain is not done by any single thing, as there are a number of options for sufferers. According to a recent survey, more than 80% of American adults believe that regular meetings with a chiropractor would be one way to reduce their pain. Chiropractors (like Dr. Michael Sinel) can certainly help, and one of the ways they help is through offering targeted stretching and rehabilitation programs.
Yoga and stretching work wonders. The Annals of Internal Medicine published a study which claimed that among people with chronic low back pain, weekly yoga increased mobility beyond that of standard medical care. The combination of pushing one’s body into new positions and highlighting the areas which experienced pain or discomfort allowed patients to regain flexibility and strength in areas which were previously stunted.
One of the primary advantages of yoga and stretching is that each can be done with minimal expense to the patient in the form of workout equipment. Yoga’s popularity has ballooned in recent years and is now practiced by well over 35 million Americans. Typically the only equipment needed is a soft mat, which can be purchased for under $20 at a number of major retailers. As for in-home stretching practices, a soft spot on the floor is the only requirement. This ease of access is part of what makes stretching such a success for alleviating back pain; there is no barrier to entry for people who need to stretch and it can be done at a moment’s notice.
Consulting with a chiropractor about ways to improve posture can also help to reduce low back pain. A professional who specializes in spinal pain or spinal disorders can help a patient pinpoint the pain center and prescribe specific stretches or poses which target that area. While a do-it-yourself attitude to stretching may seem like a good idea, it’s important to consult with someone whose profession is based on knowing the human body to make sure the correct stretches are used. It is certainly possible to overdo a stretch and make things worse.
In the event that a patient suffers from a spinal disorder beyond chronic back pain, extra care should be taken. This is when it is particularly beneficial to contact a spinal disorder specialist to ensure that no further damage is done.