We will all experience pain at some time if our nerves are connected to our brain by an intact spinal cord. Anything that stresses our body parts can cause pain. That includes distention, swelling, tears, lacerations, microtears, strains, sprains, traction, shearing, laxity, degeneration, or overuse. When our body is not in good shape, from a poor diet, lack of exercise, decline in elasticity, or chronic repetitive motion, we are more likely to experience an injury and pain.
Inflammation from sugar and processed foods will make pain worse. It does not take much of an injury to trigger pain in an inflamed individual. Doing an elimination diet of inflammatory foods for 3 weeks can often improve pain symptoms significantly. There are herbs that can help decrease inflammation in your body, including turmeric, ginger, Boswellia, white willow bark, and green tea. Infla-Regulator by Akasha Naturals is one of my favorite supplements for pain because it is a blend of multiple anti-inflammatory herbs and botanicals. A huge aspect of pain is actually due to inflammation (arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, anything ending in -itis!), so when you decrease the inflammation, you can decrease the pain.
As we age, our cartilage and intervertebral discs become less juicy, and therefore our joint spaces are narrower. At the same time, our ligaments do not shorten to accommodate the narrower joint space, leading to microscopic instability and pain. Prolotherapy is injections of a dextrose-based solution at the point where ligaments attach to bones to stimulate new collagen production to decrease the ligamentous laxity, decreasing the pain.
If you haven’t had back pain, then you’re in the minority since 80% of adults experience back pain in their lifetime. One common cause is positional – sitting hunched over a computer at a desk for 8+ hours a day will cause some muscles to be too tight (hip flexors) and some muscles to be too weak (lumbar extensor muscles), leading to imbalance and pain. Getting up to walk around and stretch every 40 minutes can help relieve some of this pain. Getting 30-45 minutes of sustained exercise 5 days a week can condition our muscles to withstand positional stresses.
Lack of sleep and sleeping on your stomach are both triggers for back pain. The spine is not in a neutral position when we are prone (on our stomach). Learning to sleep on your back will help achieve a more neutral spine alignment while you sleep. Tight muscles in your legs, back, and neck can interrupt a good night’s sleep. I recommend Muscle Ease PM by Akasha Naturals to be taken at bedtime to help reduce muscle tension and spasms and improve sleep.
Bren Boston, MD is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and sees patients at the Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine in Santa Monica, California. You can Schedule an appointment with her by calling 310-451-8880 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org