Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that medical and chiropractic practitioners both underutilize exercise in treatment plans for chronic low back and neck pain. The study surveyed nearly 700 participants with chronic back or neck pain who had visited a doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist at some point during the previous 12 months. According to the survey answers, less than half the doctors and chiropractors prescribed exercise to their patients.
However, physical therapists were the most likely to recommended exercise, as well as stretching, to their clients. Physical therapists were also more likely to oversee their patients’ activity.
The researchers believe exercise is one of the few moderately effective therapies for chronic back pain and neck pain. Their findings strongly suggest exercise should be a regular aspect of any treatment program for chronic pain.
Exercise helps strengthen muscles and keeps joints healthy. It can also help protect again achy backs. A lot of back pain is the result of regular, daily activity such as bad posture, sitting for long periods at work, a bad mattress, high heels and heavy handbags, overloaded backpacks, and even sneezing. Just as the sudden back and forth movement of the head can cause whiplash, the extreme motion of a sudden, robust sneeze can actually result in the spinal joints shifting, jamming, or moving in an awkward way that leads to pain. If someone has a disk close to herniating, a strong sneeze can cause a slipped disk. So if you experience any pain after a sneeze, play it safe and make an appointment to get a chiropractic check up.
While doing activities or jobs that require repetitive motion can be a significant cause of back pain so can an inactive, sedentary lifestyle. The longer you sit the more likely it is the fluid surrounding your spinal joints will stiffen. At the very least try to get a half hour of exercise every day, and make sure to stand up and stretch a little once an hour. Keeping your muscles and joints loose relieves stress and will reduce the possibility your back will get stiff.
It is ironic that the one thing designed by nature to rejuvenate our bodies and mind can end up being a major pain in the upper behind. All manner of back pain can be traced back to our time sleeping, whether it’s an old mattress that no longer supports, pillows that fail to properly align our heads and necks, and even the position we sleep in. If you constantly wake up achy and stiff, consider buying a new mattress and replacing your pillows.