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Treating Back Pain Before It Starts

By Tracey Lewis | May 2, 2018

Treating back pain shouldn't be a pain in, well, the back. Almost 80 percent of people experience lower back pain over their lifetime, according to the American Spinal Decompression Association (ASDA). Because back pain is often associated with either manual labor or a sedentary lifestyle, it tends to increase in frequency and severity if early intervention doesn't occur. Treating back pain before it worsens is necessary for members to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it helps benefits administrators control health care costs, too.

Taking Measures to Reduce Back Stress

Upper back pain in the workplace is typically associated with jobs that require being on one's feet or heavy lifting through the course of the day, such as grocery workers or nurses. The Mayo Clinic suggested the following methods to reducing force and repetitive stress injuries:

  • Modify repetitive tasks. Limit bending and twisting at the same time;
  • Use lifting devices, and lift with the legs; and
  • Know that some tasks exacerbate pain and aggravate the upper back.

Improving Back Issues Through Holistic Techniques

The aforementioned ASDA report found Americans suffering from back pain expend $26 billion each year in health care costs to treat it. This appears as medical expenses stemming from treatment, lost income and lost productivity. Some therapeutic relief methods may provide similar results to pharmaceutical intervention at a fraction of the cost and related issues to pain medicine use, including:

  • Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) - Osteopathic manipulation is the therapeutic application of manual pressure or force, using several techniques. According to the Cleveland Clinic, OMT also provides significant lower back pain relief.
  • Mindfulness Techniques - Physicians are discovering that among older adults experiencing chronic back pain, non-pharmacological interventions may deliver better pain management. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine revealed that mindfulness meditation has a measurable and lasting effect on reducing severe lower back pain while increasing daily function for pain sufferers.

Age-related Lower Back Pain and Prevention Tips

As Americans live and work longer, age-related changes to the musculoskeletal system are to be expected. In fact, a study in the Journal of American Medical Association noted that adults 65 and older typically report poor outcomes from treatment by pain medications alone. The Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders Journal explained that older adults who left the workforce reported a higher incidence of spinal stenosis, fractures related to osteoporosis and tumors. Additionally, age-related changes in mental and physiological health greatly impact lower back pain, along with providers' abilities to deliver the best treatment methods.

Because lower back pain is reported as the most common health problem, according to the Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders Journal, it's vital to manage these issues before they advance beyond early intervention treatments.

No matter a member's age, these techniques can be implemented to prevent back pain or reduce back injury and inform members about reducing back pain whether at work or home.

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