Acupuncture and chiropractic treatments, stretching and yoga for prevention and pain relief.
By making your back — and your entire body — more flexible, you can speed healing and reduce the risks of further injury. Stretching helps relieve pain by increasing your back’s ability to move. The body responds to injury or overuse by becoming stiff; this stops the body’s natural healing response, but movement can help counteract the stiffness. Also, increasing the oxygen flow throughout the body will help to heal and alleviate pain. Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist about which stretches they recommend for you.
Yoga has been used for thousands of years to promote health and prevent disease, and many people with back problems have found yoga to provide several benefits, including:
- Relieving pain
- Increasing strength and flexibility
- Teaching relaxation and acceptance
Although no one treatment works for everyone, many aspects of yoga make it ideal for treating back and neck pain. Studies have shown that those who practice yoga for as little as twice a week for 8 weeks make significant gains in strength, flexibility, and endurance. In addition, the breathing and meditation aspects of yoga induce a “relaxation response” that has been found in many studies to assist people in decreasing their pain.
Chiropractic care is a treatment alternative that can help ease pain and speed recovery without the use of drugs or surgery with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine. Most chiropractors seek to reduce pain and improve the functionality of patients as well as to educate them on how they can account for their own health via exercise, ergonomics and other therapies to treat back pain.
While acupuncture is often not the first line of treatment sought for most back or neck problems, an increasing number of patients, as well as physicians and other health professionals are starting to use acupuncture as a means to reduce neck and back pain. During an acupuncture treatment session, anywhere from one to 20 FDA-approved, metallic needles are inserted into the body, ranging from just breaking the surface to up to one or several inches long. The acupuncture needles are often left in for approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
People experience acupuncture differently, and rarely do they describe it as ‘painful’. During the course of the acupuncture procedure, specific chemicals in the body are released that can affect back pain physically and psychologically.
To prevent back pain, consider adding specific stretching or yoga to your regular exercise routine. If you are currently suffering from back pain, talk to your doctor to help decide which course of action is best for you. Then, you can find providers for Chiropractic, Acupuncture and other covered services by loging in to myuhc.com® and clicking on “Physicians & Facilities.”