Holistic Approaches to Managing Back and Neck Pain

Holistic methods of pain management offer a more well-rounded approach to managing your back or neck pain. They also help with sustainable outcomes that reduce the recurrence of pain episodes.

In addition to spinal manipulation, chiropractors may provide information about dietary issues, exercise, and ergonomic changes. This holistic approach to pain management helps you feel better and live a healthier lifestyle.

Chiropractic Care

A form of alternative medicine, chiropractic (which comes from the Greek word for “done by hand”) focuses on manipulating the body’s structure, especially the spine. 

Studies have found that spinal manipulation improves back pain or neck pain, and headaches. It may also ease other health issues, such as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.

A chiropractor will start by doing a physical exam of your body, including testing your range of motion. Spinal manipulation is usually not painful, but you might feel a little discomfort during treatment. This is normal, and it should subside within a few days. You can expect your chiropractor to teach you exercises and stretches at home. You can also ask your chiropractor to recommend other holistic treatments for your condition.

Massage

When you think of chiropractic, cracking the neck or back and manual therapy are the first things to come to mind. But chiropractic has a lot more to offer than that. It’s about the health of the nervous system, and chiropractors undergo education and training similar to medical doctors and spine physical therapists.

Spinal adjustments remove interference to the nervous system, which helps every bodily function — from digestion to immunity. Regular adjustments can improve overall wellness, enhance performance, and prevent future injuries and health problems.

Massage may include deep tissue work or gentle spinal mobilization to increase flexibility and range of motion. It also can involve heat to relieve stiffness and pain or cold stimuli to reduce inflammation and stimulate healing. Hydrotherapy is another option, using varying water temperatures via hot baths, whirlpools, or saunas. Electrical stimulation, called TENS, is another treatment that uses electrodes to send light electrical pulses to different areas of the body. This is thought to block pain signals, numb sensitivity, and release the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins.

Exercise

If you have persistent neck pain, you should consider working with a physical therapist specializing in spine treatment. They can teach you stretches and exercises that are targeted toward your specific neck problems. These activities have been shown to help reduce neck and back pain.

Exercise is also a great way to help improve posture. Many people with chronic neck pain have poor posture, and this can put a lot of strain on the muscles and joints in the back and neck. Exercise helps to loosen tight muscles and strengthen weak ones, reducing neck and back pain.

Chiropractors can often provide patients with information regarding how they can manage their pain through diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications. This can reduce the need for medications that come with their own set of side effects. This type of holistic approach can offer long-term sustainability and a higher quality of life than simply masking the pain with medication.

Diet

The foods you eat can have a direct impact on pain and inflammation. Some foods promote inflammation, while others help reduce it.

Inflammation is the body’s natural defense against infection but can become a problem when it is chronic and unchecked. Changing your diet to one that is anti-inflammatory may help reduce or even prevent back and neck pain.

Some helpful dietary changes include:

Avoiding processed foods, high sugar, and trans fats can significantly improve your health. Try consuming more omega-3s (fish, flax seeds, walnuts), leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, and other colorful fruits and veggies. Drinking plenty of water is important as well. Hydration can help maintain the height of the discs in your spine and take pressure off the joints. It can also help keep the muscles in your neck hydrated and prevent stiffness.