As clinicians we often think about how to treat a diagnosis. But, as we shift to thinking of our patients as clients and empowering them to take more responsibility for their health, we shift to thinking about how to help them build resilience in their physiologic systems, lifestyles, and emotional-spiritual lives.
My friend and colleague, Dr. Joe Tatta, DPT, has just released a new program to help those who struggle with chronic back pain to build the mind, body, and spirit resolve to relieve their pain and take control of their healing.
Here are Dr. Tatta’s top recommendations for building mind-body-spirit resolve to prevent and relieve back pain…
Reverse Your Chronically Flexed Posture
Unless you are a painter or gymnast too much of your spine time is spent in flexion. Flexion decreases the natural curvature in your lower back causing pressure on discs, nerves and ligaments. Learning some gentle extension goes a long way toward maintaining good posture. In later years a gentle extension progression could save you from a spinal compression fracture.
Strengthen and Stabilize
Flexible joints and muscles can help relieve pain, but without strength and stability, healthy alignment will be a challenge. Especially helpful for lower back pain is movement that builds stability in the abdominal core, which plays a vital role in holding the lower back in place. Core stability exercises will improve your posture, heal your back and tighten your tummy!
Maintain an anti-inflammatory diet, which is optimal for healing. Incorporate ginger and turmeric, which have been proven to decrease pain. Make a fresh pot of Paleo bone broth, which will provide the essential nutrients vital for healing connective tissue such as ligaments, disk and cartilage. Prepare a nightly cup of ginger tea with a pinch of turmeric. This will aid in healing your gut as well as your joints!
Natural Muscle Relaxers
Tension can grab us in places that hurt. Tightness and spasm in the neck and lower back area are common and associate with everything from stress to a pinched nerve. Prescription muscle relaxants can have side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth and dependency. Botanicals sipped in tea or taken in supplement form are safe and known for their relaxant properties. Valerian root, passion flower, and lemon balm are botanical alternative that provide relief without the side effects.
Sleep and Heal
Exercise will no doubt be a part of your recovery from back pain. As you exercise you will build new muscle and tissue. Sleep is a vital part of the recovery process and even more important as you heal. Make sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to reduce stress hormone production, and enable growth hormone to repair connective tissue. A Study in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism (2012) found those with disrupted sleep patterns are more likely to develop chronic pain symptoms. A solid night’s sleep helps normalize stress hormones and releases growth hormone to help heal and repair muscle and connective tissue.
For more integrative tools to help your patients prevent and relieve their chronic back pain, watch Dr. Tatta’s free video training series at The Back Pain Breakthrough.
Joe Tatta, PT, DPT, OCS, CHT is a doctor of physical therapy and Co-Founder of Premier Physical Therapy & Wellness, one of the largest outpatient physical therapy providers in the New York Tri-State area, with multiple locations throughout Manhattan, Westchester and Connecticut. He is board certified in orthopedics from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and a certified hand therapist. He studied nutrition at the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board, is certified in Nutrition from the International Sports Sciences Association and studied functional medicine at the Institute for Functional Medicine. He has provided physical therapy and wellness services for everyone from professional dancers and athletes to baby boomers and senior citizens. His greatest success stems from the growth of his practice and the thousands of clients healed annually. He also actively lectures and mentors health and fitness professionals on all subjects pertaining to health, fitness and wellness.[About Jessica]