Lower back pain is a nightmare to suffer from and can affect the daily lives of millions of people, robbing them of sleep and making life unbearably uncomfortable. One of the many culprits of lower back pain is arthritis of the spine which can be characterised by:
- Spinal stiffness in the mornings
- Lower back pain that may travel as far down as the thighs
- Difficulty in walking or bending
- Localised tenderness
- Tingling or numbness of the nerve or spinal cord
Lower back pain caused by arthritis can be difficult to treat and most sufferers are prescribed over the counter medicine. However, ongoing research shows that lifestyle changes can also impact on the symptoms.
Treatment tips for arthritis induced lower back pain
Most of the following tips can also be used for other back pain complaints, but you should always refer to your doctor first so that any underlying cause for your pain can be ruled out.
Extra weight adds stress to already inflamed joints, so one of the lifestyle changes you can make is to try and lose weight. It is easier said than done, but if the incentive is to be free from back pain and increase your mobility, isn't it worth it?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, a study of women between the ages of 58 and 75 who took part in back strengthening exercises suffered fewer vertebrae fractures than those who didn't. Back strengthening exercises are great for back muscles, even if you don't suffer from arthritis. The UK NHS Choices details some of the best lower back exercises to do. Taking up Yoga or Tai Chi which focuses on gentle and slow exercises can also help.
Even if you aren't keen on a regular exercise program, just getting up and walking around or stretching can help your circulation and increase your body's production of the natural painkiller endorphin.
Smoking can contribute to back pain as it reduces the flow of oxygen to vital ligaments and the discs in your spine. Discs which are subjected to a reduced oxygen flow are more likely to degenerate, exacerbating any back pain. Smoking can also reduce the healing process.
Change your shoes
The shoes you wear can either help to reduce or increase your lower back pain. Avoid shoes with high heels or completely flat shoes. Choose comfortable, supportive shoes and consider using orthopaedic insoles.
Eating a balanced diet along with other lifestyle changes can help to reduce the most common lower bank pains associated with arthritis.