Published April 9, 2018 by Dr R.J. Burr

If you want to avoid opioids and surgery for back pain, it’s important to make sure your daily physical habits and behaviours are in line.

First, it’s important to understand opioids — a type of pain medication — and surgery aren’t inherently bad. There are certainly times where pain medication is needed and surgery is a must. However, current low back pain recommendations are based on treatments rather than prevention, and the inappropriately high use of imaging, rest, opioids, spinal injections, and surgery will not reduce back-related disability or its long-term consequences.

Almost everyone will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. According to recently released low back pain series by The Lancet, low back pain is now the leading cause of disability worldwide.

There are many non-surgical back pain relief back pain treatment options available, such as chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture and other alternative treatment methods.

Non-invasive options can be great ways to treat back pain naturally. Although, it’s difficult to know which one will be right for you, without wasting time and money in the process.

Did you know there are ways to prevent and manage your own back pain without costly procedures or treatments? Back pain is often the result of habitual postures, positions, and movements you subject yourself to daily. Rather than hope that there’s a silver bullet for instant back pain relief, it’s best to spend your time to understand then address how you use your body.

Here are three simple tips to help you avoid the costs of chronic back pain

Move your body and move often! Technology is amazing and modern conveniences are, well, convenient, but it comes with the costs associated with needing to move our bodies nearly as often. We used to have to hunt for our food. Now, you can “1-click” a meal delivered to your door!

If you can identify activities, movements or positions that make you feel better or worse, keep doing what’s better and avoid what’s worse.

When you have to sit, sit up straight! It’s been demonstrated in our culture our spines spend over 90% of the day in some sort of forward flexion, a.k.a., slouching. Slouching places prolonged stress on our joints, tendons, and ligaments causing them to become painful. For example, take your finger and bend it back as far as you can. Now, pull it back a little more and hold it there. Okay, let go because it’s likely quite achy at this point! The bent-finger example is like what we’re doing to our spines causing back pain from sitting all day.

Use a standing or adjustable desk. To piggyback off number one, the more you move the better, and a standing desk promotes an overall more active and healthy lifestyle.

By taking control of your daily physical habits by employing the strategies discussed, you have the power to recover from chronic back pain or prevent it from occurring in the first place!

Lastly, it’s important to note not all back pain is created equal. Back pain most commonly is the result of daily postural habits and lack of movement; however, it can be from something more serious. If you’ve tried to fix your back pain without success, it’s best to seek out professional advice.