While living with chronic back pain is a challenge at the best of times, it does not have to stop you from living your best life.
It is estimated that roughly 23% of the world’s adult population suffers from chronic lower back pain, which often affects their everyday activities.
And while there are ways to treat and prevent it, once it’s there, chances are it will come back at least once.
Here is how lower back pain affects quality of life and what you can do to improve it.
It Can Take a Toll on Your Mental Health
Living with chronic pain will likely affect your mental health. You might start suffering from conditions like anxiety and depression. Plus, the heightened stress levels will also lead to irritability and mood swings.
It’s important to recognize when the pain starts to actively affect your emotional wellbeing. While short, occasional bursts of irritability and anger, a short fuse, or a low couple of days are perfectly okay, if the pain and emotional stress continue, consider looking for a solution for both.
It Can Impact Your Self-Esteem
Living with back pain can also impact the way you see yourself. The more unwell you feel and the worse your mood gets, the harsher you can start to treat yourself. If your pain also directly impacts your productivity levels and your work starts to suffer, you will feel even less valuable and worthy.
It’s important to understand that chronic pain does not make you any less you. Know that you can still work on having a fulfilled life. There will be challenges to overcome, but remember that everyone has some mountain to climb; yours just happens to be painful.
It Can Impact Your Relationships
Chronic pain can also affect your relationships, both at work and with friends and family. As you become more irritable, you are more likely to snap at others and less likely to actively seek out social situations. Over time, the pain can make you feel alone and lonely, especially since no one will actually be able to understand how unwell you may be feeling.
While it will require effort, make sure to keep seeing people and going places as often as you can. Talk to the people around you and explain how the pain is affecting you. Try to develop a system that will help you stay involved in everyone’s lives without compromising your health.
How to Diminish the Effects of Back Pain on Your Quality of Life
Living with back pain means understanding that some days will be better than others. When a bad day rolls around, do what you can to make yourself more comfortable, and wait for it to pass.
Here are some general tips that can help you improve your quality of life despite the pain:
- Invest in a better mattress.
How you sleep can greatly impact your back pain. Consult your doctor and a sleep specialist and find a great mattress that will give you just the right kind of support. Look for naturally made mattresses that don’t contain fiberglass that will also keep your skin healthy and help you breathe easily during the night.
- Do some light stretches and exercises.
Consult your doctor or a physical therapist for the right kinds of movement patterns. Depending on where the pain is, they can prescribe a routine that will help alleviate some of the immediate pain. Make sure to do your exercises regularly to both strengthen and relax your back muscles.
- Don’t spend too much time in bed.
While the simplest thing to do when you are in pain may be to lie down and wait for it to pass, lying in bed can actually make the pain worse. Your muscles need to move to stay healthy, so despite the pain, make an effort to move.
- Find the right medication.
There are plenty of over-the-counter meds that can help with the pain. Make sure to consult your pharmacist and doctor about the dosages you should be taking and how your pain meds will affect your everyday activities. Make sure to always take your prescription as recommended, and don’t experiment with pain meds on your own.
While living with chronic back pain is a challenge at the best of times, it does not have to stop you from living your best life. As long as you understand how to manage it and don’t push yourself harder than you need to, you’ll form a routine that works for you and your way of life.