Amelia Grant

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Author: AmeliaGrant

7 Effective Ways to Manage Inflammatory Back Pain

Inflammatory back pain is a type of back pain that’s caused by rheumatoid arthritis. It occurs when the immune system starts to mistakenly attack the joints in the spine. Inflammatory back pain is also called ankylosing spondylitis. 

Since it’s provoked by inflammation it’s incurable and requires proper management. Inflammatory back pain management typically involves taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and following other doctor’s recommendations. Adherence to medical therapy is actually crucial and allows you to slow down the progression of the disease and avoid serious complications such as disability. 

However, in addition to following doctor’s recommendations, there are several tips that can help you keep your back pain in check: 

1. Learn to lift heavy things correctly 

Just like for anyone with rheumatoid arthritis, staying physically active is essential for those who have inflammatory back pain but lifting heavy items isn’t. Physical therapists don’t recommend to move bulky, high-weight objects as it can only worsen your pain. Pay attention to things you carry regularly, for instance, a bag of groceries. 

2. Adapt your workspace for your back 

If you are an office worker and suffer from inflammatory back pain, try to improve your posture at work. You can use a standing desk or an ergonomic chair. You can also alternate between sitting and standing instead of doing one or the other.  Consider choosing low-back support and to sit upright.  Don’t forget to take short brakes every hour to move and stretch. 

3. Purchase the right mattress 

Sleeping on an improper mattress can make your back pain worse. While proper won’t cure your back, it can help you keep good posture while you sleep. Choose a firm mattress, it’s not too soft and not too hard. 

Sleeping on the right mattress can also help you improve your sleep which is essential for overall health. According to a study published in July 2019 in the Scandinavian Journal of Pain, poor sleep has been connected to chronic back pain.  

4. Stay physically active

As mentioned above, regular exercise is essential for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Your primary care physician might recommend that you visit a physical therapist. They will help you learn exercises and stretches the are aimed at relieving back pain and strengthening back muscles. Avoid high-impact exercises the can potentially harm your back and lead to more intense pain. 

5. Be careful during driving 

Driving can’t worsen your back pain on itself but being involved in an accident can cause dangerous injuries, for example, spinal fractures. Be careful during driving and avoid sudden movements. 

6. Start doing deep breathing exercises

Deep breathing is a type of exercise that can help relieve inflammatory back pain. Deep breathing involves repeated deep inhaling and exhaling to increase your lung capacity as well as lower any inflammation in rib joints. 

If you have progressive ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis can affect your rib joints as well. This can affect the ability of your ribs to rise and fall while breathing which makes it hard for your lungs to function properly. 

7. Make your home safe to avoid fractures 

Make sure your home is safe for you and your spine. Preventing falls is especially important for you since inflammatory back pain increases the risk for getting spinal fractures that can lead to irreversible consequences. Eliminate “trip points”, for instance, rolled-up rug corners or cluttered rooms and be especially careful in the shower or bathtub.   

If you want to learn more ways to reduce your inflammatory back pain, talk to your primary care physician or rheumatologist and they will help you choose the most effective ones. 


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