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7 Tips for a Better Life with Chronic Back Pain

Published May 12, 2020
| Written By SpineNation Editorial Staff  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 20.4% of American adults live with chronic pain and 8% of American adults live with high-impact chronic pain. 

Chronic pain can be limiting and/or debilitating. In time, chronic pain may lead to anxiety and depression, and for those treating their chronic pain with opioids, dependency or abuse of their prescriptions. Research shows that people suffering with chronic pain are four times more likely to face depression or anxiety.

When emotional and physical pain collide, what can you do to manage your symptoms? How do you push forward? The truth is there's no easy fix. There's no magic spell we can recite to make our chronic back pain go away, however, there are ways to cope.

Here are seven reasonable tips that, with some positivity and support, can guide you to live your best self despite chronic back pain.

Force yourself to go outside. There is a link between depression and vitamin D deficiency. Go for a leisurely walk if you are able. It doesn't have to be a sprint, just feel the wind on your face. For many people, walking is as good as using using antidepressants, says Harvard Medical School assistant professor of psychiatry Dr. Michael Craig Miller.

Move your body. Try simple exercises or yoga to relieve your chronic back pain. Movement helps loosen your muscles, which decreases back pain. Yoga is gentle, therapeutic, and easy to modify if your pain levels don't allow you to do the complete stretches. You can start with these five yoga poses for back pain recommended by our experts.

Talk about it. Have you noticed that holding in your emotions sometimes causes physical discomfort? When you finally let it out and ask for help, you can feel a weight lifted from your shoulders. Start sharing either in a support group online or real-life with a therapist, friends, and family in addition to your health care professional. Be open and honest not only about your chronic back pain but mental health as well.

Online therapy, also acknowledged as "e-therapy" or "e-counseling", is a comparatively novel development in treating mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. It consists of a therapist or counselor presenting psychological advice and support over the Internet via e-mail, video conferencing, online chat or Internet phone.

Good sleep hygiene. Poor sleep increases your body's sensitivity to pain and sleep deprivation adds to symptoms of depression. Perhaps changing your sleep routine can help you get the needed overnight rest you desire. Other things to try are altering your bedroom temperature, updating your bedding, and taking a shower before going to sleep.

Mediation. Regular meditation can work to lower your body’s level of pain as well as improve sleep. Take a moment to quiet your mind before drifting off to sleep. You can try an app to get you started. Headspace is great popular guided mediation app and offers a free trial.

Laughter is the best medicine. Not only does laughing diminish stress hormones, it also increases your ability to fight infection, which in return improves your resistance to disease and other conditions. In addition, laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural euphoric compounds. Endorphins enhance your feelings of pleasure and can even temporarily reduce your back pain levels.

Redefine happiness. Focus on finding endurance and strength in your chronic back pain and discover things to look forward to or be grateful for all day. Start training your brain by aiming to become intentionally aware of when you begin thinking negative. When that happens, work to snap yourself out of the cycle. And, you don't have to do this alone.


For the every 8 in 10 Americans who live with chronic back pain, 79 percent saw an improvement in their quality of life once they adapted to their new normal applying these seven tips. Your pain's venomous potency may attempt to loiter, but with support and help from your medical specialists, you can live well. As yesterday has come and gone, tomorrow will come with a breath of fresh air.

Updated: April 27, 2020

Information provided within this article is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for medical advice. Those seeking specific medical advice should consult his or her doctor or surgeon. If you need to consult with a specialist, you may be able find a health care provider in our Specialist Finder. SpineNation does not endorse treatments, procedures, products or physicians.

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