Managing Lower Back Pain
Dear back pain,
I hate you.
When it comes to lower back pain, there really isn’t much more to say.
Lower back pain is a common symptom of psoriatic arthritis. In my experience, lower back pain is unlike any other pain I experience. The pain in my hand joints and foot joints can be isolated in my mind. I imagine the pain in my extremities and as odd as it may sound, sort of section off that portion of my body. But you can’t really manage lower back pain that way.
It comes from my core
Lower back pain is central in the body. It is part of your core muscles and skeletal systems. Extending from the middle, our lower backs keep us upright and allows our lower body to move freely. Whether it makes its appearance as shooting, dull, or sharp, lower back pain is a very unique type of psoriatic arthritis pain.
It seems every movement makes it worse
Picking up toys, loading the dishwasher, or restocking shelves- every little movement can make lower back pain feel worse. It is difficult to find a comfortable position, even when I’m trying to rest and relieve the pressure. Will extra pressure help? Do I need to lay flat and try to relieve the pressure that way? It can be very difficult to know which will work best.
Tips for managing lower back pain
Strengthen your core
Because the pain is felt deep in the core, it makes sense that if you strengthen your core, you will be better equipped to manage the pain. Yoga and other core-centered activities are a good place to start to strengthen your core muscles. Even something as simple as sitting on an exercise ball can help strengthen your core. (Of course, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any form of exercise.)
Heat/Ice pack wraps
These nifty little things make everyday life and managing lower back pain much easier. Available at any local drug store or online, finding a nice long wrap with a pocket for a heat or ice pack can help you keep moving and managing the pain.
It is a good idea to speak with your doctor about a brace that will help support your lower back and manage the pain, especially if your work requires that you be on your feet a lot. Or if you have to do a lot of lifting during your day. Quality braces are widely available and can make a big difference in the amount of pain you experience.
Find chiropractic care or physical therapy
I know quite a few people who swear by their chiropractors as the key to managing their lower back pain. Chiropractors have a unique understanding of how the spine works in relation to the rest of your body. They can also make great recommendations for physical therapy activities you can do to keep lower back pain at bay.
You will find that doctors have many labels for lower back pain depending on their origin. Sacroiliitis and ankylosing spondylitis are just a couple, your chart may have a few of them added as well. But regardless of their terminology or origin, all I know, as a patient, is that lower back pain is the pits.
Have you ever gotten a second opinion from a different doctor about your PsA?