Back pain is more likely with age, a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, obesity and stress. “Adjusting your lifestyle is one of the best ways to manage chronic back pain,” says wellness pain management specialist Hong Shen, MD.

1. Use Food As Medicine - “Inflammation is the root cause of many types of chronic pain,” explains Dr. Shen. “Eating lots of sugars, refined carbs like flour and processed foods increase inflammation and pain.”

Step away from the standard American diet that’s high in calories and low in micronutrients. Embrace a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients instead:
a) Choose a variety of color in veggies and fruits
b) Eat beans in moderation
c) Get moderate amounts of protein
d) Eliminate processed foods.
e) Avoid food sensitivities
f) Eat healthy fats

2. Manage the stress in your life- Pain triggers the release of stress hormones that make muscles tighten up. “Muscle tension reduces blood flow to tissues, bringing them less oxygen and fewer nutrients. When this happens, you feel pain,” explains Dr. Shen.

3. Do not shortchange your sleep - “Sleep is very, very important — it helps your body heal,” says Dr. Shen. “Lack of sleep releases more stress hormones, lowers pain tolerance and worsens existing pain.”

4. Make physical activity a habit - Motion is lotion for your back,” says Dr. Shen. Exercise— even when you’re in pain — is critical to recovery.

5. Try acupuncture for relief - “Tell your acupuncturist if you are on blood thinners, or have a spinal cord stimulator or pacemaker,” says Dr. Shen. “The acupuncturist will adjust your treatment plan.”


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