What Can You Do To Speed Up Recovery? Brighton Chiropractor Tells All

There’s nothing more frustrating than finding that the path to recovery is longer than you expected. The cause of back pain is highly individual, often brought on by a combination of different factors, some of which you might not even be aware of. This means that no two journeys will be the same, even within the same diagnosis.

Here we will explain why the progression to back pain relief varies so much from person to person, and what you can do to speed up your recovery. 

What You Need To Know About Back Pain Recovery

These are the main factors determining the speed of your recovery from back pain. 

  • How long you’ve been suffering. Most of the time, back pain is self-limiting, meaning that it will generally heal itself within a week or so with gentle exercise and mild use of painkillers. Having said that, it’s a good idea to start treatment sooner rather than later. If you suffer from regular and debilitating back pain, you should see a chiropractor or physiotherapist rather than waiting for it to get better by itself. This is because chronic conditions are generally more complicated and tend to require more ‘trial and error’ in terms of treatment. However, it’s important to remember that no matter how long you have been suffering from back pain, there is always treatment available and recovery is always possible. 
  • Its origin. Your recovery time will depend on whether your back pain comes from a sudden injury, if it’s a flare-up from an already diagnosed condition, or if it has no obvious cause at all. If you’re diagnosed with ‘acute’ back pain, this doesn’t necessarily mean ‘more serious’, but refers to a complaint that has come on suddenly, severely and is most likely to be short-lived. This is common after straining the muscles in your back after heavy lifting. A ‘chronic’ condition tends to be lower-level in pain but lasts longer –  this can make its cause harder to determine. 
  • Age (sometimes). Generally speaking, people over 65 suffer from more severe back pain and take longer to recover. This is most likely due to the natural ageing process of depleting cartilage, which puts more pressure on your joints. There is also evidence that perception of pain increases with age, making any discomfort feel worse. However, back pain is not an inevitable part of ageing and there are always ways you can improve it. If you want to learn more about back pain and ageing, you can read our blog about it here: Age Does Not Cause Back Pain.
  • Your general health, lifestyle and stress levels. Other conditions can make back pain feel worse and make recovery slower, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, endometriosis and even diabetes. In fact, a 2023 study showed that diabetic patients are 19% to 35% more likely to suffer from back pain than the general population. A sedentary lifestyle, dehydration and Vitamin D deficiency can also make your symptoms worse and slow down your recovery. Stress is also linked to back pain in several ways, contributing to muscle tension, reduced blood flow and a more sensitised perception of pain. 

So What Can Be Done To Speed Up Recovery?

Back pain is often complicated and everyone’s journey to recovery is different. However, there are steps everybody can take to accelerate healing. 

  • Exercise. No matter the severity of your back pain, exercise is paramount to getting better. This can mean going for a walk around the block or simply making sure you get out of your chair every 30 minutes. Regular activity is the best way to regain flexibility and energy. If your chiropractor or physio gives you exercises to do in between appointments, make time for them every day. 
  • Stay hydrated. The jellylike substance that makes up your spinal discs is almost 75% water. Chronic dehydration causes these discs to lose water, meaning that your spine isn’t as supported as it could be, which often results in existing back pain feeling worse. Carry a water bottle with you and make sure you sip regularly throughout the day. Keep alcohol intake to a minimum. 
  • Make sure you have enough calcium and antioxidants in your diet. Calcium is essential for maintaining healthy bones no matter your age, decreasing the chances of developing osteoporosis and preventing fractures. Full-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt are great sources of calcium, or, if you follow a plant-based diet, you can try calcium-fortified orange juice as well as squash, almonds and leafy greens. Many cases of back pain have inflammation or oxidative stress as their root cause, which is alleviated by including plenty of antioxidants in your diet. Some great options include broccoli, kale, citrus fruits, peaches and carrots. 
  • Don’t underestimate the power of Vitamin D. Did you know that the muscle strength of your neck, back and waist decreases when you don’t get enough Vitamin D?  Living in the UK means you’re almost guaranteed to be deficient in the sunshine vitamin for most of the year. It’s a good idea to invest in a good quality supplement, ideally combined with Vitamin K2, which aids in your body’s absorption of the supplement. If you’d like to know more about this, chat to one of our chiropractors about it. Making sure you have enough Vitamin D will lessen muscle spasms, reduce inflammation and strengthen your bones, helping you along a faster path to recovery. 

Remember that there are always steps you can take to speed up your recovery. If you want to know more, book in with one of our chiropractors today. We’re always happy to help.