If you’re in considerable pain it’s totally understandable that you want some kind of relief. Persistent back pain can be excruciating and debilitating. In the short-term, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional use of pain killers to give you a break from your suffering. The problem with reaching for the painkillers every 4 hours is that it’s not dealing with the cause. If you’re suffering from back pain you’ve probably taken pain killers at some point. However, even if pain killers do give you a few hours relief, they won’t solve the problem. This cycle of pain and numbing the pain with drugs doesn’t bring about a cure. There is also the issue of side effects from medication. Ibuprofen, for example, is known to cause gastric problems, and has in fact been found to be barely better than placebo for treating back pain. If you’re in excruciating pain it can be difficult to see a way out. But there are a number of steps you can take to keep away from the painkillers and break the cycle of persistent back pain. Read on to find out how a few simple lifestyle changes will help you get through the day without reaching for the meds. 1. See an osteopath Finding out the cause of your back pain should be your number one priority. If you can find out the cause, you have a much greater chance of being able to do something about it. If your GP hasn’t been able to shed much light on what is going on, it’s well worth paying out to see an osteopath (sadly osteopathy isn’t available on the NHS). Osteopathy works with the structure and function of the body. Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase joint mobility, relieve muscle tension, and enhance blood and nerve supply to tissues in the body. Osteopaths also give advice on posture, lifestyle, and exercise to promote health and prevent symptoms returning. Be sure to consult a reputable Osteopathy clinic, such as Bansel Osteopathy. Also, be sure your osteopath is registered with the General Osteopathic Council. 2. Ergonomics matter - check you are sitting correctly One of the first things to check when you are suffering from back pain is your seating position. This is especially important if you spend long hours at a desk in front of a screen. Poor posture at work is a major cause of back pain, so something as simple as changing your chair and correcting your seating position could have a remarkable impact on relieving back pain at work. 3. Don’t be a work martyr – take breaks If your job involves sitting for long periods, and you are suffering from back pain at work, be strict with yourself about taking breaks. Get up and move around regularly. More frequent short breaks are better for your back than a few long ones. Staying active is essential to prevent joints from getting stiff and even ceasing up. 4. Take exercise seriously Regular exercise has so many health benefits and even gentle exercise 3 or 4 times a week can have a huge impact on your health, and can be very effective in reducing back pain. It’s not always easy to identify the cause of back pain, but in most cases back pain originates from the joints, the vertebrae (bones in the spine), or the soft tissues around the spine. In most cases, staying active is one of the most important things you can do to help relieve back pain. Regular exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga and pilates should be incorporated into your routine once you are out of extreme pain. Always tell your exercise instructor if you have any back pain and they can adjust the exercises to suit you and your condition. There are also a number of specific back exercises you can do to help keep mobile and ease back pain. Seek the advice of your GP, an osteopath, or a chiropractor if you are unsure about the type of exercise you should be doing. 5. Lift with care One of the biggest causes of back injury at work is through lifting objects incorrectly. Make sure your employer is aware of the risks and both you and your employer have consulted the Manual handling at work guide published by the government’s Health and Safety Executive. Dakota enjoys sharing her experiences of living a healthy lifestyle through her blog posts. Working as a freelance writer for a multitude of different industries, when she's not writing or cooking up a storm in her kitchen she enjoys hiking and countryside walks with her family.