Back pain is common among people suffering from diabetes. It’s pretty common among all people across the globe. According to a study of 67,000 patients at the Mayo Clinic, about 27% had chronic back or neck pain, compared to about 13% in the general population.
Back pain impacts people’s quality of life and is considered the main cause of disability in the U.S. and worldwide. But why people with diabetes are twice likely to develop severe back pain?
According to six studies of over 160,000 patients from six countries, there are some potential reasons like high blood sugar levels and high cholesterol levels that could actually promote tissue damage. According to various animal studies, spines deteriorate in rats with high blood sugar.
Also, Australian scientists are sure that uncontrolled diabetes decreases blood flow, and thus enhances cartilage inflammation. This is due to the fact that the spinal discs have no blood vessels and therefore they rely on nutrients from the vessels of the vertebral bones. When those vessels are narrowed, which often happens in case of diabetes, the discs may degenerate, leading to severe pain.
Since type 2 diabetes is often provoked by obesity, these two health issues in tandem can do a number to your spine health. According to one study, the link between diabetes and back pain is strong enough that health care providers should consider screening for diabetes in patients seeking care for neck and back pain.
So, what should be done to lower and manage chronic back pain? Let’s take a look at eight effective tips that will help you overcome this problem.
1. Decrease your stress levels
High-stress levels often make us breathing more shallowly and holding muscles tighter. Negative emotions such as anxiety, stress, depression, and anger can enhance your sensitivity to any pain. Things like listening to calming music, reading a good book, and practicing deep breathing can help you fight negative feelings and cope with your pain.
2. Give up smoking
According to Cleveland Clinic data, smokers are approximately three times as likely to develop back pain as nonsmokers. Nicotine in cigarettes will reduce your pain for a while, but it actually makes your nerves more sensitive and will increase your pain over time.
3. Increase your physical activity levels
In fact, physical activity is one of the best options for chronic back pain treatment. Staying physically inactive is harmful since it can weaken the muscles that support your neck and increase neck pain. You can try anything you want, from walking to swimming.
4. Try meditation
A number of studies have shown that meditation has a positive effect on pain management in chronic back pain as well as in other types of chronic pain. In one study, patients with diabetes who took an 8-week meditation class had improved pain management and the ability to function.
5. Stretch your back muscles
Stretching your back muscles will help you protect them against damage and help them function better and with less pain. As mentioned above, sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, untreated injuries can all cause chronic compression of the spine, which always results in chronic pain. If you are a sedentary worker then it’s essential for you to stretch your neck muscles. Every 15 minutes, change your position or do some simple stretches in your chair.
6. Stop drinking alcohol
Just like smoking, alcohol consumption may relieve your pain temporarily, but it negatively affects sleep and leaves you feeling worse when it wears off.
7. Improve diabetes management
People with diabetes who experience chronic back pain, have a greater incidence of high blood pressure, more nerve damage, and cholesterol levels than diabetes sufferers without chronic back pain.