We've Got Your Back When it Comes to Better Back Health
If you've ever suffered from back pain, you know the constant pain can be debilitating and make daily life difficult, if it is not managed properly. Humana’s LifeSynch personal health coaching program offers back care as an area of focus to help members understand how to prevent, reduce and manage back problems.
Back pain may result from a recent injury, surgery, poor ergonomics in the home and workplace or other circumstances. When a member contacts a health coach via phone, email or online chat, the health coach will partner with the member to develop a back care plan that fits the member's lifestyle.
Setting Realistic Goals Together
Working with members to determine their existing pain level and target pain level, Peggy Hall, a registered nurse for 20 years and a health coach for five years, maps out a strategy after "brainstorming" with them. "We set goals," she said. "Then we put it into an overall action plan. We don't tell them what to do. It's better if it's something they come up with. They feel it is doable and it'll get done."
Hall encourages members to follow their physical therapists' recommendations and to resume physical therapy or visit their pain management physician when helpful. Here are some trends Hall sees that lead to back pain:
- Inactivity - Members are encouraged to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives in ways that are enjoyable.
- Overweight - Members often don't connect excess weight with back pain. She encourages members to shed excess weight as a strategy for managing back pain.
- Poor ergonomics - Spending all day at your desk without a break or working in an office not set up properly can lead to back pain. Hall suggests simple options like taking breaks every two hours to stretch. Providing good lumbar support to your office chair can be as simple as rolling up a towel and placing it behind your lower back.
Finding the Right Solution for Each Individual
Regardless of the approach, it's important to set goals that fit each individual. The key to successful change is to keep trying new things. This philosophy has been one of the driving forces in Hall’s career and led her to becoming a coach. Hall has worked alongside physicians during labor and deliveries, transplants and ER triage. She wanted to make a difference in helping people become healthier.
Her decision led her to becoming a health coach and today she counsels participants to try healthy living and strategies for improving their physical and mental health on a daily basis. "What have you got to lose?” she said. “Just give it a try."