If you have to pick one resolution this year, may I suggest you choose to improve your health?


As one of the most personal and potentially all-encompassing factors in our lives, there's little that is more important than our own good health.

Committing to your health in 2015 will have a profound effect on the rest of your future.

Above all else—money, careers, family, a home, a car, even sex—health is the one thing we can't live without and is arguably the most influential factor of our quality of life. For people with chronic health conditions, such as chronic back pain, I can't think of a better focus than health and healthy living for 2015.

We have a wealth of information about exercising with back pain. You can get started here: Modern Theories of Chronic Pain

3 picks for 2015 health resolutions

  1. Exercise. I don't mean just starting to exercise or saying you'll finally try yoga, I mean committing to making exercise part of your normal weekly routine for the rest of your life. The necessity of exercise in combating just about every kind of health issue and pain condition is well known. The tougher part is to accept that exercise won't be very helpful if done in fits and starts.

    The most popular excuse for not exercising? "I'm too busy," which translates to "I won't." I have found that the best way to stay on track is to make exercise a habit that you do every day at the same time. If you're not a morning person, don't sign up for a 6 a.m. aerobics class. Whatever time and type of exercise you choose, remember the incredible benefits of exercise you will reap: looking and feeling better, reducing stress, reducing pain, and slowing or preventing certain diseases (e.g., osteoporosis, hypertension). One other thing: If you miss a day or 2 of exercising, don't throw in the towel. In fact, factor a missed day or 2 of exercise into your overall plan, so you won't feel a sense of failure when you do miss a day.

  2. We have a wealth of information about exercising with back pain. You can get started here: Exercise

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  3. Quit Smoking. No brainer, right? You would think so, given the known links between smoking and cancer, heart disease, lung disorders, etc. Well, if you smoke and have a chronic back pain problem, you need to know 2 things:

    • Smoking can significantly worsen your back pain
    • Most back surgeons will refuse to operate on your back if you smoke because it inhibits the body's ability to heal after surgery

    The key to smoking cessation is to surround yourself with the kind of support network you need to quit and stay smoke free. Talk to your doctor about which of the various smoking cessation aids available (gums, patches, oral medications, support groups, etc.) are right for you and keep trying until you find something that works. Like exercising, the state of being a non-smoker is one you need to be in for the rest of your life. Period.

  4. Watch Quitting Smoking: A Must for People with Back Pain Video

  5. Get organized. Most people simply have accumulated too much stuff over the course of their lives and now have the dreaded "c" word: clutter. One of the worst impacts of clutter? Stress. Clutter stress at home can cause feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control, leading to overeating and feeling like there's no time to do other things such as exercise (see #1 above). Stress is also a known cause of back pain and can exacerbate many chronic health conditions. Eliminating household clutter can be liberating and euphoric, freeing up time (less clutter makes your home easier to clean and organize) and space (making room for that new elliptical trainer or yoga mat). The key to de-cluttering is to choose the clutter that is most bothersome and tackle it one project at a time, and then commit to keeping it that way.
  6. See Stress-Related Back Pain

Commitment is key

All three of these resolutions require commitment. They will all take incredible self discipline and will power to achieve, not only initially but over the long haul. The good news is that there is outside help available, if you need it,to achieve each of these. Best of all, I'm willing to bet that the physical, mental, and emotional health benefits will become the only motivator you need to stay the course.

Best wishes for a healthy 2015!

Bonus tip

Stay educated about your back pain. A great place to start is to study up on your condition on our site. If you have herniated discs, download our new ebook from Amazon.

Visit our Wellness Health Center for more important information and ideas for healthy living.