What causes lower back pain?
Lower back pain can be a very debilitating condition that effects more than two thirds of people in the United States. Of this percentage only approximately 37% of people seek out help to reduce their symptoms. These symptoms can include aching, stiffness, weakness, and even numbness and tingling that can refer down into your legs and feet. Things that can cause these symptoms include muscle spasm, muscle strains, protruding discs, and bony build up in the vertebrae. Although there a number of different conditions that cause lower back pain, the treatment is often times very similar.
The purpose of this article is to give some very basic tips that can be used in order to alleviate and sometimes even eliminate lower back pain. Below are 3 ways in which you can start taking steps RIGHT NOW in order to lose your lower back pain.
3 Ways to Start Losing Your Lower Back Pain Right Now!
1. Stop Sitting!
Did you know that the pressure on your discs is at its greatest when your sitting down? Let's say that when you are standing up the pressure between your discs is at 100%. When you go into a slouched sitting position the pressure on your discs can go upwards of 190%, that's almost DOUBLE! Think of these discs as tiny shock absorbers that sit between your vertebrae. If these discs sit under pressure for prolonged periods of time they can eventually break down and even protrude from their original position and push up against the nerves in your spinal cord. This can then cause the tingling and numbness sensation that we spoke about before. The simple solution to this problem, stand up! Many of us sit at desks all day for either work or school. So much of the time we become so involved in what we are doing we can go hours without moving from our desks or computers. Make a conscious effort to stand up every 15 - 20 minutes. Go for a short walk, grab a cup of coffee or give yourself a nice stretch, your back will love you for it!
2. Watch That Posture!
Ever remember hearing someone tell you to "stand up straight" or "tuck that chin in"? They may not have known it but these words of wisdom hold some very strong truth. Many of us tend to develop what is called "forward head posture" and "rounded shoulders". When this happens we tend to slump forward like a rag doll. When we do this we put a very harsh stress on all the muscles in our upper back, which in turn can cause an imbalance of the muscles in our lower back. Also, remember how we said earlier that sitting can increase the pressure in our discs? This slumped forward position has been found to be the position in sitting which causes the GREATEST amount of pressure in these discs in our lower back. Next time you sit down try this...Imagine there is a string attached to the very top of your head. Now imagine pulling that string upward, when you do this it brings your shoulders back, your chest out, and your chin up. This is not to say that you have to go to the extreme of assuming a "military posture". However try to remind yourself periodically throughout the day to sit up tall. Eventually you will begin to internalize your new found posture, and then it may be bye bye to back pain!
For many of us the word exercise is something that sends a cold sweat down our spine. Too many people think that exercising means lifting weights in a gym, or running a marathon. This however is not the case. There are a number of very quick and easy exercises we can do on a regular basis that can help to decrease pain in the lower back. Many of these exercises are known as "core strengthening" Your core is comprised of a number of muscles including your glutes and abdominals. These are the muscles that essentially help to stabilize the much smaller muscles in our lower back. Check out the images below for some very simple exercises that can be done at home or even work that can help in reducing pain in the lower back.
Supine Marching: Simply lay on your back and while keeping your abs tight lift your knees to your chest, alternating between your right and left leg.
Straight Leg Raises: Start with one leg bent. Keep the other leg straight with your toes pulled in towards you. Lift the straight leg up to the level of the bent leg and slowly lower back down. Be sure to keep your abs tight and contracted the whole time.
Bridges: Start with both knees bent. Now tighten your glutes, and abs, and raise your hips up towards the ceiling. Slowly return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
Bye Bye Back Pain
I hope these tips help you on your quest to alleviate any pain you may be having. The key to all of these tips are to implement them on day to day basis. Your best chances of seeing results are to change your lifestyle. There is no miracle cure for lower back pain and everyone responds to certain exercises and treatments differently. Just remember, words form ideas, ideas form habits, and habits form lifestyles.