Low back pain is a health problem that affects a shocking number of individuals throughout the world. Without proper treatment and diagnosis, back pain can be extremely debilitating and cause individuals suffering from it to experience great personal frustration and limitations regarding every day activities.
Though not all back pain can be treated by the same methods, there are four major tips that can help prevent back pain from occurring, and also reduce the severity of your current back pain.
The general rule to remember is "long and strong". This relates to the muscles of the lower back and core, and also the hip flexors and hamstrings.
1. Strong lower back muscles. Prevention starts at the site where the pain originates. Lower back strength allows the spine to support itself throughout a wider range of motion and therefore relieve the pressure in the lower back during both activity and rest. Focusing on exercises that target the muscles of the low back is an excellent way to start making progress in your quest for lower back pain prevention and elimination.
2. Strong core muscles. Core muscles are located further from the pain's origin, yet still essential to building a strong trunk, and further alleviating pressure on the spine and lower back. By building strong abdominal muscles, the responsibility of back support no longer falls upon only the muscles of the lower back. The responsibility of relieving pressure is instead more uniformly distributed throughout the entire trunk (abdominal, obliques, and back) during both activity and rest, and thus helps prevent and reduce overall back pain.
3. Long hamstrings. We are now moving even further away from the origination of the pain, and as such, less people would think that tight hamstrings are associated with lower back pain. The fact is that as your lower back tightens, your hamstrings sense the something isn't quite right, and follow suit. The hamstrings tighten as a safety mechanism, making sure that if the back is in trouble, the alignment of the spine is not going to move out of place. This is what causes the extra pain and tightness. Ensuring that you stretch your hamstrings regularly, in turn making them "long", provides your lower back with the opportunity to also loosen up, and thus cause less pain.
4. Long hip flexors. Very similar to hamstrings, hip flexors are not as near the central source of the pain, but their tightness can increase the intensity of back pain. Hip flexors are the muscles that assist in raising your knees toward your chest and various other similar movements. When they become excessively tight, they tend to pull your spine forward, out of alignment, and therefore increase the prominence of your back pain, or increase the likelihood that you will experience it in the future.
Now that you know four major ways to reduce back pain, employ your knowledge! A core exercise routine that focuses on working your abdominals, obliques (muscles on your sides), and lower back muscles will improve your trunk's total strength, and a stretching program that emphasizes eliminating tightness in the hamstrings and hip flexors will ensure that the spine is properly aligned. Utilizing these tips will reduce your lower back pain, providing a beneficial step toward enjoying a more pain-free life!