(Don’t worry, I will go more in depth with each muscle at a later date!)
When these muscles are loose and weak, they are less effective in supporting the spine. Muscles that are taught hold tightly around the spine to keep it in place. But lax muscles struggle to remain active and supportive, eventually exhausting themselves into spasms. This is where the pain comes from.
That’s not to say that all lower back pain comes from sitting too much. For instance, my lower back pain comes from a combination of sitting (blogging will do that to you) and spinal deviations (I have lumbar lordosis and a touch of scoliosis, amongst many others things). Other causes can be injury or overuse, herniated discs, osteoarthritis, spondylolysis (vertebra defect), spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), and fractures. Then, of course, there are some rare causes of lower back pain like bacterial infections and tumors.
So how do I treat lower back pain?
If you suffer from chronic lower back pain (especially if you’ve had it for more than 3 months), it’s best to consult a doctor to ensure you don’t have a more serious condition like a herniated disc or fracture. From there, the doctor can recommend therapy or (worst case scenario) surgery.
Chances are slim, however, that you will need this kind of extensive treatment. Most people suffer from lower back pain due to under-use, so generally treatment can be done at home on your own. Here are a few things you can do to get rid of that pain:
When you’re ready to be active again, start by doing some gentle exercises. When I hurt my lower back, I did some easy yoga exercises. Positions like the cat-cow pose and downward dog are great ways to stretch your back. It’s also a good idea to do hip flexor stretches , which will help loosen up your hips after all those hours of sitting. Yoga is also a wonderful practice in proper posture and the art of breathing (more oxygen in your blood means more healing power!).
Walking is another fantastic form of exercise for lower back pain sufferers. It’s gentle, plus it gets your blood flowing and your muscles working. Stronger muscles, as I said before, are less prone to injury. Stronger muscles are also more supportive and can prevent all sorts of other injuries and additional pain.
And if you want to live a back pain free life, keep exercising on a regular basis. Doing core stabilizing exercises will help strengthen the area around the lower back. Crunches , oblique twists , side bends , the Superman , lat pulldowns , and deadlifts are just a few basic exercises you can do.
Also make sure that you are practicing better posture. The number one thing you can do for yourself on a regular basis is stand more. Those who have desk jobs, blog a lot, play too many video games, or watch too much T.V. really need to focus on getting off their butts. Every hour or two, just stand up and walk around or do a few stretches. All it takes is 10 minutes. If you work at an office, see if you can convince your boss to invest in ergonomic desks that require you to stand. If that doesn’t work, take advantage of other opportunities to stand up… like when you’re talking on the phone or chatting with a coworker. Those that take the subway can quit fighting for a seat and stand instead!
And, as I talked about in my vacation post, don’t forget to relax! Stress and tension can cause all sorts of problems with your body, and your lower back is certainly not exempt. Taking time out for a little relaxation can work wonders in relieving an aching back.
Well, I know this post has been a long time coming, and I hope I’ve answered all your questions about lower back pain. If not, feel free to comment below or even send me an e-mail!!