Lower Back Pain


Lower back pain is an extremely common condition that affects 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. However, the symptoms and severity of lower back pain vary greatly and may be caused by many different things. The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain.

What Causes Lower Back Pain?

Sometimes the simplest of movements—for example, picking up a pencil from the floor— can have painful results. In addition, poor posture, arthritis, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain. Back pain can also directly result from diseases of the internal organs, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, or bone loss. An irritation or problem with any of these structures can cause lower back pain and/or pain that radiates or is referred to other parts of the body. Pain from resultant lower back muscle spasms can be severe, and pain from a number of syndromes can become chronic.

What To Do Immediately?

 

Low back pain (LBP) will most likely be felt at some point for all of us, at least which statistically happens. How we “deal with it” initially can be critical in its progression or discontinuance of your pain. Here are helpful things to do when this happens to you.

STOP:  The most important thing you can do is stop what you are doing. That is, if you’re “lucky enough” to be pre-warned before the breaking point of LBP strikes. This step can be critical as once it hurts “too much,” it may be too late to quickly reverse the process. The “cause” of LBP is often cumulative, meaning it occurs gradually over time, usually from repetitive motion that overloads the region. As stated previously, “If you’re lucky” you’ll be warned BEFORE LBP becomes a disabling/preventing activity. Typically, when the tissues in the low back are over-stressed and initially injured, the nerve endings in the injured tissue trigger muscle guarding as a protective mechanism. This reflex “muscle spasm” restricts blood flow resulting in more pain creating a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped.

REACT: You’ll need to determine the position that reduces your LBP. Once established, you can perform exercises to help mitigate your back pain. To make this work, you must be able to perform these exercises in public without drawing too much attention so you can feel comfortable doing them at any time at any place.

What Are Exercises I Can Do?

Below are two different exercises that can help with Lower Back Pain:

If BENDING FORWARD feels relieving, the exercise of choice is to sit and

a) Cross one leg over the other
b) Pull that knee towards the opposite shoulder
c) Move the knee in various positions so the area of “pull” changes.

Work out each tight area by adding an arch to the low back, rotate your trunk towards the side of the flexed knee (sit up tall and twist – if it doesn’t hurt) and alternate between these positions (10-15 seconds at a time) until the stretched area feels “loosened up.” A second exercise is to sit and rotate the trunk until a stretch is felt. In doing this, alternate between different degrees of low back arching during the twists, feeling for different areas of stretching until it feels looser, usually 5-15 seconds per side. A third exercise is to sit and bend forward as if to tie a shoe, and hold that position until the tightness “melts away.”

Exercise B:

If Bending Backwards feels best, exercise options include placing your fists in the small of your back and leaning backwards over the fists, or bending backward and holding the position as long as needed to feel relief (usually 5-15 seconds). From a sitting position, try placing a rolled-up towel (make one with a towel rolled tightly like a sleeping bag held with rubber bands) in the small of the back to increase the curve. Lying on your back with the roll and a pillow under the low back can also feel great!