Have low back pain? You’re not alone.
Over 80% of people suffer from back pain at some point during their lives, with half of the adult population affected specifically by lower back pain each year. It is a leading cause of disability and one of the most common reasons (if not the most common reason) people visit a doctor. In other words, low back pain sucks and it is hurting way too many of us.
It is so common, lower back pain is viewed as a normal way of life. Trust us, it is not.
What Causes Low Back Pain?
Musculoskeletal low back pain, or LBP, is defined as a pain, tension, or soreness localized in the posterior of the body’s lumbosacral region ranging from below the costal margin to the gluteal fold (aka the bottom of the butt). All that is just a very technical, overly complicated way of saying your lower back hurts.
For a more in-depth look into the anatomy and causes of low back pain check out our past post detailing a spinal breakdown of LBP.
How To Cure Low Back Pain
No matter how you classify it, low back pain is something we would all be better without. Unfortunately, as the stats above show, the majority experience agony when trying to bend over, pick things up, run, walk, laugh, or even sit on the couch binge watching Netflix. But suffering from low back pain does not have to be a life sentence.
There are several, often overlooked, remedies and treatments for lower back pain that can go long way towards a happier, more flexible, pain-free existence. What follows is a look some of the best. While there is often no single or certain cure for low back pain, a multifaceted approach using several of the seven techniques below can result in your lower back feeling better than ever.
One of the best ways to alleviate low back pain, and stay in shape, is swimming. Since it is a non-weight bearing, low-impact workout that relieves pressure on the joint and spine, while simultaneously strengthening and stretching back muscles, it is ideally suited to treating low back pain.
Freestyle is typically the most effective stroke. Put in a solid 30-60 minutes in the water and your back will be thanking you in no time.
As a bonus, like all exercise, swimming releases endorphins. These feel-good hormones produced naturally within the body help block pain signals from registering in the brain. They have been proven to not only reduce depression, lessen stress, and boost your overall well-being, but by association will also alleviate some forms of chronic back pain.
2. Massage Therapy
Speaking of endorphins, massage therapy is another great way to both flood your system with a natural happy high and sooth lower back pain. By isolating and rejuvenating stressed back muscles, the right type of massage, regularly performed, can provide substantial healing.
Specifically ask a certified massage therapist to spend the majority of your 60 minutes session on relieving the muscles most often associated with lower back pain.
Please note, studies show massage is an effective treatment for low back pain, but only in the short term. It can be a great way to feel better almost immediately (not too mention get very relaxed), but should be used as a gateway to longer lasting solutions.
3. Yoga and Stretching
Like its endorphin-releasing brethren above, yoga elevates our mood, reduces stress, and has even been shown to reduce the need for back pain medication. This ancient practice turned modern industry can do wonders in relieving soreness and improving function with its emphasis on stretching and mindfulness.
When doing yoga, or any stretching, know your limits. Don’t push your body too far, especially if you’re experiencing severe pain. Doing so could result in even worse pain, and longer lasting damage. Try gentle poses, slowly executed from a well-supported sitting or laying position.
Pay attention to the hamstrings in particular, located at the back of your thighs, which can cause stress to the lower back and sacroiliac joints when overly tight. To help get you started here are some yoga poses specifically targeting hamstrings and lower back pain.
Another big part of yoga’s benefit is its mind-body connection. As we examined in a previous post, thanks to acts like mediation, you can literally think your way to a healthier back. So take an hour a day to conscoiusly breath and mindfully move your body towards positive results.
4. Restorative Sleep
Anyone with ongoing back pain has a love-hate relationship with going to bed. To get a good night’s sleep is an endless struggle to find that sweet spot where the pain disappears just long enough to drift off. Though usually it comes at the cost of comfort and spending the entire night laid out like a stiff board, which ultimately further exasperates lower back pain.
But at the same there are few greater pleasures than the feeling of laying down after a long day. The restorative powers of sleep are impressive, especially on our minds. But beyond just the psychological aspects, sleep is also when our body naturally releases the human growth hormone (HGH).
HGH is essential to healing. It is responsible for repairing tissues, cells, boosting muscle growth, and maintaining a stable metabolism, along with a slew of other functions that are key to our having high a quality of life. After all, your back can’t get better if it doesn’t have the right tools to heal.
So get a good night’s sleep. If that’s easier said then done, and you’re worried about the pain that inevitably comes from trying to sprawl out, here are some of the best sleeping positions for lower back pain.
5. Core Strengthening
Your abs and lower back are a team. Together they stabilize your entire body. As such, they rely on one another for support. If your abs are weak, your back will suffer, and vice versa. That’s why it is so important to strengthen your midsection, better known as your Core.
Studies have shown the benefit core exercise can have on lower back pain, especially when you concentrate on training deep trunk muscles. These consist of the transversus abdominis, multifidus, quadratus lumborum, and rotatores muscles, which attach to individual lumbar vertebrae and provide control and rigidity for the spinal segments. In other words, they help support our back.
Stabilization exercises are some of the best to strengthen our core and lower back. Here are several to get you started. Adding these into your daily routine for 30 minutes and you’ll quickly see positive results.
6. Maintain a Good Posture
Did you read our post on the 7 surprising facts you should know about your posture? If you had, then you would know maintaining a good posture is one of the most important things we can do to keep our backs pain free.
Our spines hold everything together and upright. When we slouch or stoop, especially for long periods of time, muscles and ligaments strain to keep us in balance. This undue stress leads to back pain, headaches, and too many other problems too recount here. But when our posture is good, the bones of the spine correctly align. Everything will be in perfect balance.
For a good standing posture, stand straight and tall with your shoulders back. Tuck in your stomach and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Don’t lock your knees and keep your head in line with your body.
When seated, make sure your feet rest flat on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor and ankles slightly in front of your knees. If the chair your sitting in doesn’t have a lower back support, use a rolled up towel or small pillow. Tuck your chin slightly and let your shoulders relax naturally, not pulled back or forward. Avoid crossing your legs.
A good posture should maintain the natural curves of our spine. Just being mindful of how we are standing or sitting from time to time can help. So take a moment every once and awhile to relax the shoulders and straighten up. Your mom was on to something when she kept telling you to stop slouching.
7. Chiropractic Care
The root cause of low back pain is often misalignment. Chiropractic care from a well-trained professional corrects this problem, and helps provide sustainable relief through safe, non-invasisve methods.
When the spine is misaligned, undue stress is put on the joints caused by an increase in friction between them. Through thorough and gentle spinal manipulative therapy, your back can be realigned to its natural state, providing the proper balanced support to your body and a greater range of motion.
Seeing a chiropractor about your lower back pain is a great idea, especially when you find yourself unable to perform some of the other activities listed above. They can help put you in a strong position to implement these other tasks pain-free, and help stave off any future back pain.
Here at Light Chiropractic we take lower back pain very seriously. Because it plagues so many we want to do everything we can to help. Check out our pages dedicated to relieving lower back pain and other related issues like slipped discs for more information.
We are located in Singapore and service clients living there as well as Indonesia and Malaysia, providing help to all those interested in learning more about the positive benefits of chiropractic care. To discuss relieving your low back pain today give us a call or fill out the form below.
Remember, health is about experiencing life. Your lower back should make that easier, not harder. We can help you get back on the right track.