Medication From The Store
There are two kinds of over-the-counter pain relievers that frequently help with back pain: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. Both have some side effects, and some people may not be able to take them. Talk to your doctor before taking pain relievers. And don’t expect medication alone to solve your pain problem. Studies show you’ll probably need more than one type of treatment.
Can Stretches Cure Lower Back Pain
Sadly, it’s unlikely. While lower back stretches can certainly relieve you from the pain and muscle tightness, rest and strength training also play a part. Stretching is a great form of mobility for the muscles and joints, says Joshi. If you do it regularly it can be great for your lower back, but its important to implement strength training exercises, too. Thisll help iron out any muscle imbalances that mean certain areas are under too much pressure, which could be the root of your pain.
Stockley adds that while it may feel like the pain is exclusive to the lower back, this is probably not the case, and so its vital to work on the other areas of the body, too. Strengthening the abdominals, glutes, upper back and chest is also important, as your musculature is so interconnected that its rare that pain is coming from just one area, she says. Sticking to only the lower back and overdoing it can induce pain of its own, so always take it slow, and stretch to the point of slight discomfort, never pain.
The Egoscue Method For Your Lower Back
I can not even begin to describe my excitement upon finding the Egoscue method. The underlying premise is simple: youre experiencing pain because of chronic inactivity which weakens certain muscles and tightens others, and the promise is true: it works. Famous celebrities and pro athletes have raved about it, and if you dont believe me, just .
Ill go into much much more detail later, but for now, here are the exercises you should be doing :
For Lower Back Pain
A. Static back Duration:5-10 minutes
How to do it:
- Lie on your back with both legs bent at right angles on a chair or block
- You can just rest your hands on your stomach or lay your arms out at the side below shoulder level, palms facing up
- Breathe from your stomach. Let the lower back relax.
- Hold for 5-10 minutes
D. Modified Floor Block Duration: 6 Minutes
Floor Block Stretch
How to do it:
- Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the floor your feet should be pigeon toed
- Rest your elbows on books or blocks so that your hands are in the dont shoot! position
- Make sure your shoulders are level breathe deeply and relax the upper body
- Let your bodyweight naturally fall into the floor
- Hold 6 minutes
The Egoscue method is one thing Ive constantly revisited because it works so well. Pro athletes and many celebrities have used it to eliminate lifelong, chronic pain .
Resources and tools mentioned:
- The Theracane self-massage cane to reach hard spots
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What Causes Lower Back Pain
As with most things in your body, its almost impossible to pinpoint one specific cause of lower back pain. The pandemic and spending too much time sitting has undoubtedly played a huge part , but there are a few other factors to keep in mind. Both Stockley and Joshi cite the following:
- Muscle imbalances
- Tight muscles
- Poor posture
Most commonly, its down to muscular or nerve pain triggered by a particular movement or as a result of extended time spent in a sub-optimal alignment, says Stockley. Like lifting too heavy in the gym and moving too suddenly from one exercise to the next, or sitting in a position that crushes your psoas muscles .
Posture is key for avoiding a build-up of tension, which can cause lower back pain, and comes from sitting all day. Remember to keep your spine straight, pelvis aligned and avoid hunching your upper back and shoulders.
As a pre and postnatal specialist, Stockley adds that lower back pain often comes through pregnancy, Because of the extra weight from the growing bump, which means the spine and pelvis arent aligned and the abdominal wall is weaker and not activated. Well come onto the lower back stretches that can help in a moment, but know that strength training, especially core exercises can also help, as well as posture cues like remembering to tuck your tailbone.
Pay Attention To Your Spine’s Position To Prevent Lower Back Pain
Admittedly, the true fix to back pain is highly individual. Regardless. One of the easiest ways that we can potentially fix our low back pain, or at least provide some relief or prevent lower back pain from developing in the future, is by paying attention to the position of our spine throughout the day.
For instance, lets take a look at the results of this research paper. Researchers analyzed the stress placed on the discs of the lower back in various positions – with standing upright used as the reference.
As you can see in the following graph:
- Simply bending forward into a slouched posture increased the relative load on the spine by almost 50%
- Sitting in a slouched posture increased the relative load on the spine by about 50% as well
The study also analyzed lifting a 20kg object with poor form. And the results were even worse. When subjects lifted a 20 kg object by bending over at their backs, the load on the spine increased by almost 150 kgs when compared to lifting the right way by bending at the knees and hips and keeping the back neutral!The researchers also stated that this spinal load would be increased significantly more had the subjects not been of a slim build and instead much heavier.
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How To Get Rid Of Lower Back Pain If You Think My Back Is Killing Me
According to the NIH lower back pain affects nearly everyone at some point in their life.
Lower back pain also:
- Is something that Americans spend $50 billion dollars on annually in physicians visits and rehab
- The #1 cause of job related disability
- The #2 neurological health issue
Seeing as how back pain is such an ubiquitous problem, I was a little disappointed when I googled back pain relief, because this is the useless advice I got from just about every website.
Useless guides online to backpain:
But heres the problem none of these things you can do yourself , right now .
So heres what Im NOT going to tell you: Im NOT going to tell you to go see XXX specialist, because that would be useless advice that you should already know. I am not a doctor or qualified medical professional. You should always be seeing them first.There are thousands of other websites telling you to just go see your doctor or a physical therapist. You know you should be doing that.
Instead, these are a few key strategies Ive used to reduce the majority of my back pain on a day to day basis, but in my experience these are mostly short term fixes. Check out our epic guide to lower back pain relief to learn more about how I got rid of most of my back pain on a daily basis.
Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From 111 If:
You have back pain and:
- a high temperature
- you’ve lost weight without trying to
- there’s a lump or swelling in your back or your back has changed shape
- the pain does not improve after resting or is worse at night
- the pain is made worse when sneezing, coughing or pooing
- the pain is coming from the top of your back , rather than your lower back
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Even The Nonprescription Pain Relievers Are Not Risk Free
Medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen can be helpful, but they can cause stomach inflammation and ulcers, as well as possible bleeding, and even kidney damage, especially in the elderly. Muscle relaxants can be sedating, and can interact with other common medications. Benzodiazepines and opiates not only can cause sedation, making it hard to think clearly and function normally, they are also addictive. Basically, for acute and subacute low back pain, the risks of these medications outweigh the benefits. Other medications, like acetaminophen, steroids, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications, were not significantly helpful for acute and subacute low back pain at all.
How To Improve Your Lower Back Curve
Standing with an increased curve, or lordosis, in your low back may seem like a great way to accentuate your derriere however, it can actually have significant consequences.
Video of the Day
While a some curvature in your lumbar spine is normal, an imbalance in the muscles of your core and hips can lead to excessive amounts of lordosis and can result in the development of low back pain. Take several easy steps to help improve the curve in your lower back.
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How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Around four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers.
Some people are more likely to have lower back pain than others. Risk factors for lower back pain include:
- Age: People over 30 have more back pain. Disks wear away with age. As the disks weaken and wear down, pain and stiffness can result.
- Weight: People who are obese or carry extra weight are more likely to have back pain. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and disks.
- Overall health: Weakened abdominal muscles cant support the spine, which can lead to back strains and sprains. People who smoke, drink alcohol excessively or live a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of back pain.
- Occupation and lifestyle: Jobs and activities that require heavy lifting or bending can increase the risk of a back injury.
- Structural problems: Severe back pain can result from conditions, such as scoliosis, that change spine alignment.
- Disease: People who have a family history of osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer and other disease have a higher risk of low back pain.
- Mental health: Back pain can result from depression and anxiety.
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Books That I Use Religiously
Pete Egoscue Pain Free:
A few of the exercises demonstrated here are ones that I learned from the Egoscue method one of the only things that has worked for me.
Consistently, after having spoken with chiropractors and doctors, who gave me zero useful advice about self-treating back pain, this book has come through.
Trigger Point Therapy Workbook
The trigger point therapy workbook is a book Ive used to learn where to self-massage using the Theracane and the trigger point therapy ball mentioned above.
Personally, Its a really useful book for learning the locations to self-massage, as well as learning where pain gets referred from other areas.
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What Are Some Complementary Alternative And Emerging Treatments For Lower Back Pain
In some cases, doctors suggest therapies that are not considered standard of care. They probably wont be covered by insurance, but they may be worth considering. Examples include:
Platelet-rich plasma. PRP treatments use a small sample of your own blood that has concentrated amounts of blood building blocks known as platelets. Your doctor then injects the PRP directly into a damaged disc. The theory is that PRP injections use your own healing system to accelerate improvement of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. PRP treatment has a longer track record in knee osteoarthritis, but a recent review article in the Journal of Spine Surgery suggests it may have a useful role for back pain, too. PRP needs a lot more research before it can be considered a proven technique.
Stem cells. In this emerging treatment, your doctor injects stem cells harvested from your hip into the intervertebral disc or discs causing your pain. Doing so may lessen pain and the degenerative effects of aging, though, like PRP, more research is needed before stem cells for lower back pain could eventually become the standard of care.
Acupuncture. Your doctor probably doesnt perform acupuncture , but may support you trying it as a complementary therapy. Acupuncture involves careful insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points on your body. This may stimulate the release of your natural pain-killing chemicals.
Cracking Your Own Back
Tip: To do this stretch, lie on a padded or carpeted floor. Then, turn over onto your side and bring your knees in towards your chest. Then, extend your legs and grab your feet with your hands.XResearch source Hold this position until your back cracks, and then turn over to your other side and repeat the stretch.
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Lower Back Pain Recovery And Prevention: Takeaway
So, as a summary, regardless of what caused your back pain, part of your road to recovery and prevention will always be practicing spinal hygiene. By properly implementing what we went through in this article into your daily routine, while making an effort to simply move more and avoiding any static positions for too long, youll successfully be able to minimize the stress placed on your lower back and the pain you may be experiencing.At the same time though, just keep in mind that back pain is specific to you and your situation. There isnt a general fix for everyone. And spinal hygiene is often just part of the solution.
Luckily, Dr. Stuart McGgill has created a book, Back Mechanic, that guides you through a self-assessment. And then teaches you a solution matched to your specific pain. Ive personally read through it and would highly recommend it. Once out of pain, he also has other books that can help you then focus more on performance. Heres the link to his books if youre interested!
And for those looking for a complete step-by-step program that uses science to show you how to properly train AND eat week after week to transform your body in the most efficient and injury-free way possible, then:
Stop Stretching Your Back To Fix Low Back Pain
I cant even begin to tell you how many times I see and hear this, Oh my back really hurts or My back is really tight and the next words are the clincher, I just need to stretch out my back. They then proceed to do a variation of this move, which I got from healthline.com-which they say helps relax you and helps low back pain.
How this strengthens your back Ill never know, nor does this stretch/exercise help the problem.
Yes, it does stretch the back-especially if you do both knees to the chest.
And yes, this is also a common cause of low back pain. Before jumping into some Pavlovian response to fix it with stretching you really should ask yourself,
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Supplements That Lower Inflammation
One of the core supplements I usually recommend across the board is Fish Oil.
An interesting feature of back pain is that there are people with structural issues who have no pain and people with no structural issues, who have pain.
So it makes one wonder how much inflammation, the microbiome, stress, and emotions affect back pain.
Curcumin is another supplement gaining major press lately about its ability to lower inflammation in the body.
What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain
The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.
Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.
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How To Fix Lower Back Pain At Home
Lower back pain is an increasingly common experience for so many people around the world. It can strike after exercise, traumatic event, or even lifting the laundry bin. The spine and its muscles are a robust network to support the body and its movement but can also be the source of discomfort and pain.
The most important aspect of dealing with low back pain is getting the right care at the right time.
If you experience a traumatic injury or event that leads to back pain seek immediate medical attention. The list of stretches and exercises below assume that your back pain is a non-emergency injury and you can tolerate a pain-free range of motion throughout each movement.
These movements are in order of intensity and complexity, if you are trying them at home do work through the list progressively.
All of the stretches should be done daily and exercises can be completed in 3 sets of 10 repetitions 3-4 times a week. Also, if you have a foam roller that can too be a good way to carefully releave pain.