Stretch #4 Hamstring Stretch
The hamstring stretch is a great exercise to do at home. The reason the hamstrings need to be stretched when lower back pain is present is that the hamstring attaches to the pelvis. If these muscles are tight of experiencing tone they can affect the position of the pelvis which can be related to low back pain. If the pelvis is tilted by the hamstrings over time that position may produce symptoms further up the spine.
These areas are related through a system called the posterior chain. The posterior chain is all of the muscle from the back of the ankle to the back of the head of the posterior, or back side of the body.
This system works together to regulate anterior, or forward movements of the body. If these muscles are tight or weak that can be a source of issues for the spine.
Stretching the hamstrings can be done several ways, but laying on your back with both knees bent and feet flat is a great starting point.
Once in that position, lift one leg straight up in the air leaving a slight bend in the stretching legs knee and move that leg closer to your body. There will be a sensation of stretch in the hamstrings between the bottom of the glute and back of the knee. You can use a towel of some sorts if you find that useful.
Inflammatory Lower Back Pain
Although comparatively few patients have low back pain due to a systemic inflammatory condition, the problem can be life long and can impair function significantly. The good news is that treatments can help essentially all patients, and can lead to major improvements.
Seronegative are a group of inflammatory diseases that begin at a young age, with gradual onset. Like other inflammatory joint diseases, they are associated with morning stiffness that gets better with exercise. Sometimes fusion of vertebrae in the cervical or lumbar regions of the spine occurs. Drugs called TNF-alpha blocking agents, which are used for rheumatoid arthritis, are also used to treat the stiffness, pain, and swelling of spondyloarthropathy, when the cases are severe and not responsive to traditional medications
People who have spondyloarthropathy have stiffness that is generally worst in the morning, and have decreased motion of the spine. They also can have decreased ability to take a deep breath due to loss of motion of the chest wall. Its important for the physician to look for problems with chest wall expansion in patients with spondyloarthropathy.
syndrome is one of the forms of spondyloarthropathy. It is a form of arthritis that occurs in reaction to an infection somewhere in the body, and it carries its own set of signs and symptoms. The doctor will look for:
The Importance Of An Accurate Diagnosis
The physician will need to take a careful medical history and do a physical exam to look for certain red flags that indicate the need for an X-ray or other imaging test. In most cases, however, imaging such as X-ray, MRI , or CT scan is unnecessary.
There may also be certain clues in a patients medical history. Low back, nonradiating pain is commonly due to muscle strain and spasm. Pain that radiates into the buttock and down the leg may be due to , a condition in which a bulging disc presses on the sciatic nerve, which extends down the spinal column to its exit point in the pelvis and carries nerve fibers to the leg. This nerve compression causes pain in the lower back radiating through the buttocks and down one leg, which can go to below the knee, often combined with localized areas of numbness. In the most extreme cases, the patient experiences weakness in addition to numbness and pain, which suggests the need for quick evaluation.
A persistent shooting or tingling pain may suggest lumbar disc disease. A pain that comes and goes, reaching a peak and then quieting for a minute or two, only to reach a peak again, may suggest an altogether different cause of back pain, such as a kidney stone.
When tumor or infection are suspected, the doctor may order blood tests, including a CBC and sedimentation rate .
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When & How To Seek Medical Care
If low back pain lasts for longer than one to two weeks, seek medical care. First, make an appointment with your primary care physician.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of the following symptoms are present in addition to back pain:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Loss of control of your bowels or bladder
What Causes Lower Back Pain
Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:
- Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
- Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
- Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
- Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.
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Exercise To Loosen Muscles
Although it may seem counterintuitive to exercise when lower back pain is causing you grief, the right kind of movement can help eliminate the discomfort. Its always important to consult your physician before you engage in exercise when you have pain, but this conversation is well worth having if youre suffering.
First, you should keep in mind that not all exercise is beneficial in combating back pain. Try to avoid toe-touch exercises and sit-ups, which may add to the stress on your spine instead of relieving it. Leg lifts are another exercise to stay away from when you are hurting. If your core is not strong, leg lifts could be too demanding on your body if youre already experiencing pain.
Several types of exercises can be useful when you need to relieve back pain. Partial crunches can aid in strengthening your core without applying too much pressure to the area. Slow and controlled wall-sit exercises may also be useful. Other repetitions to consider include bringing each knee to the chest in succession, pelvic tilts, and swimming.
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What Is The Treatment For Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain
Initial treatment is similar to sudden-onset attacks. That is, aim to keep as active as possible. Also, painkillers can help. In addition to the painkillers listed above, your doctor may advise a course of an antidepressant medicine in the tricyclic group – for example, amitriptyline. Tricyclic antidepressants have other actions separate to their action on depression. They are used in a variety of painful conditions, including back pain.
Also, a national guideline , referenced below) recommends one or more of the following treatments should be considered. Each of these treatments has some evidence from research trials to suggest that they will help to ease symptoms in some people :
- Structured exercise programme. This means a programme of exercise supervised by a professional such as a physiotherapist. This is likely to be in a group setting. Exercises may include aerobic activity, movement instruction, muscle strengthening, posture control and stretching. It typically consists of up to eight supervised sessions over 8-12 weeks with encouragement to keep on doing the exercises at home between sessions.
- Manual therapy. Typically this includes several sessions of massage, spinal mobilisation and/or spinal manipulation. With spinal mobilisation the therapist moves the joints of the spine around in their normal movement range. In spinal manipulation, the therapist moves joints beyond the usual range of movement.
- A course of acupuncture. It is not clear how this may work.
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Preventing Back Pain Tips For A Healthy Back
What we do day to day is very important to help keep us healthy and prevent back pain.
- Keep active regular exercise improves health and reduces recurrent back pain. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate or intense physical activity a week.
- Manage your stress and anxiety levels.
- Dont smoke because nicotine decreases blood flow to your back. Back pain is more common and recovery is slower in smokers.
- If you have recurring back pain, the following may help:
- exercise regularly people who do regular exercise have less back pain than those who are inactive
- aim for a weight within your healthy range
- manage stress and mood
- ask your physiotherapist or health provider to explore with you the types of movements and activities that are best for you.
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How Long Is Too Long To Suffer From Back Pain
Nothing makes a long day even longer than having to deal with back pain. If you’re suffering from lower back pain, even simple tasks like picking up a bag of groceries can feel overwhelming.
What’s more, the cause of your lower back pain may be more complicated than the actual twisting or lifting that brought it on in the first place and preventing future pain means getting to the source of what caused it.
“If you wait to do something about lower back pain until it’s become debilitating, you’ve waited too long,” says Dr. Hosun Hwang, spine specialist at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. “Most people’s back pain dissipates in about a week or two, but if your pain is long-term or chronic, it’s time to see a spine specialist.”
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Everyday Tips For Chronic Back Pain
Your back pain could get better, and soon. There are many treatments that could help, from physical therapy to small but strategic changes in your daily routine. Even your breathing might make a difference!
First, ask your doctor what might be the cause of your back pain and how to treat it. They might recommend physical therapy or occupational therapy.
Next, add in these nine everyday habits:
1. Use your breath. When the pain kicks in, itâs easy to tense up. Instead, try to breathe deeply. You may want to visualize the breath going to the area that hurts. This will help you relax. You can also try other stress management techniques, including meditation.
2. Rethink your good days. Itâs great to feel better. But you may feel tempted to do a lot of stuff to make up for the times you werenât able to. So ask yourself, Are my goals realistic? Pace yourself. Itâs one of the keys to getting things done without a pain backlash.
3. Challenge yourself physically. Are you taking it too easy? If you think that you canât be active because of your back pain, thatâs understandable but misguided. Activity helps as long as itâs not too hard, too long, or too much. Exercises that strengthen your back and abdominal muscles can help prevent injury. Ask your doctor or physical therapist whatâs best for you.
Being Mindful Of Your Movements
How many times has someone told you to lift with your legs, not with your back? Though its almost become cliché, its good advice. Your lower back supports a lot of the function of your body. Even if you lift using correct posture most of the time, a few haphazard hoists can be all it takes to cause long-term pain.
For example, parents with small children will lean over and pick them up out of a crib several times a day. Once or twice might not put much strain on the back, but repeating this movement hundreds or thousands of times over the years can cause serious discomfort. Mind those movements today, and your back will be more forgiving in the future.
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Find Activities That Make You Happy
Ongoing back pain can wreak havoc on your life, affecting your cherished relationships, finances, and your ability to get stuff done at work and at home. Finding activities that make you happy can help reduce some stress and may relieve some pain.
Some people find that even doing just 3 things that make them feel good each daysuch as enjoying a comforting cup of tea or coffee, calling an old friend, walking the dog, or receiving a longish 30-second hug from a loved onecan make pain more tolerable.
When To See A Specialist For Lower Back Pain
If youâre experiencing lower back pain thatâs not responding to rest and self-care, itâs time to consider seeing a spine specialist.
âA spine specialist will likely perform a physical exam as well as one or more imaging scans to diagnose the root cause of your lower back pain. Depending on your diagnosis, he or she will then design a treatment plan aimed at alleviating your pain and preventing it from disrupting the everyday activities you enjoy,â says Dr. Palmer.
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Quick Relief And Prevention
Chronic upper back and neck pain can become a very serious problem. However, some general soreness in your back and neck area is quite common. There are a few measures you can take for quick relief when this discomfort arises, and some things you can do to try to prevent it altogether.
Use a cold pack and anti-inflammatory pain relief for the first three days after the pain starts. After that, alternate applying heat and cold to your injury. Upper back and neck pain usually erupt suddenly, but healing can take a long time. If youre still in pain and your movement is limited after a month, its time to see your doctor.
What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
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Half Lord Of The Fishes
Also known as Seated Twist posture, Ardha Matsyendrasana helps improve posture and spinal mobility in those with lower back pain. Dont allow your lower back to collapse as your perform this posture, and remember that a little goes a long way when twisting with lower back pain.
How to do half lord of the fishes posture: Sit with your legs extended out in front of you . Lift your right leg and place your foot on the ground beside your left knee. Bend your left leg and place the left foot on the outside of your right hip. Ground down through your hip bones, and inhale as you find length through the spine. Hook your left elbow on your right knee as you place your right hand behind you, and gently twist. Stay for 5 to 8 breaths.
Complementary Alternative Emerging Treatments
In some cases, doctors suggest therapies that are not considered current standard of care. They probably wont be covered by insurance, but they may be worth considering. Examples include:
. 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.
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.
. 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.
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