When To Get Help For Low Back Pain
Pain from ruptured discs and arthritis doesnt have to flatten you. There are a variety of ways to ease lower back pain discomfort and reduce disability, often without drugs.
Spinal problems are the price we pay for walking upright. Wear and tear on our backbones and the constant pull of gravity on our vertebrae take their toll over time. Nearly every adult has had a stiff or sore back at some time.
Sciatica is a term youve probably heard people use for pain in the lower back, radiating to the buttocks and down one or both legs. When patients tell me they have sciatica, they could have one of two conditionsa leaking disc or spinal stenosis , says Dr. Steven Atlas, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. These conditions in turn can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, which emerges from the lumbar spine, separates just above the buttocks, and runs down each leg.
Support Your Body In A Warm Pool
The buoyancy of the water lets you enjoy the benefits of exercise with less pain. Exercising in water also helps regulate the functioning of nerves and muscles, relieving pain.14
If you prefer warmer pools, look into water exercise classes and hydrotherapy pools. Water therapy exercises are often done in water that is about 83 degrees to 88 degrees. Hydrotherapy pool temperatures are often more than 90 degrees.
Strengthen Your Core At Your Desk
Having a desk job may be beyond your control but that doesnt mean you have to remain completely sedentary. There are even exercises you can do to strengthen your core without getting out of your chair, like seated reverse jack knives. Simply sit on the edge of your chair, maintaining an upright chest as you lean slightly back. For stability, grab onto the sides of your chair as you extend your legs out in front of you and engage your core. Pull your knees in tight, then extend straight. Repeat 10 times.
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How Can You Prevent Lower Back Pain
While you cant stop aging or change your genetic makeup, lifestyle changes can help manage and prevent lower back pain. Having a healthy lifestyle may make you less likely to suffer an accidental injury, too.
Improve your physical fitness. People who are not physically fit are more likely to develop lower back pain because strong core muscles help support the lower back.
Stay active. People who lead sedentary lives may be more likely to injure themselves when they do exert themselves. As far as back health is concerned, its better to do a smaller amount of physical activity most days of the week than to sit all week and over-exert yourself on the weekends.
Lose weight if necessary. The more you weigh, the more pressure you have on your lumbar vertebrae. Being overweight or obese can put stress on the back and lead to lower back pain.
Lift heavy objects the right way. Be sure to squat while lifting so that your hips and knees do much of the work. Keep the load close to your chest while you lift.
Your legs, not your lower back, should be the main driver when youre lifting something heavy.Make your workspace as ergonomic as possible. If you sit at a desk, make sure your chair has plenty of low-back support and your hips are at a right angle to the floor.
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Lower Back Stretches For Muscle Or Ligament Strain
Back stretches work best for strain that starts in the muscles and ligaments. Muscles and ligaments in your back hold the bones of your spinal column in place. If weakened, they no longer support the bones of your spinal column correctly, thus causing instability and low back pain.
Knees to chest stretch
Supine twist stretch
Supine abdominal draw-in stretch
Cat Camel Stretch
Seated Forward Curl Stretch
In order to see these stretches, visit this website.
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Core Stability Pelvic Tilt
Lack of core control and stability is a key player in lower back pain. When the abdominal muscles are not performing, the muscles of the lumbar spine have to work harder to stabilize the body in balance. An excellent way to improve core stability is to lie flat with the knees bent up. Tighten abdominal muscles and press the small of the back into the floor. Hold this contraction for 10 seconds and repeat 10-20 times. You can either have your arms resting by your sides or behind your head, depending on whats more comfortable. With this stretch, it is important remember:
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Keep your shoulders pressed to the floor, but relaxed
- Do not hold your breath as you perform this exercise
While lower back pain is extremely common, it is not something you have to live with every day. Improving hip flexibility and core stability as well as lengthening the back muscles by stretching can help reduce the symptoms of lower back pain. However, if your back pain is chronic, the above stretches may help but additional treatment may be warranted.
Taking Your Lower Back Stretches To The Next Level
Now that you know how to do some of the best lower back stretches to help ease your lower back pain, its time to take that knowledge to the next level.
All of these stretches can be done at home, but if you want to maximize your stretching capability, come in and see us for professional stretching therapy. And as always, keep reading our blog for more stretching tips.
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Best Exercises To Relieve Lower Back Pain
Most people will experience lower back pain at some point in their life, it is very common. In the old days bed rest was prescribed if your back was playing-up, whereas today it is recommended to keep exercising. Of course the exercises you do have to be appropriate, we are not suggesting to go for a run or lift heavy weights, that wouldnt be smart. However, there are some great exercises you can do which should help alleviate lower back pain. These exercises are extremely gentle, but of course, listen to your body and stop if you experience any pain.
The exercises work by stretching out muscles that are normally tight when you have lower back pain and strengthening muscles which tend to be weak. Of course, there are many reasons for having lower back pain, so it makes sense to get checked out by a physical therapist.
Make sure you warm-up your muscles before you stretch them. You should never bounce during stretching, and all stretches should be slow and gradual. Avoid over-stretching, stretch your muscles until you feel a slight stretch only, and hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds.
1. Lower Tummy Strengthening
It is important to strengthen your lower tummy muscles because these muscles work in partnership with the lower back. This means if the lower tummy muscles are weak the lower back can tighten up, which can lead to lower back pain.
If your back hurts at all then this exercise is not for you OR at least not yet.
3. Bird Dog
Precautions And When To Avoid Doing It
Whenever you try to crack your back, do it slowly, purposefully, and within a safe range of motion. Jerking your back, trying to stretch it too far or both can cause injury, such as muscle strains, joint sprains, or bone dislocation.
Do not crack your back and see your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of the following:
- Youve recently injured your back and you feel like its out of alignment or cant fully move it.
- You cant move your back within its full range of motion or cant move it at all without sharp pain.
- You feel persistent pain in your back before, during, or after cracking that doesnt go away with pain medication.
And cracking your back should feel good. A 2011 study suggests that even just the sound of cracking can make you feel a little better.
If you feel temporary pain when you attempt to crack your back or lasting pain afterward, you might have an underlying condition that needs medical treatment. If this is the case, see your doctor or a chiropractor before you attempt any of these exercises.
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How To Relieve Lower Back Tightness
This article was co-authored by Jason Myerson, DPT, DMT, OCS, FAAOMPT. Jason Myerson is a Physical Therapist and a Certified Orthopedic Specialist. He is affiliated with Performance Physical Therapy & Wellness with clinics located in Connecticut. He serves as adjunct faculty in the Physical Therapy Department at Quinnipiac University. Jason specializes in helping active people get back to hobbies, activities, and sports they love while utilizing an integrated approach to wellness. He holds an MA in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Arcadia University. He is Residency and Fellowship trained in Orthopedic Manual Therapy, achieved a Doctorate in Manual Therapy and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists .There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 190,360 times.
Lower back tightness is a common complaint among many people. Improving your overall physical and mental health can help relieve lower back tightness immensely. With the proper care, relief for your tight lower back is within reach.
How Should You Use Lower Back Stretches Like These Yoga Poses To Help Reduce Back Pain
Although each of the stretches below are helpful on their own, theyre especially beneficial as a flow, New York Citybased yoga instructor Shanna Tyler tells SELF.
For lower back pain relief, try choosing five or six from the list below as a flow, and plan on holding each pose for 10 seconds to one minute, making sure to take deep breaths throughout the hold.
If your lower back feels relief with that sequence, you can work up to holding each pose for longer, up to three minutes. In terms of frequency, you can do yoga daily if youd like, but if youre doing beginner yoga for back pain, start with just a couple times per week. Also, many people find it useful to break up these lower back exercises into a few mini-sessions when their back feels particularly tight, like first thing in the morning or after sitting at work all day.
- Knees to Chest With Slow Rock
- Reclined Pigeon Pose
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How To Crack Your Lower Back
What Can You Do To Strengthen Your Back
- Strengthen your core muscles
- Stay active! Aerobic exercise and limited bed rest for back pain are important
- Lift weights. This doesnt necessarily need to be hours of dead weights in the gym, a few specific exercises with small weights at home can help strengthen your back over time
- Maintain good posture
- Improve your flexibility
- Avoid back braces as these dont help to strengthen your back but can mean your back starts to rely on it.
Pilates, yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques can also help to reduce pain and strengthen your core. Yoga helps increase muscle strength in specific muscle groups and does so by keeping the body in positions. Stretching with yoga also increases blood flow, promoting nutrient flow round the body helping to flush out toxins and nourish the muscles and soft tissues in the lower back.
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Bonus Tip: Consider Taking A Vitamin D3 Supplement
If your doctor agrees, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement. Vitamin D is essential for bone, neuromuscular, and immune system function. Taking a vitamin D3 supplement can help reduce back pain by increasing the absorption of calcium in your body and improving bone strength.15
Finding the perfect pain relief technique is usually a process of trial and error, making it worth exploring various approaches. Try these natural pain-relieving strategies for your back pain and see what works best for you. Severe pain that is not relieved by self-care must be evaluated by a health professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
First A Few Quick Tips
Stretch your lower back with safety and care. Be especially gentle and cautious if you have any type of injury or health concern. Its best to talk with your doctor first before starting any new types of exercise.
You can do these stretches once or twice a day. But if the pain seems to get worse, or youre feeling very sore, take a day off from stretching.
Be mindful of your bodys limits and dont push your body to do too much. Listen to your body and do what feels best for you in each moment.
As you go through these stretches, take your time and pay close attention to your breathing. Use your breath as a guide to make sure you dont strain or overdo it. You should be able to breathe comfortably and smoothly throughout each pose or stretch.
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Ways To Manage Low Back Pain At Home
Back pain is one of the most common physical ailments. Studies show that eight in 10 Americans have back pain at some point in their lives, usually in the lower back.
Sudden or severe back pain should be checked by a doctor or a physical therapist. That also goes for pain that wonât go away.
But sometimes you can treat nagging pain and discomfort on your own.
Wilson Ray, MD, chief of spine surgery for the Department of Neurological Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says home remedies â tend to be better when they’re combined than alone.â
Lower Back Stretches For Herniated Discs
Low back pain can start when discs, the cartilage cushions that absorb shocks in your spinal column, tear and/or leak and start pressing on nearby spinal nerves. Stretching may help take pressure off a compressed nerve, in situations where an injury just occurred and nerve pain is new. However, if the disc herniation/nerve problem is chronic stretching, alone, is not likely to solve the problem.
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