Overlooked Remedies For Lower Back Pain Relief
When lower back pain persists and continues to interfere with your quality of life, multiple treatment options may be needed for adequate relief. Below are some back pain treatments that are commonly overlooked or underused. Try one or more of these remedies to see which one, or combination, works best for you.
Avoid Long Periods Of Sitting
It’s also important to minimize the amount of time you spend sitting. Sitting can actually put more strain on your back and make the pain worse.
Avoid long car rides if you can and try to get up from your desk at work every 20-30 minutes to walk around and stretch. This will help keep blood flowing properly, which will encourage faster healing.
The Universal Guide To Lower Back Pain: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know Straight From The Experts
In This Article: Lower Back Anatomy | How Long Does Lower Back Pain Usually Last? | Common Causes | Other Causes | Home Remedies | Nonsurgical Treatments | Complementary, Alternative, and Emerging Treatments | Surgery | When Is Lower Back Pain an Emergency? | Lower Back Pain Prevention |
If youve ever had lower back pain stop you from doing what you want, youre not alone. Lower back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the world. It is a leading reason why people visit a doctor, affecting more than 80% of adults at some point in their lives. According to the Global Burden of Diseasea significant study published in the Lancet medical journallower back pain is also a leading cause of disability.
While severe lower back pain can cause worry, pain severity is not always an indication something is seriously wrong. Photo Source: Shutterstock.
You may not be able to prevent lower back pain, especially as you age and your back loses some strength and resilience. Fortunately, there are many ways you can get relief, no matter the cause of your back pain.
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Get Enough Restorative Sleep
Pain is a leading cause of insomniadifficulty with falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Inadequate sleep can also make your back pain worse. This vicious cycle makes it more difficult for you to get restorative sleep.
Getting enough restorative sleep is needed for the bodys tissues to heal and recharge energy levels. If you have trouble sleeping, it is important to address pain or other factors that are causing it. Your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments depending on what is disrupting your sleep.
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 you’re 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.
Dont use tobacco products. In addition to all the other health problems tobacco use causes, it can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
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Avoid Rushing Into The 2 Most Common Mistakes For Treatment
MISTAKE #1. Do not to rush into basic strengthening exercises such as sit-ups, crunches or lower back extensions. This may help for some, but in most cases, these areas are already tight, short and strong. Tightness and overly strong muscle conditioning is usually the case with the lower back and hamstrings.
MISTAKE #2. Simply resting and returning to your daily whatever. Werent you doing this JUST BEFORE it happened? No, my friend. There needs to be a plan and you are here for actual solutions right?
Observe the degree of your pelvic tilt. The three common positions are neutral, anterior and posterior. An excessive angle can trigger another spasm.
Exercises such as sit-ups and crunches can help but should not be done first as they are considered as isolation type exercises. They do not condition the core muscle groups to protect you. If you are in need of some specific exercises, begin with these 10 exercises.
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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Stretching For A Back Muscle Spasm
Ultimately, the best thing you can do for a back muscle spasm is stretch, says Dr. Loren Fishmen, a physical medicine, and rehabilitation specialist in New York.
Though generally not serious, back muscle spasms often baffle doctors and family members, he says. This is because even though they likely produce little movement or support, muscles in spasm are hard at work as such, they require oxygen and nutrient delivery as well as waste disposal.
But contraction clamps down on blood vessels through which these substances pass, limiting the exchanges that can occur. Instead, acid builds up in your muscle which can hurtand makes for more spasm. It’s a vicious cycle until you can relax the muscle, he says.
Other ways to release the muscle, according to Fishman, include hot baths, gentle massage, and hot packs. The idea, he says, is to dilate the blood vessels and speed tissue repair.
Stretch Your Hamstrings Twice Daily
One often overlooked contributor to lower back pain is tight hamstrings. If your hamstring muscleslocated in the back of your thighsare too tight hamstrings your lower back and sacroiliac joints will be stressed, leading to more pain. Hamstring stretching should be done carefully and at least twice per day for 15-30 seconds each time.
There are many gentle stretching exercises that should not hurt.
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Relieving Your Back Pain
When you are suffering from an ache or struggling to get lower back pain relief, it may seem difficult to take a proactive approach to the matter. However, alleviating such aches may be largely within your control. If you make some simple changes in habit and lifestyle, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. At North Texas Medical Center, we take great pride in helping our community achieve better health. If you are suffering from backache, call us at , or contact us online today.
Customize Your Chair And Desk
Dr. Scott Donkin, founder of Occupational Health and Wellness Solutions consults workplaces on safety, ergonomic, and health issues and states that the act of leaning forward in your chair crushes the disks in your lower back and puts strain on your neck and shoulders. San Francisco State Universitys Dr. Erik Peper recommends these tips to help yourself protect your back while you work.
1.) Support the natural curve of your spine. Office chairs should have lumbar support, a natural forward curve at belly button level. You can also put a pillow or rolled up towel behind your back to achieve this effect.
2.) Adjust the height of your chair so you can keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. You can also rest your feet on a prop, like a footrest or even a phone book, for extra support.
3.) Remove or lower the armrests so your arms are at a 90-degree angle. This will encourage you to hold your shoulders low, which your upper back will appreciate.
4.) Keep your monitor about an arms length away and at or slightly below eye level. This will encourage you to sit back, instead of leaning forward and straining your neck. If you find yourself squinting at your monitor, adjust the lighting to reduce strain on the eyes.
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What Structures Make Up The Back
The lower backwhere most back pain occursincludes the five vertebrae in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.
Other regions of vertebrate are cervical , thoracic , and sacral and coccygeal segments.
Carefully Move To A Bed Or Comfortable Flat Surface To Remain Temporarilyimmobile
That spasm that you have is a nasty but very clear warning sign that you must not continue to move. Your body is literally locking up to guard you against injuring another part of your back that is weakened or injured.
Although this locked up muscle may hurt as it tightens, it is not usually the source of the injury.
By laying down, you can help to stop triggering these muscles and can reduce the intensity and duration of the pain.
You can lie on the floor using cushions and pillows as a support and just be patient. Its better for you to focus on being somewhere calm so you can make yourself the priority.
Remember though that this is only a temporary measure as prolonged immobility could make things worse.
Did your contraction happen while reaching for, or lifting something? Did it happen just out of the blue and during a very simple activity? If so, you should follow this One Simple Rule to help reduce your chances of back spasms.
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What Are Some Other Causes Of Lower Back Pain
The shape of your spine, and well as spinal diseases, are other culprits in lower back pain. Depending on a range of factors, your doctor may look for:
Abnormal spinal curvature. A normal spine resembles a gently curved letter S when seen from the side. Abnormal curves include:
- Lordosis, in which the spine curves too far inward at the lower back
- Kyphosis, in which the spine is abnormally rounded in the upper back
- Scoliosis, in which the spine curves from side to side, often in a C shape
Normal and abnormal curves of the spineArthritis. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, many of which can cause lower back pain. The most common types include osteoarthritis , rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
Cauda equina syndrome . Compression of the bundle of nerves that forms below the spinal cord in the lumbar spine. It is a rare but serious disorder that requires immediate medical attention and possibly emergency surgery. CES got its name from the fact that the fanned-out bundle of nerves resembles the base of a horses tail.
Discitis or osteomyelitis.Both infections of discs and bone can cause severe pain and require prompt medical attention.
Spinal tumors. When cells divide and multiply unchecked, the result is a tumor. Both benign and malignant tumors can cause lower back pain. They can either originate in the spine or metastasize there, meaning theyve spread from somewhere else in the body.
Can Back Pain Be Prevented
Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics may be prevented by avoiding movements that jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly. Many work-related injuries are caused or aggravated by stressors such as heavy lifting, contact stress , vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture.Recommendations for keeping ones back healthy
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When Is Lower Back Pain An Emergency
Most episodes of lower back pain eventually resolve on their own, but there are times when you should seek urgent medical attention. Some of these situations include:
- Patient is a child
- Pain is severe, constant, suddenly or progressively worsens, and/or doesnt go away
- Pain interrupts sleep
While some situations may warrant immediate intervention, most cases are not urgent and can be scheduled at a time convenient for the patient.
How Do You Permanently Relieve Lower Back Pain
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Simple Stretches To Relieve Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be a debilitating and painful condition.
Fortunately, staying physically active may be the most effective and cost-efficient way to soothe or prevent it.
Here are 8 simple stretches to relieve lower back pain.
Although its origin varies, changes in the lumbar, or lower back, structure due to musculoskeletal damage are considered to be the main cause .
Your musculoskeletal system is made up of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues that provide form, support, stability, and movement to your body.
Other muscles that play an important role in maintaining the normal curvature of your spinal column are reported to be associated with lower back pain. These include the hip flexor and hamstring muscles .
Minor lower back pain normally gets better on its own within a few days or weeks. It can be considered chronic when it persists for more than three months .
In either case, staying physically active and regularly stretching can help reduce lower back pain or prevent it from returning .
The remainder of this article provides eight stretches for lower back pain, all of which you can do in the comfort of your own home with minimal or no equipment.
Summary Lower back pain is an incredibly common condition that can be relieved or prevented with regular exercise and stretching.
The knee-to-chest stretch can help lengthen your lower back, relieving tension and pain.
To perform the knee-to-chest stretch:
Complementary And Alternative Techniques Include:
- Acupuncture is moderately effective for chronic low back pain. It involves inserting thin needles into precise points throughout the body and stimulating them , which may cause the body to release naturally occurring painkilling chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
- Behavioral approaches include:
- Biofeedback involves attaching electrodes to the skin and using an electromyography machine that allows people to become aware of and control their breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature people regulate their response to pain by using relaxation techniques
- Cognitive therapy involves using relaxation and coping techniques to ease back pain
Spinal injections include:Trigger point injections can relax knotted muscles that may contribute to back pain. An injection or series of injections of a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid drug into the trigger point can lessen or relieve pain.
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Consciously Try To Relax Your Muscles With Slow Deep Breaths
Seriously, I know this much easier said than done, but you NEED to do it.
If you learn to breathe the right way, it wont hurt so easily. Breathing poorly will move your rib cage too erratically and might trigger your back muscles again.
Try to relax your muscles when they are in spasm with slow, deep and controlled breaths. Its pretty painful to breathe deeply when you have a full attack, but it will get you to focus more.
We tend to breathe very quickly and shallow when we are in pain. Shallow breaths or even holding your breath is a natural reaction, but will only add to the discomfort.