Four Common Reasons For A Stiff Back
We live busy, active lives. In our average day we deal with stress and anxiety that can live in our muscles and make us feel tense. But when is a stiff back caused by an underlying condition beyond tension? Knowing some of the possible causes for back stiffness can help you and your doctor determine the best treatment for you.
While its true that sometimes back stiffness can be caused by a disc disorder, chronic condition, or aging process, the stiffness could also be rooted in a muscular issue that may not even be in your actual back. Here are some muscular conditions that may cause back stiffness:
What Are The Symptoms Of Lumbar Strain
. Each person’s symptoms may be different. Symptoms may include:
- Sudden lower back pain
- Spasms in the lower back that result in more severe pain
- Lower back feels sore to the touch
Some of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
There Are Different Types Of Back Pain
Back pain can be acute or chronic . It can feel like a sudden, sharp pain or a dull, constant ache.
Acute back pain lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Its often caused by an accident, fall, or lifting something thats too heavy. Acute back pain usually gets better on its own, without any treatment. But there may be times when you need to get medical care. Find out when to call a doctor or nurse about back pain.
Chronic back pain lasts for more than 3 months. Its much less common than acute back pain. Most chronic back pain can be treated without surgery.
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Six Stretches To Help Alleviate Low Back Pain And Tightness
Letâs admit it, having low back pain is no fun, especially when you wake up in the morning with it knowing that you have a full day at work ahead of you. That is why we believe that every morning you should spend a few minutes stretching out the most important and most engaged muscles in the low back.
Sitting at your desk all day can lead to lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder tightness, and other ergonomic issues. Performing daily stretches can help you loosen your muscles and improve your flexibility, making your body more resilient and better able to handle a full day at your desk.
- Knee to Chest
Use this stretch to align pelvis and stretch lower back and rear end muscles. Lie flat on your back with toes pointed to the sky. Slowly bend your right knee and pull your leg up to you chest. Wrap your arms around your thigh, knee or shin, and gently pull the knee towards your chest. Hold for 20 seconds and slowly extend the leg to starting position. Repeat three times each leg.
- Lying Knee Twist
- Use this movement to stretch the paraspinal muscles and strengthen the abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight out. Bend the right knee up and cross it over the left side of your body. Hold in a position that allows you to feel a gentle stretch through the back and buttocks muscles for 20 seconds. Tighten your core muscles and rotate back to center. Repeat three times on each side.
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How To Improve Flexibility And Strength
There are lots of simple stretches and exercises you can do to improve flexibility and strength in your lower back.
Focus on lengthening and extending the spine. This helps to relieve compression in the lower back. Stretching the hamstrings is also beneficial.
In addition, you should choose exercises that focus on working the hips, core, and gluteal muscles.
Doing daily activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga is recommended. Put forth dedicated effort into being active as often as possible. Consistently doing exercises and activities to loosen up your lower back will usually yield positive results within a few weeks.
Here are nine exercises you can add to your daily routine to help strengthen your lower back and improve flexibility.
This exercise increases flexibility, relieves tension, and helps to loosen the lower back and hip muscles. You can also engage your core muscles if comfortable.
- erector spinae
- pelvic muscles
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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.
Can I Prevent Lower Back Pain
You cant prevent lower back pain that results from disease or structural problems in the spine. But you can avoid injuries that cause back pain.
To reduce your risk of a back injury, you should:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts pressure on vertebrae and disks.
- Strengthen your abdominal muscles: Pilates and other exercise programs strengthen core muscles that support the spine.
- Lift the right way: To avoid injuries, lift with your legs . Hold heavy items close to your body. Try not to twist your torso while youre lifting.
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When It Is An Emergency
You should seek emergency treatment for the following.
- The stiffness and pain after an acute injury are so severe that you are unable to move
- Changes in vision or eye pain
- Weakness in your legs, sensation changes in your legs or groin, and/or loss of control over bowel and bladder function
- Systemic symptoms such as fever and fatigue along with severe back pain
A Different Sort Of Tree House
Starting from scratch might mean just taking a walk in the woods. A tree stump might just be laying around begging for a second life as a mouse dollhouse. This house by Maddie Brindley can be found complete with instructions at Mads Mouse House on WordPress with more information about the craftsman.
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Move : Seated Lower Back Rotational Stretch
“As you rotate, if you feel a point that you get stuck, take a few deep breaths and on the exhale, try to rotate even further,” Becourtney says.
When To See A Doctor
In some cases, even though emergency treatment isn’t necessary, you may need medical evaluation and treatment. Make an appointment with a doctor for the following.
- Your back stiffness lasts more than two weeks
- You are unable to carry out your usual activities
- Your back stiffness is particularly severe in the mornings
- You have pain and stiffness in other joints and/or muscles
- You have been diagnosed with arthritis or a pain syndrome previously and your symptoms are worsening
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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.
Questions To Ask The Doctor About Medications:
- What will the medication do?
- How long will it take before I notice results?
- What is the name of the medication? Is there a generic brand?
- Are there side effects I should know about?
- How should I take the medication ?
- How often should I take the medication?
- What should I do if I forget to take a dose at the specified time?
- Let your doctor know if you are taking other medications. Sometimes certain medications cannot be taken together.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Back Spasms
A back spasm may feel mild like a dull ache or twitch, or it can get so sharp and painful that its debilitating.
If you experience any of the following symptoms in addition to back spasms, you should see your healthcare provider right away:
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- Muscle weakness in arms or legs.
- Odd sensations, numbness or weakness on one side of your body.
- Loss of balance and coordination.
- Loss of a sense of feeling in a limb/limbs.
Light Exercise And Stretching
If you have severe pain, your doctor or physical therapist may advise against heavy exercise. However, in most cases, light physical activity and stretching exercises can improve your mobility and ease tension in the lower back. However, it is best to avoid any activity that involves twisting the midsection or lifting heavy objects from the floor without adequate flexibility.
Keeping the body loose with light stretches can also help relieve low back tension. This is especially true for the hip flexors and hamstrings.
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Take It Slow When Getting Up
Taking it slow when you get out of bed can be beneficial. You may want to use your arms to sit up slowly before moving your legs off the side of the bed. Once you plant your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart, you can stand up slowly, using your leg strength instead of your back to help you up.
After carefully standing, you can further relieve tension by reaching your arms up above your head and stretching slowly from side to side.
Muscle Imbalances And Tightness
Below is a picture of a normal spine , and a spine of a person with lower crossed syndrome . Ideally, muscles are all used evenly and are balanced. Unfortunately, many people have lower crossed syndrome, and this usually results from lack of activity, prolonged sitting, poor posture, poor body composition , and lack of core stability. As you can see in the picture below, someone with lower crossed syndrome will have weak and often protruding abs, tight hip flexors , tight erector muscles in the low back, and inhibited, weak glutes.
People who have muscle imbalances such as lower crossed syndrome have a greater likelihood of experiencing low back stiffness in the morning, as they spend their days with abnormal stresses on their bodies. The already tightened muscles will tend to have greater tone than the weakened muscles- even while sleeping. The lack of movement during sleep makes the tight muscles feel even tighter , as they arent as warmed up as they are during the day.
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Remedies To Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast
We all want to know the best way to relieve lower back pain fast. At best, backache can be frustrating, perhaps draining. At its worst, this kind of discomfort can be utterly debilitating. If you have ever awakened with a terrible backache, you may have also learned how quickly such an ailment can derail your day, your week, or even several months or years.
Fortunately, there are remedies to combat that ache. From exercising to getting better sleep to reducing your stress levels, you can choose from a variety of strategies. The next time you have a backache , consider the following methods of back pain relief. Remember to discuss at-home back pain remedies with your doctor before you make use of them.
How To Relieve Back Pain
The following tips may help reduce your back pain and speed up your recovery:
- stay as active as possible and try to continue your daily activities this is 1 of the most important things you can do, as resting for long periods is likely to make the pain worse
- try exercises and stretches for back pain other activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and pilates may also be helpful
- take anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen remember to check the medicine is safe for you to take and ask a pharmacist if you’re not sure
- use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief you can buy these from a pharmacy, or a hot water bottle or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth or towel will work just as well
Although it can be difficult, it helps if you stay optimistic and recognise that your pain should get better. People who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.
Back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks or months and you may not need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.
But it’s a good idea to get help if:
- the pain does not start to improve within a few weeks
- the pain stops you doing your day-to-day activities
- the pain is very severe or gets worse over time
- you’re worried about the pain or struggling to cope
If you see a GP they will ask about your symptoms, examine your back and discuss possible treatments.
They may refer you to a specialist doctor or a physiotherapist for further help.
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Treating A Sprain At Home
Maintain Correct Posture When Sitting
You can avoid lower back pain by maintaining proper posture when sitting. If you have a desk job, keep your feet planted on the floor and use a chair that provides lower back support. Also, avoid hunching forward to see your computer screen and reaching far in front of you to use your mouse or keyboard.
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