Lower back pain is the most commonly reported type of pain and a leading cause of disability, missed work and doctor visits in the US.
Estimates suggest approximately 80% of adults will suffer from lower back pain in their lifetime.
Also, the cost of lower back pain is high, it is estimated that at least $50-B is spent each year in direct healthcare costs to treat lowet back pain in America
Many people believe that back pain will resolve spontaneously without treatment. But, statistics dating from Y 2003 reveal that 62% of patients with back pain continue to report pain 12 months after it begins.
Chronic back pain is also a major driver of painkiller addiction, which may lead to a lethal overdose.
There is a better way.
How we use out body is directly related to how the body responds, including pain. Although lower back pain is challenging and may be debilitating, there are options for treatment and prevention.
A program of stretches and strengthening exercises to change the way we use our back and improve the neuromuscular connections. But, like most health conditions, it is easier to prevent the problem than it is to fix it.
The lower back does not operate independently of the rest of our core, meaning we need strong abdominal muscles to support your lower back, and flexible muscles to reduce the potential for strains and sprains.
The healthier the back and musculature are, the better the chances of preventing a problem or recovering quickly.
The lower back responds to interconnections between your shoulders and your pelvis, even down to your quadriceps and hamstring muscles. These large muscles in your upper legs are connected to your pelvis, which in turn is connected to your lower back.
Tight hamstrings or quadriceps can pull your pelvis out of alignment and increase the risk of lower back pain.
People suffering lower back pain do not find relief from back belts or orthotics.
Both of these tended to increase muscle weakness and lead to further pain. People who exercised regularly, using either strength training or a combination of strength training, stretching (yoga) and aerobic exercise, a less likely to experience lower back pain.
It is not necessary to dedicate hours each day to improve lower back pain. But, it is important to be consistent, even after experiencing relief from the pain and discomfort.
Below is a list of standard stretches that can be very helpful, as follows:
- Hamstring Stretch: although a standing stretch is the most common, it also places more stress on your lower back. Instead, use a seated or wall stretch. A seated stretch begins with you seated in a firm chair. Extend one leg and reach down slowly to touch your toe.Change legs and stretch the other side. A wall stretch is done lying on your back with your buttocks up against a wall or high-back chair. Place the foot against the wall or chair and make the knee as straight as you can. As you progress you will be able to get closer to your toes in the seated position or your knee straighter while on the floor. It is important to stretch gradually and not push so hard you strain the muscle.
- Gluteal Stretch: the gluteal muscles are interconnected with the lower back. Stretch and relax these muscles by lying on your back with both knees bent and your lower back flattened to the floor. Draw one knee to the chest, while you keep the other foot on the floor. Hold for 20 secs and repeat with your other leg. Stretch both legs 2X, once daily.
- Piriformis Stretch: the piriformis muscle is small and located deep in the buttocks. When it spasms it can cause pain your buttocks and irritate the sciatic nerve, triggering pain down the leg. The muscle stabilizes the hip joint, lifting and rotating the thigh away from the body. It is involved in almost every movement of our legs and hips. Lie on your back with both feet flat to the floor and knees bent. Place your right ankle on your left knee. Grab your left thigh and pull the leg toward your chest. Hold for 15 to 20 secs. Release and repeat on the other side.
- Hip Flexor Stretch: the hip flexors are a group of muscles that connect your pelvis, leg and abdomen. These are some of the most powerful muscles in your body, responsible for flexing your hip and raising your leg. Sitting for long periods of time are two activities causing the flexor muscles to tighten and affect your lower back. A kneeling hip flexor stretch starts with you on your knees on the floor. Holding on to a chair or other solid object, place one leg behind you and lean in slightly to the chair. The glute bridge stretch does more than stretch your hip flexors, it also works your gluteal muscles and abs. Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip-width apart, flatten your back to the floor and exhale while raising your hips off the floor. Tighten your glutes when you get to the top. Inhale and return to the starting position.
- Quadriceps Stretch: tight quadriceps will affect the tilt of your pelvis and therefore the lower back. Common stretches require you to bend your knee until your heel touches your buttocks. However, this stretch places increased stress on your knee joint. Instead, you can stretch your quadriceps without bending your knee. Standing next to a chair, bed or table, extend your right leg behind you. Hold on to a chair for stability and prevent falling. Keeping your body upright, align your left hip over your left heel maintaining left hip and foot in a forward position. Tighten your glutes and imagine your right leg extending through your right hip. You should feel light tension in both your hip and quads. Repeat on the other leg.
- Lower Back Stretch: the goal is to stretch and relax the lower back muscles without adding stress or pressure to the area. Lie on your back with your buttocks as close to a wall as possible. Raise your legs straight up the wall and scoot in closer to the wall. Press your lower back into the floor and relax.
- Planking: strong abdominal and back muscles will help protect your lower back and improve your ability to stand and sit with correct posture. Planks will strengthen the shoulders, abs, back, glutes and the large muscles in the legs. Lie on your stomach. Rise up on your elbows, holding your elbows directly below your shoulders. Pull your body up on your toes and hold a position similar to doing a push-up, except you are on your elbows. Work up to holding for 3 mins.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing: not all back pain originates from the same source. However, keeping hips, pelvis, rib cage and core muscles in alignment helps us to use the body correctly and reduce the potential for further back pain. Diaphragmatic breathing techniques are a good way to stabilize your back and naturally add traction to your spine. Lie on your back with your heels on a chair. Align your position so there is a 90-degree angle at your hips and your knees. This might require you to experiment with different chairs to find one at the right height for you. Place a pillow between legs. Without using the lower back, activate your glutes and your abdominal muscles to raise your buttocks off the floor just a few inches. In this bridge position, inhale deeply through your nose, feeling your lower ribs rotate outward to fill your lungs. Exhale completely using your core muscles to internally rotate your ribs. Inhale for a count of 5, exhale for a count of 7 and pause for a count of three. Do this 5 times, maintaining the bridge position, then rest. Repeat one more time
- Foam Rolling Hamstrings and Quadriceps: Foam rolling your hamstrings and quadriceps muscles helps the muscles to relax, give you a deep tissue massage and speed healing. These muscles contribute to your lower back pain. Roll over a foam roller just 1 to 3X each day for the hamstrings and quadriceps, after doing your strengthening and stretching exercises. Note: Foam rollers are often used by therapists and athletes to mimic myofascial release treatments, which are typically used to help reduce muscle immobility and pain. Its benefits are often compared to getting a massage, because as you roll on it, fibrous tissue is broken down and circulation is boosted, helping to relieve tension and pain. As explained by the American Council on Exercise.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively and Exercise
Have a terrific weekend…
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