Back pain is easily one of the most common complaints that people have in regards to body pain — especially low back pain. Most of us have had back pain at some point in our lives, but many of us continue to live with back pain on a daily basis. As a result of this ongoing pain, individuals resort taking pain medications, and helplessly search for a solution to their pains. This article will focus on why your low back is hurting, and how you can fix it, today!
Modern medicine has not exactly figured out the mystery that is the human back. A lot of time has been invested in studying and perfecting the front of our bodies, with less attention given to the back. Back pain is a complex puzzle, as there isn’t just one answer that can solve everyone’s issues.
Many times, back pain is the result of muscular imbalances. Muscle groups around joints work in opposition. One muscle makes a joint bend; the other group straightens the joint out. Simply put, some muscles aren’t as strong or as flexible as they need to be. You could be in a situation where your hip muscles are very tight and weak from being shortened for lengthened periods, such as when you’re sitting at a desk all day. Your glute muscles could also be weak. In a situation such as this, your butt protrudes and creates a dip in the spine, due to the tight hip muscles keeping your hips flexed all the time. This increased dip in the low back places stress on the lower spine, as well as the muscles in the region. This is just one example of how muscular imbalances can affect your back pain.
Herniated and slipped discs cause some of the worst pain known to woman and man, but this pain is usually felt elsewhere, despite the injury occurring in the back. When a vertebrae moves out of the spinal column, it can pinch a nerve, causing excruciating pain. This pain can be felt in the legs and buttocks, This sort of injury can put people out of work for months. A herniated disc requires the individual to work with a doctor, physiotherapist, or chiropractor to resolve the issue.
In the case of muscular injury, too much stress is placed on the muscular fibers, resulting in a tear of the muscle. Rest and recovery is key when there is a muscular injury. Sometimes, when such an injury occurs, spasms may follow. A back spasm is an involuntary, continuous muscular contraction. It can occur due to swelling of the muscle due to injury, due to an injury to a vertebrae or ligament, or due to dehydration. Depending on the severity, these sorts of injuries could require physiotherapy.
One of the most common recommendations for back pain is to lose weight. Excessive weight on the front of your body can place great tension on the lower back, resulting in pain. Daily walks are a great way to keep your weight in check, and to strengthen your glutes, helping to alleviate back pain. Paying attention to your posture can also make a difference. Slouching can reduce tone in the back muscles, and weaken them. This weakness can ultimately lead to back problems. Lastly, always lift with your legs; lifting with your back can result in severe injuries.
As was stated in the muscular imbalances section, muscular weakness and lack of muscle flexibility can lead to low back pain. Below are some exercises that you can start today to reduce your back pain. If you do this as a circuit, you can save time!
Back extensions: Pay attention to your back pain when doing these. Try not to elevate too far, as this may increase pain, as I have seen with many of my patients. Do 10-15 repetitions, depending on your level, and repeat this three times.
Glute bridges: Do glute bridges slowly, as you want to ensure that you are actually using your butt muscles to do the lifting. Do 10-15 repetitions, and repeat three times.
Cat and dog stretch: I like to hold the cat and dog portion for five to 10 seconds each, and repeat that sequence five times, and repeat three times.
Prayer stretch: Aim to hold this stretch for 30 seconds, repeating it three times.
Hip flexor stretch: Pay attention to the critical pelvis detail that the video provides. Aim to hold this stretch for 30 seconds, repeating it three times.
Hamstring stretch: Aim to hold any one of these stretches for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
Due to readability, this article did not go into extreme and painful detail. If you would like more information, or a more in-depth explanation of a certain topic, feel free to contact me! A special thanks to Paul Dhaliwal, a chiropractor at Performance Health Group in Surrey, who provided revisions to this article.
back pain via shutterstock