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Back Pain Facts
More than 31 million people experience back pain at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Back pain is the single leading cause of disability in the United States and accounts for missed time from work, decreased productivity at work, pain and lots of money spent trying to get healthy again. Maintaining a healthy low back is becoming more and more important in this day and age.
What Causes Back Pain?
Back pain can have a variety of causes and can at times be complicated to diagnose. It can come from damaged ligaments and muscles, tendonitis, disc problems, nerve irritation, irritated joints, muscle imbalance, poor posture, car accidents, psychological stress, arthritis, and even from inflammation from the foods we are eating. Back pain can also be a symptom of an internal organ disease or dysfunction such as kidney stones or infections, blood clots, cancer and more. Oftentimes, there is a combination of factors that contribute to back pain.
Top 5 Tips to PREVENT Low Back Pain
Anyone who has ever experienced severe back pain can attest that the best way to get rid of it is to PREVENT it. Check out the following 5 tips to help keep your back healthy and keep you doing the activities you love to do!
1. LIFT PROPERLY.
Lift properly- EVERY TIME! Improper lifting over time strains the muscles of the lower back and adds a tremendous amount of compression to the spinal discs in the lumbar spine, which can lead to a disc bulge or herniation and LOTS of pain! The saying “the straw that broke the camel’s back” is one of my favorite sayings because of how much truth there is in the statement! Your back does not get injured because you bent with a rounded back once. It becomes injured when you bend and or lift heavy objects with a rounded back repeatedly. Lifting properly by using your leg muscles instead of your back muscles will save you lots of pain and problems down the road. It needs to become a habit though, so the more you practice the more comfortable and natural it will become.
2. AVOID SITTING TOO LONG.
Sitting is another activity that adds compression to the lower back muscles and discs. The best way to sit is to not sit at all! But if you have to sit, then make sure your feet are flat on the ground, your back is against the back of the chair, you have adequate lumbar support, you are looking straight ahead, and most importantly you are GETTING UP and taking breaks at least once an hour. Too much sitting will cause your muscles to tighten up and weaken over time. Not to mention there have been several research studies that have come out in recent years linking sitting DIRECTLY to brain atrophy in middle and older aged adults, regardless of activity levels. SCARY!
3. EXERCISE REGULARLY.
Exercising regularly is just one of those things you HAVE to do! Exercise is vital for our bones, muscles, spine, brain etc! It helps to hydrate our spinal discs by pumping in fluid to help off- set early degeneration and provide nutrients. Exercise also helps to keep our muscles toned helping to support our bodies overall, helping us maintain a neutral posture, and aiding us when doing daily activities; all working to prevent injury. Lack of exercise has been shown to increase your risk of developing back pain. Our spines LOVE movement. The age- old saying to ice and stay in bed when you have a back injury is just that- an old saying that is outdated! The best medicine is movement.
4. DO MOBILITY WORK FOR THE HIPS AND LOW BACK.
Our bodies need TLC in order to function at their best. TLC for one person may be different than another, but everyone needs some form! Examples of TLC for the body include mobility work, stretching, getting adjusted, getting massage, etc. Mobility work may include stretching your hamstrings, quads, inner thighs, hip flexors, glutes and lower back. Mobility work may also include doing exercises that strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, core and lower back. Also, there should be an equal balance from one side of your body compared to the other. For example, your right glute should be just as strong as your left glute. Lastly, it may be beneficial to do foam rolling and lacrosse ball work to tight and tender muscles surrounding your back and hips to help loosen up those tight muscles and create better balance within the body.
5. SEE YOUR CHIROPRACTOR. See your chiropractor before a minor discomfort turns into a horrible flare!
Yes, sometimes aches and pains go away on their own. Yes, sometimes you can stretch away a tight muscle. But not always!! If you are finding that stretching and doing your mobility work isn’t taking away those nagging aches and pains, then it is time to visit your chiropractor. Nagging low back pain is an indication that something in your spine or pelvis isn’t functioning like it should, causing the surrounding muscles to tighten up and become tense.
Restoring lost motion to your spine and balancing your pelvis is a quick and easy way to get back on track and help prevent further injury. If you wait until your pain is severe and you can barely move, you will require more treatment which means more $$ and time out of your schedule.
Follow these simple five tips to help keep your back healthy and keep feeling your best! Your body is constantly sending you cues as to what is going on, such as an ache here and a tight muscle there, but it is up to you to pay attention to the cues and react accordingly! Love your body and it will love you back.
Author: Dr. Courtenay Schroeder
Owner & Chiropractor @ ProMotion Chiropractic
Pineville, NC Family Chiropractic Clinic
Helping you move better so you can feel better.
The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for informational purposes only to promote consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. The contents of this website are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any questions or advice on any exercise, medication, nutrition or supplementation.