Back Pain is a Common Issue
We see patients every day who are trying to live with lower back pain. This is a common issue and we hope that the following 5 helpful tips to reduce lower back pain will be helpful:
Tip 1: Learn About Back Pain
Sometimes the fear of the unknown can be more stressful on the body than any specific physical condition. Evidence shows that simply learning about how pain works can be very effective at reducing low back pain and actually improving mobility. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to participate in things you love, which results in a better quality of life!
Tip 2: Move – Improve Your Strength and Flexibility with Exercise and Movement
Nerves need 3 things to be happy: movement, space, and blood flow. Think of when your leg falls asleep. It’s numb because it has very little blood flow. Sometimes though, it hurts when it starts ‘waking up,’ as it gets just a bit more circulation, but not quite enough (painful tingles).
In most cases, bed rest can actually work against you. It’s okay (and recommended) that you take it slow and not overdo it. However, true healing most often occurs when the nerves are allowed to move and receive ample amounts of blood flow. I like to say, ‘motion is lotion!’.
Exercise and Stretching for Lower Back Pain
When you exercise in a controlled, progressive manner, it can have many benefits, including:
It can strengthen the muscles that support your spine.
It can relieve stiffness and improve mobility.
It can improve circulation and releases endorphins, which can naturally relieve pain.
Exercises such as the Bridge, Knee-to-chest stretches, Lower back rotational stretches, and Cat stretches help to strengthen and stretch your back and supporting muscles and can help relieve back pain. Here are some to try: How to strengthen the lower back.
Note: It’s important to consult a physical therapist prior to starting a new exercise program.
Tip 3: Posture – Ease Lower Back Pain with Good Posture
Which pictures below show better posture?
Trick question… they both show horrible posture. They are pictures and that means the people depicted aren’t moving. ‘Good’ or ‘bad’ posture, could still hurt if you hold it statically for even 30 seconds. Sitting, standing, working, or watching TV, you (and you’re nerves and brain) NEED to move a little. Fidgeting is ok, especially if you work at a desk all day. Getting up at least every 15-20 minutes is also recommended, even if it’s for a quick drink or to grab a file. Remember ‘motion is lotion’, from Tip 2? Now, remember that ‘your best posture is your next posture!’
Tips for Good Posture While Sitting
Try adjusting your chair so that your feet are flat on the floor and don't cross your legs.
If your chair doesn't support your lower back, try placing a rolled-up towel or small pillow behind your lower back.
Keep your hips and knees at a right angle.
Keep upper back and neck comfortably straight.
Keep your shoulders relaxed…not elevated, rounded, or pulled backward.
Tip 4: Try Something Different
Have you been taking medication for your pain? Have you frequently visited the chiropractor to get adjusted?’
Have you been doing anything, including the things listed above, but the pain consistently returns?
Have you considered stopping?
Many people want a ‘cure’ for chronic low back pain. Yet, many don’t want to work for it. Passive treatments like medicine and ‘adjustment’ or manipulation are really not effective in treating more than very acute (meaning it just started for the first time within the past week or two) pain, at least on their own. They can be effective at getting you to move with less pain, but it is the movement that makes such passive treatments last.
Millions of Americans use opioids to manage pain and while doctor-prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases, sometimes they mask the pain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Physicians, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have issued guidelines and reports urging health care providers to pursue safe nondrug alternatives, including physical therapy, for most non–cancer-related pain treatment.
This leads us to the last thing you should do NOW for your low back pain…
Tip 5: See A Physical Therapist to Help with Lower Back Pain
A good physical therapist can effectively relieve your low back pain. In addition, a visit
to the PT is often more conservative and less expensive than other treatment options. For any kind of pain, regardless of what you might even see on an X-ray or MRI (like a bulging disc, degenerative joint or disc disease, arthritis, etc), physical therapy for lower back pain is usually as effective as surgery, and it has fewer risks. When in pain, go to your physical therapist first.
Our Physical Therapists are here to help you return to full activity as soon as possible. One of our licensed physical therapists will do a thorough evaluation and assessment and we create a customized treatment plan for you. To support you in relieving low back pain we offer the following:
Manual physical therapy
Warm water pool therapy
Trigger Point Dry Needling
Aquatic Physical Therapy
IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization)
Back pain is a common issue. Hopefully, these tips to reduce lower back pain will be helpful. If low back pain is keeping you from living life freely, please schedule a consultation today. Call 303.409.2133.