623-776-2225
7710 W. Lower Buckeye Road,
Suite #115 Phoenix, Arizona 85043

6 Ways to Combat Lower Back Pain

combat lower back pain
It is estimated that 60% to 80% of the adults in the U.S. suffer from lower back pain.  That’s about 160 million people!  You are not alone…

Lower back pain is a common ailment and the causes are many.  Everything from sports injuries to sitting in an office chair all day can lead to chronic lower back pain.  With so many people suffering, we could all use a little relief.  This simple, 6-step guide will get you started down the right path to eliminating lower back for good.

1. Get Moving

Too many of us sit for extended periods of time.  While there is some debate over the exact effect that sitting has on your lower back, medical professionals do agree that being more active is good for all of us.  Many of the jobs we have require us to sit, but getting up and taking a walk every hour can do wonders for your back (and the rest of your body).

Other simple ideas like walking to the grocery store or parking farther from the office are often mentioned in articles about burning more calories, but that’s not the only benefit.  Walking relieves some of the stress that your back supports while you’re sitting.  It’s a basic formula.  More walking equals less sitting.

2. Stretch

Sometimes lower back pain is caused by tightness of the muscles.  The interesting fact is that the pain and discomfort can be caused by tight hamstrings and hip flexors in addition to your back muscles.  Performing basic back and leg stretches can reduce the pain that originates from muscle tightness.  Stretching may provide some immediate relief, but the real benefit is achieved when you continue with a stretching routine over several weeks or months.  The difference in the way you feel may surprise you.  

3. Strengthen Your Core

Another common cause of lower back pain is weak abdominal muscles.  The muscles of your stomach are made to support your body as you twist, turn and bend your way through the day.  Because of our office-based lifestyles, our abs are typically weaker than our ancestors who were out working in fields all day long.  This lack of abdominal (or “core”) strength results in more pressure being put on the spine for support.  Basic ab exercises can increase your core strength, which ultimately relieves some of the pressure on your lower back.  You don’t need to look like a cover model.  Just make sure your abs are strong enough to support your body weight. 

4. Re-Think Your Posture

It turns out that there are right and wrong ways to sit.  If you sit for extended periods of time, you should be sure you’re doing it the right way to alleviate lower back pain.  Many organizations are moving to “ergonomic” chairs.  This simply means that the chairs are designed to reduce stress on your body.  The problem is that each person’s body is different and chairs need to be adjusted accordingly.  In other words, just because your chair is ergonomic, it does not mean that it is adjusted properly or that you’re sitting in it correctly.

Proper posture for sitting in an office chair is to sit straight up like your teacher’s used to tell you.  If you’re working on a computer, it is also very important to make sure that your computer monitor is at eye level and that your keyboard is low enough to allow your elbows to be bent at at 90 degree angle or more.  Following these steps is critical if you are working at a desk for many hours a day.

5. Stop Sleeping Like That

Your sleeping habits can have a drastic affect on your lower back pain.  Sleep seems to be something that everyone is lacking these days so start by getting enough of it.  Sleep helps rejuvenate muscles (especially helpful after you start doing those ab exercises and stretches mentioned above).

The position in which you sleep can also determine whether you wake up feeling stiff or limber.  As a general rule, sleeping on your stomach is a bad idea.  I know many of you will say that you can only fall asleep on your stomach.  If that’s you, retrain yourself.  Force yourself to try different positions and be okay with it taking you a little longer to fall asleep.  It’s going to be worth it when you wake up in the morning.

Some sleeping options to try are:

  • Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees.  This posture will help reduce the strain on your lower back.  Be sure to use the pillow, though. Without it, there is still too much strain on your back and hips.
  • Sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your back can take a little getting used to, but once you can do it your back will thank you.  Some people that sleep on their back choose to sleep without a pillow under their head to help keep their spine aligned.  Placing a pillow under the back of your knees can also help spinal alignment and be more comfortable as you drift off to dream land.

The ideal sleeping posture keeps your spine in proper alignment so be sure to choose a pillow that is the right thickness.  Changing your sleep habits is a big deal and it’s not easy, but it is worth it to get your lower back pain under control.  Also, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor to ask them about proper sleeping positions since everyone’s size and shape is different.  We spend a lot of time sleeping and  we should be sure that we are doing it the right way.

6. Visit the Chiropractor

Many sufferers of lower back pain have found relief through chiropractic care.  According to a study done by Consumer Reports3, chiropractic visits led to the most highly satisfied customers when compared to physical therapists, acupuncturists and other health professionals.  Because chiropractors spend a vast amount of time studying the effects of spinal alignment on overall health, it makes sense that they are the most well-versed in dealing with back pain.

Give us a call today to schedule an appointment or an initial consultation: 623-776-2225

Summary

Dealing with lower back pain is not easy.  And it won’t go away on its own.  You have to be proactive in dealing with the pain.  Chiropractors are normally a great place to start because they are professionally trained to treat spinal issues.  Start taking control of your lower back pain with these 6 basic tips and get rid of that pain for good!

  1. Get Moving.  Be more active.
  2. Stretch.  Don’t forget about your legs and hips.
  3. Strengthen your core.  Basic ab exercises are perfect.
  4. Re-Think Your Posture.  Learn the correct way to sit.
  5. Stop Sleeping Like That.  On your stomach is not the way to go.
  6. Visit the Chiropractor.  They are spinal adjustments professionals.  It’s what they do!

Before starting any exercise or training program, it is best to consult with a medical professional that understands the details of your back pain.  The last thing you want is to make things worse while you’re trying to make things better.

References:
http://www.acatoday.org/level2_css.cfm?T1ID=13&T2ID=68
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/low-back-pain
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/01/relief-for-your-aching-back/index.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sleeping-positions/LB00003_D


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *