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Almost every one of us has experienced lower back pain at one time or another. Often, the pain goes away on its own. But sometimes, treatment is necessary.
The lower back is an intricate structure consisting of muscles, tendons and other soft tissues, highly sensitive nerves and nerve roots, small and complex joints, and spinal discs that are interconnected and overlapping each other. An irritation on any of these elements can cause pain affecting only the lower back or pain radiating to other parts of the body.
Lower back pain may result from varying causes, such as injury and heavy lifting. Surprisingly, most cases have no known cause. Many people who go to their GPs complaining about the pain in their lower back get no concrete diagnosis.
Symptoms of lower back pain range from a mild, dull ache to a stabbing or shooting sensation that is often hard to bear. Pain that lasts for more than three months is considered chronic. If the pain persists for 72 hours, you may need to consult a health professional.
Here are some of the most common causes of lower back pain and treatment options you may try:
A job that involves lifting heavy objects, pulling or doing anything that twists the spine can contribute to back pain. You may also experience back pain if your job involves sitting at a desk all day long, especially if your chair is not comfortable. If you work in front of a computer for longer hours, invest on a comfortable chair and observe proper posture.
Too Much Workout
Tensed muscles due to heavy workouts often cause lower back pain. Choose an exercise programme that is most suitable for your body built to avoid injury. You also want to take a day off from your workout routine to allow your muscles to relax and replenish.
Although you wear your bag over your shoulder, it is your lower back that supports your upper body so it also carries any additional weight you put on. Consider using a wheeled briefcase if you need to carry a heavy load.
Slouching doesn’t just negatively affect your physical appearance but may also increase your risk of suffering from lower back pain. So heed your mum’s advice – stand up straight! When working, choose a chair that has a good lumbar support and keep your feet rested on a stool to keep your weight evenly balanced.
Your spine is protected by gel-like discs. Ageing and injuries can cause the herniated discs to wear and tear. A weakened disc may rupture or bulge, and put pressure on the spinal nerve roots. This results to herniated discs that cause intense pain in your lower back. Some other conditions can lead to lower back pain. These include fibromyalgia, spondylitis and spinal stenosis.
Obesity and Inactivity
Low back pain may be aggravated by obesity. Whilst the real relationship between being overweight and lower back pain has not been established yet, a study by the American Obesity Association suggests that people who are overweight are at a greater risk of low back pain. Inactivity is another risk factor. In a paper published in the Epidemiology and Community Health journal, researchers found that lack of physical activity may contribute to low back pain. Try some stretching or weight loss.
Natural Techniques to Ease Lower Back Pain
Yoga – this gentle exercise has been clinically proven to be effective in treating chronic low back pain. What makes it a very good therapy is that the effects of yoga lasts for several months, unlike if you take painkillers (which are only effective for a few hours). Choose a yoga instructor that is well-experienced in teaching people with back pain. He or she can modify the stretching exercises to suit your needs. You can have a thai yoga massage here.
Spinal Manipulation – heading to your trusted chiropractic clinic is another option. Spinal manipulation is a technique used by chiropractors and some osteopathic doctors. The therapy involves applying pressure to the bones and surrounding tissues using the hands. But take note that this treatment is not suited for everyone so ask your GP about it.
Massage Therapy – as mentioned, undergoing massage therapy on a regular basis can protect you from low back pain and other pain issues. Massage boosts blood flow, allowing the oxygen to properly flow through your system and alleviate pain. Massage therapy is also a great antidote to stress! Come in and try my range of classic massages, and speciality massages, including the dedicated Back Massage.
Acupuncture – never underestimate the healing powers this ancient therapy. A 2009 study involving hundreds of people showed that acupuncture can benefit those who have long-term low back pain issues.
Physical Therapy – if you have been inactive for a long time, a rehabilitation programme can help strengthen your muscles and restore your flexibility. A professional therapist can design a workout structure that fits your needs. Physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths are commonly used for back ailments.
Lastly, don’t forget that keeping a healthy lifestyle and getting enough rest and relaxation are also important to prevent and alleviate chronic pain issues.
Best wishes, Steve
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