Lower Back Pain: What Can I Do About It And How Can I Prevent It?

Lower back pain and stiffness is the leading cause of disability for Americans under the age of 45.  85% of Americans experience some type of back pain by the time they reach 50.

The structure of the back is very diverse.  It is composed of bones, ligaments, tissue, muscles, and nerves.  Not only is it a diverse structure, it's very very delicate.  The slightest twist or twinge can damage it.  With so many delicate, working parts, it doesn't take a genius to figure out why 13 million Americans visit their doctors every year for back pains.

There are generally 5 causes of lower back pain:

  • Stress-  If we become stressed, then our muscles can become more tense.  Causes of stress can vary.  From financial situations, to work, to family stress.
  • Tumors or infections-  If an infection becomes lodged within a vertebrae, this can cause a variety of problems for someone.  Disc problems are the leading symptom of tumors in the vertebrae.
  •  Diseases-  Herniated discs, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, osteoarthritis-- these are some of the leading conditions or diseases that can lead to back pain.
  • Injuries-  Tears, pulls, and sprains in the muscles that support the spine.  Twisting and bending our bodies in awkward ways can lead to these tears.
  • Movement problems-  If the spine suffers from poor mechanics of its moving parts, this can influence the onset of chronic pain.  The leading cause is disc degeneration, which causes the loss of the cushioning between the vertebrae.  Without this support, it can be very uncomfortable to bend the back.
What can I do to treat my lower back pain?

There are several things that you can do with the sudden onset of lower back pain.  Simply resting the area, not applying pressure to the back, and applying ice can help relieve the tension.  If that doesn't help within the first 48 hours, more drastic measures should be taken.

  • Physical Therapy-  A physical therapist will guide you through proper training on recovery, recommend procedures or surgery if needed, and provide you with do's and don'ts.  
  • Assisted Stretching-  A well trained fitness professional versed in the art of assisted stretching can relieve any muscle aches that you might have in the lower back region and in the rhomboids.  If done on a regular basis, this can alleviate several lower back ache conditions.  If you're in the Greenville, SC area, Justin Bowers performs this kind of assisted stretching.
  • Surgery-  This is the last resort.  If nothing else can alleviate the back pain and your quality of life, you may very well want to consider a surgical procedure as an option.  These procedures can include spinal fusion or disc removal.  Please see your doctor for help.
Of course, you can always take preventative measures.  Exercise, proper diet, weight maintenance, proper posture, yoga, and regular stretching should be taken highly into consideration.  Please consult your doctor or chiropractor for what measures you should be taking!

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