If you suffer from low back pain, you are not alone. Nearly everyone at some point during their lives suffers from low back pain either acute or chronic. In fact, Americans spend at least $50 billion towards treating symptoms of low back pain every year. Back pain is the second most common neurological aliment behind headaches. Fortunately, most occurrences of low back pain go away within a few days to a couple weeks.
There are two categories of low back pain, acute and chronic. Acute is short term pain that usually last from a few days to a few weeks. Typical acute back pain results from trauma (sports injury, car accident, etc.) or arthritis. Acute trauma can become more serious if left untreated. Chronic back pain lasts for more than a few months, can become progressive, and is often difficult to diagnose since the cause can come from various sources.
Most cases of low back pain occur between the ages of 30 to 50, due mostly to the aging process, sedentary lifestyles, with too little, sometimes punctuated by too much exercise. As an individual ages bone strength and muscle elasticity decrease. The spinal discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility decreasing their ability to cushion the vertebrae. Pain can occur when trying to lift something too heavy, or overstretching for something causing a strain, or in severe cases rupturing discs. Sometimes pain can be degenerative like arthritis or osteoporosis.
The following are conditions associated with low back pain:
Bulging Disc. Discs degenerate allowing for cartilage to bulge unto the space containing the spinal cord or nerve roots causing pain.
Sciatica. A condition in which a herniated disc puts pressure on the sciatic nerve causing burning pain that travels from the low back through the buttocks and sometimes down the leg.
Spinal Degeneration. Disc wear and tear that leads to a narrowing of the spinal canal causing stiffness in the back upon walking or after sitting or standing for long periods of time.
Osteoporosis. Progressive decrease in bone density leading to brittle, porous bones in the spine and hip.
Spondylitis. A severe infection or inflammation of the spinal joints.
Back pain can be treated with the following:
Ice and Heat. May help reduce inflammation and allow for greater mobility. After trauma, apply a wrapped ice pack to the affected area for several times a day for 20 minute periods over the course of 2-3 days. Then apply heat pads to the affected area for brief periods to relax the muscles and increase blood flow for 1-2 days.
Bed Rest. For 1-2 days at most can be beneficial. However, after that light activity and stretching is encouraged. As studies have found that bed rest for extended periods can make the pain even worse. When sleeping, lay on your side with a pillow between the knees.
Spinal Manipulation. Working with a chiropractor or acupuncturist may also prove to be beneficial in treating acute and chronic back pain.
Exercise. This may be the most effective way to speed recovery. Completing stretches and exercises that help to lengthen and strengthen the muscles making up the trunk. Any mild discomfort at the beginning of exercise should subside as the muscles become stronger. If it continues 15 minutes into exercise and is more than mild discontinue the movement.
Activities to prevent low back pain issues:
Stretching before exercise and other strenuous activity
Proper posture when standing or sitting
Wear comfortable, low heeled shoes
Don’t try to lift objects too heavy for you. Always lift with your legs, a neutral spine, and braced abdominal muscles.
Eating a healthy diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight gain in the abdominal area that can tax the lower back muscles.
Working with an exercise professional that will teach correct lifting technique and that will design an exercise routine to correct any muscular imbalances and range of motion limitations.
As a San Diego personal trainer for over twelve years I have worked with my fair share of individuals suffering from chronic low back pain. The majority of personal training San Diego clients suffering from this type of pain have seen noticeable improvements after a few months of working with me, from decrease in pain to complete elimination of pain. Sometimes chronic pain can manifest from poor posture, muscular imbalances, and severe inflexibility. With an extensive assessment I can diagnose probable causes for the low back pain. With proper exercise selection and instruction I can often times reduce and even eliminate these issues.
If you have been suffering from bouts of low back pain, I encourage you to come into meet with me for a complimentary consultation. I can often times determine if I am able to help you be running a serious of a few tests. Feel free to reach out to me at 858-877-0787 to schedule your consultation today.