5 TRICKS TO KICK YOUR LOW BACK PAIN
Written by: Alicia Walker, PT, DPT, CMT, RYT
Here to learn some tricks? You’re in the right place. Obviously, no one likes back pain. Yet, if you’re reading this you are most likely one of the millions of people afflicted by some form of lumbar pain of the acute, sub-acute, or chronic variety. It can lead to diminished quality of life, well-being, burden on home and family life and make it hard to even get out of bed! According to the World Health Organization,” In the United States, an estimated 149 million work days are lost every year because of low back pain.”1.
Low back or lumbar spine pain is a complicated, multi-faceted issue that does not always have a single explanation or clear-cut treatment. However, there are some globally accepted methods for relieving low back pain that you can start trying today. The list below is far from comprehensive and does not replace face-to-face interaction with a licensed medical professional, but is meant to empower you to take control of your pain:
- Regular exercise: there’s no way to avoid it, exercise yet again proves to be good for all around health and wellness. Cardio or strength training promotes the release of your body’s natural painkillers like endorphins and oxytocin. If your back pain is moderate to severe, opt for a gentle form of cardio such as walking or stationary bike.
- Change your posture: Your parents were right when they bugged you about sitting up straight! Sitting in non-neutral positions (i.e. trunk flexion, lateral bending, and rotation) are associated with increased risk of low back pain.2 The most detrimental aspect of these positions is the amount of time spent in each position. So, no matter the position it’s important to get up and move regularly!
- Improve Flexibility: After a 10minute stretching routine any stiffness from sleep has melted away, and I don’t need a research paper to prove it! Although there is growing evidence that yoga and stretching on a regular basis is an easy way to manage low back pain. Try these simple stretches every day:
- Increase Core strength. While exercise in general has been found to reduce pain, targeting certain muscles has also been found to ease low back pain.3 Try these 4 for the core exercises:
- Stress reduction: practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction has shown to not only reduce stress but also mitigate perceived intensity of chronic low back pain. Check out the multitude of meditation apps out there to practice focusing your awareness on your breath, calming the mind, and doing body scans to release muscle tension and pain. 4
If you suffer from low back pain and are looking for a more thorough investigation of the source of your pain, schedule with your local Physical Therapist for a comprehensive movement assessment. At PacificPro Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine we’ll work with your goals and individual needs to create a customized plan and get you back to living pain free!
- Duthey, Béatrice. “Low Back Pain.” Priority Medicines for Europe and the World “A Public Health Approach to Innovation”, World Health Organization, 15 Mar. 2014, https://www.who.int/medicines/areas/priority_medicines/BP6_24LBP.pdf.
- William Monroe Keyserling, Laura Punnett & Lawrence J. Fine (1988) Trunk Posture and Back Pain: Identification and Control of Occupational Risk Factors, Applied Industrial Hygiene, 3:3, 87-92, DOI: 10.1080/08828032.1988.10389276
- Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Wellman RD, et al. A Randomized Trial Comparing Yoga, Stretching, and a Self-care Book for Chronic Low Back Pain. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(22):2019–2026. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.524
- Cramer, H., Haller, H., Lauche, R. et al. Mindfulness-based stress reduction for low back pain. A systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med 12, 162 (2012) doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-162