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Tips for Avoiding Lower Back Pain

Is a lower back pain interfering with your life? You are not alone! Nearly four out of five people experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. Lower Back Pain takes various forms, from a persistent dull ache to sudden sharp pain, and has many causes.

Sometimes it results from a sprain, fracture, or other accidental injury. It can stem from a disease or medical condition, such as herniated disc, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal through which the spinal cord runs). However, many people develop back pain because they’re overweight or sedentary.

Most lower back pain usually gets better within a few days or weeks, and surgery is rarely necessary. However, even small episodes of back pain are the result of weakness in the core muscles and usually lead to longer, more painful episodes in the future if you don’t take care of the underlying problem.

Here are a few tips that are surprisingly effective at preventing back pain and keeping it from returning:

  • Get more exercise. If your back is hurting, you may think the best way to get relief is to limit exercise and to rest. Studies show that frequent changes in position and regular physical activity can help ease inflammation and muscle tension faster in the back.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds, especially in your midsection, can make back pain worse by shifting your center of gravity and putting strain on your lower back. Staying within 10 pounds of your ideal weight may help control back pain as well as all the other health benefits.
  • Quit smoking. Nicotine in smoke, restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to spinal discs, so smokers are especially vulnerable to back pain.
  • Sleeping position. If you’re prone to back pain, talk with our physical therapists about the best sleeping position. What is most important is to be in a comfortable position that you can sleep in to achieve the most rest. Sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up slightly toward your chest with a pillow between the knees is best during the first 15-30 minutes in bed. Prefer to sleep on your back? Put one pillow under your knees and another under your lower back. Try to avoid sleeping on your front.
  • Improve your posture. Find a good chair to sit on. Avoid soft couches or chairs that put you in a slouched position. Find a chair that will allow you to keep your feet flat on the floor when you sit. With standing, try to alternate your positions and walk around if possible. Have one foot forward when standing and switch this every 10 minutes.
  • Watch how you lift. Don’t bend over from the waist to lift heavy objects. Bend your knees and squat, pulling in your stomach muscles and holding the object close to your body as you stand up. Don’t twist your body while lifting. If you can, push rather than pull heavy objects.
  • Use supportive shoes. A good pair of shoes, with cushion can reduce pressure on your back. Avoid using high heels as they shift your center of gravity and strain your lower back.
  • Keep your wallet in your front pocket. Don’t put your wallet in the back pocket of your pants. Sitting on a wallet shifts your balance when sitting causing discomfort and back pain.
  • Avoid heavy bags. If you use a briefcase or handbag, make sure you have only what you need to lighten the load. Use a bag that can strap over the opposite shoulder, so the weight is more evenly distributed. When carrying a heavy bag or case without straps, switch hands frequently to avoid putting all the stress on one side of the body.

There is a lot that you can do to prevent back pain and alleviate quickly when it starts. The important part is to work with your physical therapist to address the underlying cause of your back pain. This puts you on the right path to a healthy back that will support you pain free for a lifetime.

To learn more about our back and neck program, helping you attain a strong, healthy back, contact us today!

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Understanding Back Pain

Understanding  Back  Pain
Comments Off on Understanding Back Pain

People who suffer from lower back pain are encouraged to help themselves with exercises and being active and getting skilled physical therapy.  Lot of times patients are not explained in detail what is causing their pain and how to manage them so they can get better faster.

As back pain is very common and most of us experience in our lifetime.  Best way to avoid surgery or get better faster is to perform skilled exercises with help of physical therapist who can tailor exercises depends on type of back pain patient has.

Understanding back pain

There are several structures in the back that can cause and/or contribute to low back pain.

  • Intervertebral Discs

Although the intervertebral disc is a remarkably versatile and strong structure, essentially acting as a shock absorber during everyday activities, sometimes the disc fails when there is a sudden, unexpected force (such as a fall, lifting, or other trauma), or due to ordinary wear and tear over time. And when the disc does get injured it repair itself with fibrous tissue which can also cause pain and patient could hae recurrent back pain.

Activity is also needed to maintain the exchange of fluids in spinal structures and reduce swelling that naturally occurs in the tissues surrounding an injured disc. This swelling can further irritate nerves that are already affected by herniated disc material.  It can be achieved by particular exercises and physical therapy modalities.

These patients are normally complain of radiating, numbness, heaviness kind of pain and also complains of weakness in some leg muscles at times.

  • Spinal Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons

The collective soft tissues around the spine – the muscles, ligaments and tendons – are also very important in maintaining proper spinal balance and strength. With decreased activity, the connective fibers of ligaments and tendons can begin to adhere to each other and lose resilience and may tear when sudden overload occurs. Unlike discs or connective tissue, however, when soft tissues are injured, they can quickly repair themselves.

Since muscles are in constant communication with the central nervous system, anger or anxiety can tense the muscles and cause muscle spasms. Ongoing tension inhibits normal muscle function and leads to muscle wasting and further stability problems, which in turn can lead to chronic lower back pain.

In this cases normally patient is complain of localized pain.

  • Spinal Nerves

When nerves are cut, pinched, or otherwise irritated, the muscles that the nerves control cannot work or reduce function of muscles. For example, when a herniated or bulging disc presses on the L4-L5 nerve root, it may inhibit the nerve’s ability to make the muscles it controls in the ankle and foot work properly, causing what is known as foot drop – the ability to raise the foot or stand on one’s tiptoes.

Most of these patients are complain of radiation, numbness, burning pain along with weakness in muscles or unable to move muscle.

Above mentioned are few reasons person can have lower back pain or leg pain with or without back pain.  In any case, Patient should consult orthopedic or neurologist if pain is really worst. In other circumstances patient can have consult with physical therapist and see if they can help them.

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