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The Weight Loss Centre

5 Ways to Beat Lower Back Pain

 

 

Newswise — Most adults will experience lower back pain sometime during their lifetime. The good news is you can usually prevent or reduce the pain yourself.

Lower back pain is something that almost everyone will experience at some time in their lives. In fact, the National Institutes of Health estimates that eight out of ten people will suffer from back pain, making it one of the most common medical problems today. It affects women and men equally, and can happen at any age, according to The Cleveland Clinic’s Arthritis Advisor.

 

Easy Back Builders Top, left: Full Back Release Sit in a chair with your knees shoulder-width apart and feet resting flat on the floor. Curl your upper body slowly forward, letting your hands touch the floor. Hold, then slowly bring yourself up to a sitting position. Repeat, bending down a little further each time. Top, right: Press Up Lie on your stomach with elbows bent so that your hands are resting palm-side down under your shoulders. Press up by straightening your arms, raising your upper body off the floor. Try to keep your pelvis against the floor, allowing your lower back to arch. Hold, return to starting position, and repeat. Center, left: Knee To Chest Lie on your back, legs flat against the floor. Bend one knee and bring it toward your chest, clasping your hands behind your thigh as you gently pull in your knee. Hold the position for at least five seconds. Switch legs and repeat. Center, right: Double-Knee Raise Lie on your back, legs flat against the floor. Bend both knees, then bring them toward your chest, clasping your hands around your knees as you gently pull them in toward you. Hold for three seconds, then slowly lower your legs to the starting position. Bottom: Arm/Leg Lift Lie on your stomach with your face down and arms extended overhead, palms on the floor. Raise your left arm and right leg as high as you comfortably can. Hold for 10 seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat with your left arm and right leg. Repeat.


That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can treat it, minimize it, and even prevent it by following some back-friendly guidelines.

“The better physical condition you’re in, the less likely you’ll injure your back,” says Santhosh Thomas, D.O., medical director of Cleveland Clinic’s Westlake Spine Center. “That’s why everybody can benefit from strong abdominal and back muscles.”

Many factors can cause lower back pain. Thankfully, most cases are not serious and respond to simple, non-invasive treatments. Trauma and injuries from sprains and strains are common culprits, but pain can also stem from degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Bone disease, viral infections, irritation to joints, disc herniation, and congenital abnormalities in the spine can also cause an achy back.

Poor body mechanics can cause problems, too. If you’ve overdone it playing golf or pulling up weeds, the result is likely to be a sore back.

“You can just sleep awkwardly and get a stiff back,” says Dr. Thomas.

Age also plays a part. As you get older, bone strength and muscle elasticity decrease while your spinal discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility, which decreases their ability to cushion the spine’s vertebrae. Certain health-related conditions and habits—such as obesity, stress, poor posture, and smoking—can also aggravate your back.

Because it’s such a common problem, it might be tempting to treat back pain as a minor matter. But Dr. Thomas says it’s important to seek medical care if you experience severe pain—particularly pain that wakes you at night—pain that radiates from your back into your legs, or pain that doesn’t go away in a reasonable amount of time. These symptoms could indicate more serious conditions than just a strained muscle.

Fortunately, most cases of lower back pain can be treated at home. Ice or a cold pack can ease soreness, Dr. Thomas says, although some people find more relief from applying heat or taking a hot shower or bath. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), are also helpful.

If you find such remedies don’t help, muscle relaxants or prescription-strength pain medicine may be pre-scribed. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist for physical therapy targeted at easing the pain as well as strengthening your back muscles. Surgery, Dr. Thomas says, is the last resort for most conditions.

Once your pain has subsided enough to allow you to comfortably move about, exercise is recommended. “Anything that keeps your joints moving and maintains flexibility is good for you,” says Dr. Thomas. “Walking, biking, and swimming are particularly beneficial if you suffer from back pain.”

Meanwhile, consider the exercises shown here to keep back pain at bay. As with any exercise program, check with your doctor before you begin.

 

 
 
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