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Treatment And Prevention Of Low Back Pain

Do you suffer from low back pain that just won’t seem to go away? Are you sick and tired of having to miss out on your favorite activities because you are afraid of how you’ll feel the next day? It isn’t enough to live life half way!

According to the American Chiropractic Association, thirty-one million Americans have low back pain at any given time.

One half of all working Americans admit to having back symptoms each year. One of the main reasons that so many people are susceptible to low back strains is due to our sedentary lifestyles (sitting too much).

The low back is comprised of five lumbar vertebrae which are connected with ligaments and surrounded by several muscles, tendons, nerves, and intervetebral disks.

When someone develops back pain, or an injury occurs, one or more of these structures will often be affected. The surrounding muscles are what you’ll most likely find injured during a strain.

Common causes of low back pain

Whatever the nature of the injury; there will most likely be some stretching or slight tears of the muscle fibers. Tendons and ligaments can also be stretched out which will result in pain, discomfort, and inflammation. There’s these articles going around from, explaining how it’s important to know that there are experts and doctors that have been diligently working on programs to heal athletes who have undergone terrible injuries and that a “smaller” injury should not stop your life. There are options for you.

The disks that are located between each vertebrae may be damaged through bulging or tearing. A common side effect for a lot of these injuries involves nerve impairment which may or may not be manifested through pain.

To get a proper diagnosis, a person that experiences disabling back pain should consult with their doctor or a licensed chiropractor. In Perth there are some great chiropractors and  in many instances, the pain is a result of a misalignment in which case a chiropractor can provide almost instant relief.

Some of the main reasons why low back pain or injury occurs in the first place revolves around…

  • sitting too much
  • lifting something the wrong way
  • standing for long periods with bad posture
  • sleeping in a bad position

All of these scenarios will cause many muscles to tighten, while other muscles will literally “shut down.”

While sitting, avoid leaning forward with your back arched and don’t sit for long periods of time. The ideal position to keep while sitting is maintaining a flat back, having the feet flat on the ground with the shoulders rolled back.

While standing, avoid standing in one position for a long period of time. Maintain good posture by keeping your shoulders back, abdominals tight and relax the knees. If you are experiencing some shoulder or knee pain that prevents you from maintaining a good posture, contact O’Grady Orthopaedics.

Proper lifting techniques to avoid low back injuries

It is very important to not only pick up objects correctly, but to also carry them in a safe manner. When lifting an object, first bend at the knees and not at the waist, making sure that your chest stays at a higher level than your hips.

Two other important reminders while lifting is to tighten the muscles in your buttocks and the abdomen while making sure that the object is directly in front of your body. Using all of the core muscles at the same time, essentially making a tight cage surrounding your spine, you can effectively avoid injuring the back.

After the object is gripped, and all of the appropriate muscles are tight, stand straight up keeping the chest at a higher level than the buttocks. As the object is carried, keep it at waist level, close to the body, and squarely in front.

Proper sleep positions to minimize low back pain

Although it is difficult to control exactly how one’s body is positioned while sleeping, there are some factors to consider. Try to avoid sleeping in one position for a long period of time and try to avoid sleeping on your stomach all together.

When lying on your back, avoid having your legs completely extended, instead put a pillow folded up under the knees. The best way to sleep with minimal back strain is to be on your side with your neck and back in a straight line. Place your head on a small pillow, and another pillow between the knees which are bent at ninety degrees.

Some people find great relief from firm beds, pillow tops, or the new technology of memory foam beds that conform to the real contour of a person’s body. Most people will never go back to a regular mattress after trying looking at this sleepon latex pure green review. People tend to sleep longer, be less groggy in the morning, and less pain through their whole body.

There are specific steps to take if you suffer from a low back injury regardless of how it happened.

Treatment of low back pain

Whether somebody falls, twists the wrong way, picks up something awkwardly, or injures their back in some way, the main goal is to reduce the inflammation that occurs within the muscle tissue. I recommend that ice be applied as soon as possible. Real ice has shown to be more beneficial as it stays colder for longer than artificial ice packs.

The ice should be in a leak proof zip lock bag and placed first over a thin piece of material to avoid ice burn to the skin. A great way to keep compression on the area and to hold the ice in place is to wrap the ice around the injured area with a long Ace bandage.

Ice treatments should last for 20-30 minutes with about 20 minutes in between to allow for the skin to rise back to a normal temperature before additional ice is applied.

The more times you complete these 20-30 minute ice treatments the more beneficial it will be for the injured area. The same Ace bandage that was used during the ice treatment can be utilized as a bracing mechanism when ice is not on.

Over the counter, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen) have also been proven to be very beneficial. The ibuprofen, ice, compression, and rest in the correct positions are all the best ways to reduce pain and inflammation so that the injured person can return to their normal daily activities as quickly as possible.

In part two of this series I’ll share with you some of my favorite exercises and stretches to help you prevent low back injuries and pain in the first place. Proper prevention of back injuries beats treatment of the problems any day of the week.

Andrew Duffy is a Certified Athletic Trainer through the National Athletic Training Association, and is a strength and conditioning specialist with Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. Learn more on how you can receive a FREE no- obligations consultation with Andrew to discuss an injury rehabilitation exercise program by clicking the link above.

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