Lower back pain is the result of muscle strains or spasms, ligament strains (the connective tissue between bones), inflammation of joints, or the incorrect position of spinal discs due to poor posture or forced injury. Generally, a person will be subject to lower back pain after engaging in activities that place strain on the areas listed, by attempting to force those muscles into action when they have not been fully warmed up or are in a weakened state due to inactivity. This leads to muscle soreness and tightness, cramping, ligament and joint inflammation and different types of aches and pains.
The most common injury that causes lower back pain from incorrect spinal position is known as a herniated disc. This occurs when the spinal discs that sit between each vertebrae in the spine becomes less elastic and more prone to being pushed out of position. The pain occurs when spinal nerves surrounding the spinal cord become pinched and compressed.
In order to provide some relief for lower back pain, the following tips can be of some help:
1) Lie flat on your back with a pillow supporting your neck and under the crook of your knees. Another method has your feet propped up on a chair with a pillow underneath them while you lie flat on your back. This will take the pressure off the lower part of your back for a short period of time. In order to avoid the muscles becoming weakened, rise to your feet and try to move the muscles slightly for a few minutes each hour.
2) For painful muscle spasms, apply heat to the affected area for 20 to 30 minutes, and a break of approximately an hour in between. Use a heating pad if there is one available. This will relax tightened muscles and loosen them up.
3) For muscle pain that occurs from swelling or inflammation, apply cold to the affected area for 10 minutes, with a break of half an hour. Do not apply heat to swollen muscles, since it will increase blood flow and not decrease the overall swelling and pain.
4) Try a non-prescription medicine that can reduce swelling and pain by slowly regulating blood flow. The most common medicines available are Aspirin or Tylenol (acetaminophen), Aleve (Naproxen) and Advil or Motrin (Ibuprofen).
If the pain does not subside and the following symptoms occur, go to a doctor immediately:
– Pain extends beyond the knee
– Legs, feet and midsection feel numb
– Fever symptoms, nausea, dizziness and sweating
– Loss of Bladder and Bowel control
– All movement creates intense pain
– Pain does not subside after 2 weeks.
To prevent back strain in the future, there are a number of practices that must be put to good use in order to strengthen the lower back muscles and stop the onset of pains. Making sure your weight is in an acceptable range, developing muscle strength through exercise and activity, and improving your posture while sitting and standing will dramatically recuperate your lower back.
When performing everyday tasks that may strain your back, keep the following tips in mind:
– Bend your knees and keep close to large objects while lifting
– Do not twist while lifting heavy objects
– Pushing heavy objects place less strain on the back than pulling
– Be sure to take standing or short walking breaks during the day if you are sitting at a desk or in a vehicle for extended periods of time
– Wear shoes with a flat sole or low heels
– Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet
To slowly extend the muscles in your lower back, try this simple exercise.
Stretch your back muscles by lying on the floor on your back with your knees bent, and pull your left knee towards your chest and hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat this with the right knee. Do 10 repetitions for each leg daily. This will stretch out and work your lower back muscles.
For additional strengthening and activity, walking and swimming are perfect alternatives and will improve your overall health as well. Remember, lower back pain can be avoided if measures in prevention are taken. If you keep a healthier lifestyle through activity, proper diet and knowing your body’s limitations, your lower back pain will be a thing of the past.