Lower back pain can virtually incapacitate even the strongest person. It comes in 2 forms, chronic and acute, with a variety of causes, such as arthritis, injury, poor posture, misalignment of the hips or a particular line of work. While acute lower back pain will go away in a few weeks, chronic lower back pain is there to stay.
The physical causes can stem from damage to inter-vertebral discs, nerve root compression, improper movement of spinal joints, muscle spasms or ligament issues. While there appears to be no cure for chronic lower back pain, there are ways to mitigate and even eliminate the symptoms associated with it. Let's break down the solutions.
These should be done every morning upon waking.
Lying on the ground, slowly pull your knees to your chest. Then, hold that position for 20 seconds. Repeat this 3 times.
Lie on your back with your legs straight out. Bend one knee to a 90 degree angle, then, take that knee and slowly push it to the floor crossing over the other leg. Hold for 20 seconds, then do the other side. This movement will stretch the paraspinal muscles.
On your knees, slowly stretch your arms forward to the floor until you cannot reach any further. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Retract. Then, repeat 2 more times.
In in seated position with legs extended in front of you, slowly pull your body to your toes until you reach full extension. Hold for 20 seconds. Do this 3 times.
Posture and gait can also be a big factor in chronic lower back pain. Here are some issues to watch out for:
Some people, as a result of a misalignment of the psoas muscle, pull one hip forward when walking. While you walk, put your hands on your hips and see if you have an uneven gait. To better check, do this in front of a full-length mirror. If your gait is off, there are exercises that you can do to realign your hips.
Poor lumbar posture is not always detectable until there is finally pain. Lordosis is a condition in which the spine is curved inward, namely in the lumbar region. This looks like the butt is sticking outward, which, in turn, puts additional pressure on the lumbar vertebrae and causes inflammation. Below is a table of the ideal posture.
Anti-inflammatory medications are always the staple recommendation for chronic lower back pain. While NSAIDs and other inflammation-reducing medication can be effective, they are hard on the stomach and can do damage to the lining. Others prefer to avoid medical treatments.
Fish oil has been shown to greatly reduce the body's overall inflammatory responses. Western diets tend to be low in fish, thus deficient in Omega 3 fatty acids. Using a fish oil supplement will provide you all the benefits of Omega 3s, and in this case, it should help with the reduction of lower back inflammation itself.
Taking these 3 approaches (stretching, posture and supplementation), you should be well on your way to a looser lower back and a better quality of life!