The lower back supports the weight of the upper body and provides mobility for everyday motions such as bending and twisting. Muscles in the low back are responsible for bending forward and back, and rotating the hips while walking, as well as supporting the spinal column. Nerves in the low back supply sensation and power the muscles in the pelvis, legs, and feet. There is a significant overlap of nerve supply to many of the discs, muscles, ligaments, and other spinal structures, and it can be difficult for the brain to accurately sense what the cause of the pain is. Muscles and ligaments heal rapidly, while a torn disc may or may not. The time course of pain helps determine the cause.
Low back pain has increasingly become one of the most common ailments in the recent times, be it at home or at work. Most of the low back pain that usually occurs at home or at work, is mostly due to the weakness of the surrounding muscles to appropriately support the lumber spine as well as a consequence of inculcating a bad posture that remains throughout the day and has been habituated in your life since childhood. In this article, we are focusing on the generalised back pain conditions that usually develop overtime and without any previous injuries or pathologies.
Some common causes for low back pain at work or home include:
1. Bad posture habits while sitting or standing: This can lead to excessive arching or slouching of the lumber spine which dislodges the centre of your body mass, the Centre of Gravity (COG).
2. Weakness of muscles particularly of the lower abdominals and hip muscles (glutes) which are most common.
3. Sustaining prolonged postures for longer periods of time, be it in standing or sitting or even walking for longer periods in an incorrect posture without breaks. Also, it gets impacted when we are in a bent position for prolonged period.
4. Sleeping habits: Most of the healing that takes place in our body is during our sleep. So, if the body is not properly rested at night, we end up waking up with a sore back that develops into pain during the day.
5. Lack of exercises: This is one of the major causes for the occurrence of low back pain, regardless of the age, which leads to compensations through our skeletal system and muscles, that impacts our posture and the way we carry ourselves throughout the day.
6. Natural wear and tear of the body: We normally tend to work hard throughout our prime and the amount of work done significantly reduces once we reach a certain age. This impacts our bone and muscle health this leading to generalised pain conditions.
7. Stress: This is by far one of the most common causes in recent times. When we are stressed, our body tends to secrete cortisol which prevents protein being received in our muscles. If we are happy and relaxed, our body is more open and our posture is more relaxed.
Tips to safeguard your spine:
Here’s how to reduce back pain
1. Strengthen your core muscles daily
Strong and supportive muscles throughout the trunk of your body are essential to support your spine. Core-building exercises include:
- Low-impact cardiovascular exercise, such as normal or brisk walking, which helps increase blood flow to the spine and stretch your muscles.
- Hydrotherapy, which provides a greater range of motion due to the buoyancy of water, particularly for exercises that require lifting the legs.
- If exercise seems difficult or impossible to you, make small goals to slowly get yourself moving, such as going up and down your stairs 3 times in a row or walking in a park with a friend.
2. Invest in an ergonomic office chair
Supporting the natural curve in your lower spine by:
- Using an ergonomic chair is among the best home remedies for back pain that helps align and support your back and thighs correctly
- Placing a small rolled-up towel at your back for additional support
- Using a standup desk, if possible for at least part of the day
It is helpful to set a timer for every 50 minutes to an hour on your phone to remind yourself to check your posture, walk for a few minutes, and stretch your lower back and leg muscles.
3. Safeguard your back while lifting
Lifting is a common cause of lower back pain. Common everyday activities, such as unloading grocery bags from the car or lifting your young child, can lead to lower back problems.
Lifting with your back bent, or lifting while twisting, may cause a sudden injury to your lower back or repetitive injury over a period of time, leading to chronic tissue damage.Follow these lifting-guidelines to prevent lower back injury:
- Bend at your knees, not at your lower back; a completely flexed (forward bent) back can be highly susceptible to a ligament and/or disc injury
- Pivot your feet and hips, rather than twisting your lower back
- Hold the object close to your chest while straightening your spine
While lifting is a part of everyday activities, having a job that includes heavy lifting may increase your risk of developing lower back problems.
4. Rest your back after prolonged bending
Your lower back is at risk for sustaining a sudden injury after these tissue changes if you exert stress on your back immediately afterward, such as lifting a bag of soil right after you’ve been bending and weeding for a long time.
It is advisable to stand upright for a few minutes and allow the spinal tissues to recover and re-shape after prolonged stooping or bending before attempting strenuous exertions.
5. Protect your discs immediately after waking
The pressure within your discs rises up to 240% when you sleep at night (for a minimum of 7 hours). At this time, your discs are fully hydrated and are typically at a higher risk of herniation when subject to bending or lifting forces.
Maintaining a straight back for an hour or two after waking is among back pain solutions that allow your discs to regain their normal pressure and withstand loads more effectively.
6. Stretch your hamstrings
A little-known cause of low back pain is tight hamstrings. Simple hamstring exercises are among back pain remedies that can help decrease the pressure on your pelvis and provide relief across your low back. Certain hamstring stretches also help relieve leg pain associated with lower back problems, such as sciatica.
Bonus tip: Lower back pain is directly impacted by your overall health
If you’re wondering , it is first vital to improve your overall physical fitness and general health. The following simple measures can help prevent the development, chronicity, or flaring of your lower back pain, such as:
- Staying active
- Drinking lots of water
- Minimizing the consumption of alcohol
- Getting enough deep, restorative sleep
- Following an anti-inflammatory diet
- Avoiding smoking and any form of nicotine intake
- Managing mental and psychological stress by participating in related therapies.
The damage to any single tissue can lead to biomechanical changes that progressively affects the other structures. The resulting effects may cause pain in your lower back, hip, and/or leg(s). A Functional Manual Therapist can help in lower back pain treatment by assessing the body as a whole which includes the way you carry yourself while standing, walking, sitting, doing some particular work or even the way you breathe. The assessment involves the overall functioning of the body as a whole and then segregation is done based on the areas which require immediate care and fixation through correcting some biomechanics of the body to bring it to its correct alignment. For example, in some cases the problem at the lower back is itself seldom the actual cause.
FMT TM can teach you how to move efficiently and also teach you how to use your body for the maximum output with much less efforts than required, by using the correct muscles at the correct time and also make a good muscle memory to help you sustain a perfect posture throughout that will keep you away from most of the lifestyle ailments that we deal with nowadays.