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3 bulletproof ways to treat Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is extremely common and one of the most commonly treated orthopedic conditions in our biokinetics practice. This is generally because an individuals lower back supports the weight of their upper body and as such is exposed to a lot of stress — especially during everyday movements like lifting and twisting.

Your pain can have many causes including, poor posture, muscle weakness, joint stiffness and even more serious problems in the spine and vertebrae. However chances are—if there was no traumatic injury or incident that led to your pain—a few adjustments to your body positioning and some key exercises can help improve your symptoms.

Very important however, before you begin with any rehabilitation program, including ours, you should contact your doctor and just make sure there are no major “red flags” to be concerned with. These may include:

  • A history of cancer or a recent infection
  • A recent fall or other accident
  • Nerve problems, such as shooting pain, numbness or tingling
  • Changes in bowel or bladder function

Here are our top 3 recommendations that can help you relieve pain and prevent future problems.

For some immediate relief, stretching can help. By stretching the muscles that surround the spine, you can help promote mobility and reduce stiffness and pain. While stretching can help ease symptoms, knowing the true cause of your pain—whether it’s body positioning, weakness, or a more serious injury—is very important (Make a booking for a Biokinetics Consultation here).

The muscles in the back extend in many different directions, therefore it’s important to do a variety of stretches. Different stretches can help target different areas, but one thing is usually a safe bet: Moving is better than not moving!

Try the following 3 stretches for immediate relief:

Lower Trunk Rotation – Begin by lying on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your shoulders in contact with the floor and your knees pressed together. Slowly and gently move both knees from left to right. Allow your knees to stretch all the way to one side and then pause for a moment so you feel a little twisting stretch in your lower back. We recommend repeating this about 10 times to each side.

Knee to Chest Stretch – Begin by lying on your back with both knees straight. Bend one knee and pull it inwards towards your chest. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on the opposite side. While doing this, allow your lower back to relax by taking several slow breaths. Alternatively you could also try hugging both knees to your chest at the same time.

Child’s Pose – Begin on your hands and knees. Then sit your hips back towards your feet. Sink your hips back and reach your arms straight out in front of you (as far as you can) as you keep your head down. Hold this position for roughly 30 seconds. For an added stretch, walk your hands to the right side so that you elongate the left side of your body. Hold this position for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.

While stretching is great for immediate relief in order to prevent future onset you need to strengthen the muscles that support your spine.

The ‘core’ is a combination of abdominal and back muscles that wraps around the body (the glutes are also considered a part of the core, since they connect to the pelvis and ultimately help stabilize the back and abdominal muscles.)

As with any muscles, by strengthening the ‘core’, you will increase the amount of weight your lower back can comfortably bear. You will also be better equipped to handle the same repeated stress from everyday life like lifting and twisting without all the pain and discomfort.

Without a strong core, your body will rely more on your passive structures, like your ligaments and bones, ultimately increasing stress on the spine and the likelihood of an injury to occur.

When you’re working to strengthen the core, you’ll want to focus on exercises that don’t exacerbate lower back issues. We suggest focusing on exercises that keep the core stable and whilst avoiding excessive twisting movements. Try the following 3 core stabilization exercises:

Tabletop Leg Press – Begin by lying on your back, face up with your legs raised in a tabletop position (knees bent 90 degrees and stacked over your hips). Contract your abs to press your low back into ground. Crunch up just a few inches and place your hands on the front of your quads. Then drive your quads into your hands while simultaneously pressing down on your thighs. There should be no visible movement in your body, but you should feel the battle and intense tension in your core. Hold this position for 20 – 30 seconds and repeat 5 times.

Dead Bug – Begin by lying on your back, face up with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your legs in a tabletop position. This is starting position. Slowly extend your right leg out straight, whilst simultaneously dropping your left arm overhead. Squeeze your glutes and keep your lower back pressed into the floor to keep your core engaged. Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite side. Start with 12 repetitions for 3 sets.

Clamshell – Start by lying on your left side with your elbow bent and your left hand supporting your head. Stack your right leg and foot on top of your left, and bend your knees to form a 45-degree angle. Place your right hand on your hip or lightly on the floor in front of you for balance. This is the starting position. Slowly lift your right knee up toward the ceiling, keeping your feet touching. Use your glutes to initiate the movement, and squeeze them as you lift your knee. Lower your right leg back to meet the left. We recommend doing 20 repetitions for 3 sets on each side.

Sports Massages are a non-invasive, low risk therapy that provides many benefits physically and psychologically. For many individuals suffering from back pain, whether it be acute or chronic, a massage may be an accepted method of treating and reducing symptoms along with the underlying tension.

There are 3 main ways in which massage therapy can help treat lower back pain:

  1. Increasing blood flow – By working and manipulating the back muscles, massage encourages increased blood flow to the affected areas of the back. This in turn helps to promote healing. Recent research also suggests that it can may to improve the long term vascular function.
  2. Increasing blood flow – By working and manipulating the back muscles, massage encourages increased blood flow to the affected areas of the back. This in turn helps to promote healing. Recent research also suggests that it can may to improve the long term vascular function.
  3. Decreases Tension – Excessive muscle tension, particularly around the lower back, can cause restricted movement and pain. Massage promotes relaxation of key muscle groups eliminating associated pain and increasing flexibility.

If your lower back pain doesn’t improve after 4 to 6 weeks of home care using these suggestions, you should definitively see your doctor for further diagnosis.

Other options for treating lower back pain may include pain management with cortisone injections or, in certain cases, surgery. Although lower back surgery can be beneficial for patients who are experiencing nerve problems and injured discs, it’s not typically recommended for patients with other types of lower back pain.

CONTACT US to book a consultation with a Biokineticist at Trinity Fitness Namibia.