Back pain has become a major problem facing a multitude of Americans. According to an article written by the American Chiropractic Association, “31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.”
So, what’s causing all this lower back pain? Aging, obesity and lack of exercise are a few of the culprits, but sometimes the answer isn’t clear at all. The Mayo Clinic says that folks suffering from anxiety and depression are more likely to suffer from back pain. Improper lifting and poor posture can cause lower back injuries. It may not be surprising, however, that living a sedentary lifestyle is one of the easiest ways to develop a back injury.
As hard as it may be to believe, if you are suffering from low back pain, exercise may be your best solution for back pain relief and healing. Exercise may not only reduce your pain, but may even eliminate it for good. As the saying goes, ‘motion is lotion’. This is because exercise will actually lubricate your joint surfaces. When you don’t move, on the other hand, your joints can become stiff and painful. Exercise also increases blood flow and therefore nutrition to your joints and muscles. Think about it. Our bodies are meant to twist, bend and move, right? When you don’t move your body on a regular basis, you are putting your back in an unnatural position. If you’ve ever tried to start an old car after an extended period of non-use, it’s a similar situation. A car needs to be driven regularly to stay in good shape, and similarly, our bodies need to move every day to stay flexible and healthy.
A recent Web MD article touted the benefits of movement as a treatment for lower back pain. “Activity is often the best medicine for back pain. Simple exercises like walking can be very helpful. It gets people out of a sitting posture and puts the body in a neutral, upright position.”
Start Feeling Better Today:
- Walk and Walk Some More: Research shows that walking is a fantastic way to eliminate back pain. If you are in pain, start slowly and for shorter amounts of duration. You may feel stiff in the beginning but should start to feel better within 15 minutes of walking. Once you have fully recovered or your pain is manageable, walk 30-60 minutes 5-7 days a week. Is that way too much to start with? Even walking just twice a week can make a big difference. Once you get into a routine walking or exercising twice a week, start adding another day. Other activities to try are jogging, swimming or exercise machines. If that doesn’t excite you try joining an exercise group or class.
- Stretch to Feel Better Instantly: Regular stretching will increase your range of motion and flexibility. This in turn will decrease the chance of a strain or pull, say when you reach to pick up a sock off the floor or run to catch the bus. Even 5 minutes a day of stretching can go a long way. One of my favorite stretches is the hip flexor stretch. If you sit for prolonged periods of time your hip flexors can get so tight that they pull on your pelvis. By stretching them you will help to prevent this and protect your spine from misalignment. Click here for a hip stretch to try today.
- Strengthen Your Natural Brace : Underneath your ‘six-pack’ is a muscle called your Transversus Abdominis (TrA). This muscle is the only core muscle that wraps around the front of your body and attaches to your spine. It is often compared to as a natural brace or corset. Research shows that people who suffer from low back pain either have a week TrA or that their TrA is not ‘turning’ on or being activated properly. This can lead to strain and pain in your back. Specific exercises that target the TrA help to protect your spine during all movements and even during sitting. Read our pervious blog on the inner core for more information.
Movement is vital when it comes to treating back pain, but the key is to listen to your body, and to keep moderation in mind. If you’re experiencing severe back pain, talk with your doctor before trying a new exercise or stretch.
Telespine is an online system of back care methods and ideology developed by Dr. Mark Barnes. With over 22 years of clinical experience and the treatment of over 10,000 patients suffering from lower back pain, Dr. Barnes has drawn from his extensive background in orthopedic physical therapy, clinical research, exercise physiology, and biomechanics to create a simple and highly effective online program for individuals suffering from low back pain. Contact us today!