Anyone who has experienced lower back pain knows that it can be terribly painful. Some back injuries require only a few days of rest, while others require surgery and a long period of recuperation.
Injuries to the lower back are also felt along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the feet. Pain may be felt along the buttocks, legs, or feet.
Many incidences of back pain can be avoided or at least minimized by awareness of the causes and how to prevent them.
The causes of lower back pain
Lower back pain is often caused by improper movement that puts strain on muscles that support the spinal column, and secondary muscles in the back that allow bending and twisting of the upper body.
Examples of improper movement include:
Sudden bending or twisting of the back
Lifting a heavy object by straightening the back instead of lifting using leg muscles.
Slouching when sitting, or sitting in an awkward position, for long periods of time.
Participation in high impact activities, which may cause back strain or stress fractures
Back pain may also be caused by herniated discs, in which the soft material that separates the spinal vertebrae break open, causing the gel inside to leak out and irritate the spinal cord nerves.
Some individuals may suffer from congenital defects in the spine, which may cause such injuries as herniated discs to occur more frequently than in the general population. Age may play a factor, as well as strain on the back, which may cause discs to wear away and break open.
Preventing lower back pain
Mindfulness is the key to preventing lower back pain, especially if you have had repeated occurrences. You must become aware of your actions to the point that preventative measures are performed subconsciously. These measures include:
Support your lower back when bending forward.
Even if you are picking up a piece of paper, place a hand on one knee to support your back muscles. You may also to choose to straighten one leg behind you, as many golfers do. This also relieves strain on back muscles
Lift with your legs.
Stand directly in front of an object to be lifted, bend at the knees, and lift straight up. When moving a heavy object to one side, don't twist at the waist. Turn your feet first, then allow the rest of your body to follow.
Maintain good posture
Slouching or leaning forward in your seat will place strain on back muscles. Schedule breaks for walking between long periods of sitting so that back muscles can relax. Invest in an ergonomic chair that is designed for lumbar support.
Keep core muscles strong
Your core muscles, the deep abdominal muscles that support your spine, can be strengthened through activities such as yoga or Pilates. Activities should be appropriate to the condition of the spine.
Maintain spinal alignment
If you have recurring issues with your lower back, you may want to consider visiting a chiropractor to have your spine placed in proper alignment.. If your spine is misaligned, your spinal or sciatic nerves can become irritated, causing mild to severe pain.
Although painkillers can solve lower back problems temporarily, they cannot fix the overall issue. Pain is a message, and the message must be heeded if lower back problems are to be prevented. Talk to experts like Dr. Brian C. Gibson Chiropractic for more information.