Lower back pain is one of the most common medical complaints in the U.S. There are many kinds and causes of low back pain. The combination of a sedentary lifestyle and lack of education makes muscular inefficiency one of the most common causes of modern back pain.
The muscles of the core group, including the hip, pelvic, lower back and abdominal muscles, are responsible for supporting our spines and upper bodies. However, the average person does not have a strong core. A lack of widespread education about health and wellness has left most Americans totally unaware of the core group and its crucial role.
Insufficient strengthening and conditioning. is not the only problem; improper exercise can also wreak havoc on the back. While many seek a 6-pack stomach, how many of us know that exercising one muscle set of the core group and neglecting the others can result in severe pain? Muscle imbalances involve a more developed muscle set that becomes taut and shortened. The other muscles, tendons and ligaments of the core will be pulled by the shortened abdominal muscles and become overstretched. The result is postural distortion and back pain.
The first component of any treatment plan is education. In the internet age, there is no excuse for being in the dark about your own pain. A bit of research about anatomy, medical conditions and treatments will set you on a path to seek appropriate care.
For muscle-related back pain, there are various methods of treatment.
Lumbosacral belts are a form of back brace that supports the lower spine, whose proper arch ensures the correct curvature of the whole spine. While weak muscles would be strained during physical feats or fail to allow proper posture, the belt takes some of the responsibility off the muscles.
A belt or brace can be a helpful supplement, especially in the beginning stages of treatment. It should not, however, be treated as a permanent replacement for your own muscles. If either muscle weakness or imbalance is causing your pain, then those exact problems should be addressed. A belt can help to protect your back from further strain in the beginning of treatment, only to be dispensed with as you round out your core group.
Physical therapy is a process of identifying problem areas and correcting them mainly through the use of movement and exercise. Physical therapy will consist of different exercise plans depending on the exact cause of your back pain. A professional can guide you through ways to avoid or correct muscle imbalances, safely build strength and stretch muscles to reduce strain.
Massage therapy works well hand-in-hand with physical therapy. Masseuses know how to find muscles that are overly tight and loosen them by applying various types of pressure. The massage technique forces inflammatory fluids out of the muscle and allows increased blood flow to the area, which is crucial to recovery; blood delivers fresh nutrients and oxygen to the tissues of the body.
Since posture is so important in avoiding back pain, you should give ergonomics a leading role in the setup of your work station. The PloS One publication group revealed that less than 20% of American jobs require more than slight physical activity. Among the most popular sedentary job is the desk job, or office work. A proper work station will help you treat and prevent back pain.
If you cannot afford a special chair or convince your boss to fund it, make a few simple adjustments. Use a towel roll behind your lumbar arch. Place a pillow at the foot of the chair to support your feet.
If you’re looking for something more exciting, try an exercise ball or kneeling chair. These reduce the pressure placed on the buttocks and lower back while naturally encouraging engagement of the core and proper posture.
Surgery is only a treatment option for back pain that has not been resolved by any other means and that significantly limits functioning. If untreated, muscular inefficiencies could lead to more serious problems like disc herniation or slipped vertebrae. These conditions, if severe, may warrant the removal of a spinal disc or fusion of vertebrae. Avoid this unpleasant prospect by dealing with your pain early.