An estimated 29 percent of Americans (that’s about 96 million people) have itevery year the cause of back pain remains a mystery to many people.
If you suffer from back pain, the solution may be easier than you think. Learn how to get rid of back pain through stretching, exercise, and other drug-free treatments.
What Causes Low Back Pain?
The first step to relieve back pain is to determine the cause.
Lack of physical activity leads to poor mobility, posture misalignment, and weak muscles, all of which contribute to back pain in different ways.
- Poor Mobility: Tight muscles in your glutes and legs pull on your lumbar spine, creating an excessive lumbar curve (lordosis). Tight shoulder and upper back muscles also pull your spine out of alignment.
- Posture Problems: If you sit a lot, you may have adopted poor postures such as slumped shoulders, a protruding neck, and an arched lower back. These posture problems can all lead to back pain.
- Weak muscles: Weak muscles, especially the trunk, hips, glutes, and back muscles, don’t support your spine as well as it should. This leads to misalignment of the spine and consequently lower back pain.
Sometimes back pain is the result of funky sleeping positions. If you wake up with severe back pain that gets better during the day, it may be time for a new oneor in addition to your
Strains (pulled muscles or tendons) and sprains (torn ligaments) are often associated with lower back pain. Both types of injuries occur when you push your body beyond its normal range of motion or lift loads that are heavier than you can handle.
Inflamed joints, especially lumbar vertebrae and hip joints, can cause severe lower back pain. Joint inflammation can be the result of normal wear and tear (arthritis) or injury.
Spinal cord injuries and disorders
Sometimes low back pain is directly related to a spinal condition or injury, such as:
- Herniated disc: an intervertebral disc injury that occurs when the gelatinous interior of a disc protrudes through a tear in the disc’s outer layer
- Spinal stenosis: narrowing of the spine
- Spondylitis: inflammation of joints between vertebrae
- Spondylosis: a degenerative spinal condition that can cause loss of normal spinal function
- Degenerative Disc Disease: osteoporosis (bone degeneration) of the spine
Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back all the way through your legs. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated, and it sends pain through your hips and legs. Sciatica pain often feels like a shock in response to sneezing and coughing, or sitting or standing up too quickly.
Drug-free treatments for low back pain
It’s common to use an over-the-counter pain reliever or even ask a doctor for a prescription to treat a sore back. Pain relievers have their place, but you may be able to find back pain relief with these drug-free treatment options.
Many people avoid exercise when their back hurts, assuming exercise makes it worse. In the case of injuries, this is the case if you are not careful. But
Weak muscles – especially weak core, glute, and back muscles – don’t support your spine as well as it should. The result: nagging chronic back pain. Corrective exercises target those weak muscle groups and correct postural abnormalities to relieve pain.
Low-impact workouts such as swimming, water aerobics and recumbent bicycles also keep your back healthy and strong.
Stretch and mobilize
Often rooted inback pain can go away with consistent and targeted stretching.
Tight hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes contribute to low back pain because of the way these tight muscles pull on your spine. They can cause chronic postural abnormalities and muscle imbalances that cause pain in seemingly disconnected areas – your back is the main one.
To attemptyour hips, quads and hamstrings every night before bed. Throw in a few soft seated spine twists if the movement isn’t causing pain. If you exercise consistently, you may notice that your back pain is less severe.
Heat and cold therapy
For temporary relief from back pain, try oneCold reduces inflammation and narrows blood flow, while heat relaxes muscles and dilates blood vessels. Both can treat back pain, depending on the cause. A good rule of thumb to remember is that heat is best for pain and pain works best with injuries.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a type of therapy that stimulates nerves in pain sites. Using electrodes placed on your skin, a TENS device sends out gentle electrical signals that mask or intercept the pain signals your body sends to your brain.
Massage therapy relieves musculoskeletal painand adhesions. It also promotes increased blood flow, which helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to tight muscles. If your back pain is the result of an injury, massage may not be the best option for you. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure.
If you love massages but can’t afford the cost of a massage per week, consider investing in onegun. There are lots of low to moderately priced nowadays, and a one-time investment can from traditional massage therapy. To treat back pain with percussive massage, start on the lowest setting of your device and slowly increase the pressure if you think you can handle it.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.