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Lower back pain workout

Contents

Addressing the problem

Nine out of ten adults suffer back pain at some point in their life. So, there is a chance this lower back pain workout helps you, right now, or in the future. Lower back pain is the most common cause of chronic pain, a major contributor to missed work, and the most common cause of global disability. As Time magazine states in its article.
 
I hurt my back when I was 18 so, I´ve been dealing with lower back pain most of my life. My back pain and I have been friends for 24 years! I had plenty of time to read a lot about it, to try several therapies and remedies, such as:
  • analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs (prescribed by my doctor),
  • heat and ice packs,
  • spinal manipulation and mobilization (Chiropractors, osteopaths, and physiotherapists),
  • acupuncture,
  • yoga,
and in the process, I developed my own routine, which I´m sharing with you today, in case you want to give it a chance.
 
The lower back consists of five vertebrae (L1- L5). L5 is connected with the top of the sacrum. The lumbar vertebrae allow for forwarding and backward extension, as well as twisting movements. The segments L5-S1 and L4-L5, carry the most weight and have the most movement, this makes the area prone to injury. This is exactly what I hurt, L4-L5, and L5-S1. I´ll explain how I did it in a minute.
Back pain is classified in terms of the duration of symptoms.
 
1. Acute back pain: <6 weeks
2. Sub-acute back pain: 6-12 weeks.
3. Chronic back pain: >12 weeks.
 
Back pain can go from a muscle aching to a burning or stabbing sensation. Occasionally, the pain may radiate down your leg, worsen with bending, twisting, lifting, standing, or walking.  It can be challenging to maintain a standing position, sitting, or lying position. Carrying things in the arms, or bending can also be painful. Cleaning, sports, and other daily activities become challenging tasks for people with lower back pain.
5-10% of all low back pain patients will develop Chronic Lower Back Pain.
 
First of all, if your back hurts, you should visit your doctor, to rule out any serious pathology. Back pain is stressful, frustrating, disabling, and ultimately we worry about whether we have any serious illness or injury. This is usually not the case, but better to be safe than sorry, right?

When to get immediate medical advice

You should immediately contact your doctor if you have back pain and:
 
  • you feel numbness or tingling around your genitals or buttocks
  • difficulty peeing
  • loss of bladder or bowel control
  • unintentional weight loss
  • a deformity or swelling in your back
  • the pain does not improve after resting or is worse at night
  • your pain started after a serious accident, such as a car accident
  • you’re having problems sleeping because of it
  • when sneezing, coughing, or pooing your pain is worse
These problems could be a sign of something more serious (Mayo Clinic). You must check it urgently.

Causes and risk factors

Approximately 90% of people with back pain are diagnosed with non-specific acute back pain in which there is no serious underlying pathology.
 
The good news is the pain is not caused by anything serious, in most cases, pain is due to a sprain (overstretched or torn ligaments), a strain (tears in tendons or muscle), and/or a spasm (a sudden contraction of a muscle or group of muscles). The cause is a peripheral injury to muscle or ligaments.
To get an idea of which muscles you may have injured, please read erector spinae. Also, check how small the ligaments that join the vertebrae are. It’s unbelievable that such tiny things can cause so much pain.
So, what does cause this injury? It might be caused by any of these factors:
 

Overweight.

Excess body weight puts extra stress on your back. You should consider losing a few pounds to ease the load on your back. Besides, being overweight causes many other health problems, so you will be improving your general health while avoiding that uncomfortable back pain. Your back pain is a red flag, a painful way your body tells you to have to do something about your weight. The solution is well-known: a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise.
 

Your job.

Does your job involve lifting, pulling, or anything that twists the spine? Then, it may cause your back pain. Obviously, you can´t quit your job but, back pain resulting from improper body mechanics may be prevented by avoiding certain movements, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly.
The usual suspect is improper lifting, using your back instead of your legs can lead to back pain.

Sweep.

This is also a dangerous activity. Sweeping exercises every muscle, but you probably don´t pay attention to proper posture. Keep your back straight while sweeping your floor with a standard bristle broom. Focus your attention on moving the broom with your arms, don’t bend or twist your back. Collect your sweepings with a long-handled dustpan so you don’t have to bend over as much.
 

Sitting at a desk all day.

It comes with risks of its own, especially if your chair is uncomfortable, or you tend to slouch. If possible, choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests, and a swivel base. Placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back can maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level. Change your position frequently, at least every half-hour. Also, check your posture when sitting, using computers or tablets, and watching television.

Standing for long periods.

If you must stand for long periods, be mindful, stand smart:
  • Stand up straight and tall
  • Keep your shoulders back
  • Pull your stomach in
  • Put your weight mostly on the balls of your feet
  • Keep your head level
  • Let your arms hang down naturally at your sides
  • Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart

Carrying weight incorrectly.

When you wear your purse, backpack, or briefcase over your shoulder, it is the lower back that supports the upper body and the additional weight you carry. If you carry that weight every day on the same shoulder, that can strain the lower back.

Lack of exercise.

Weak, unused muscles in your back and abdomen might lead to back pain. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. You’re especially vulnerable if you tend to be inactive during the workweek and then spend hours at the gym or go out and exercise a lot on the weekend. You will be demanding too much of those weak muscles and, sooner or later, you will pay the price. Regular daily exercise increases strength and endurance and allows your muscles to function better.
 

Overdoing at the gym.

The other end is not advisable either. Overdoing it at the gym is another cause of lower back pain. This is how I got hurt. Back in the day, I just wanted to get bigger muscles. I had no idea of lifting weights, no lifting technique, no trainer to advise me, and the only motto was “lift heavy to get big”. Terrible and harmful motto. I learned that the hard way. Two slipped/herniated discs (the disc of cartilage in the spine presses on a nearby nerve) were the output of my teenage recklessness. 

Lower Back Pain Workout

My doctor told me not to lift or practice any sport because of my back pain. I became a weightlifter and I never had back problems again. By far, physical activity is the best therapy for chronic back pain. It’s even more effective than pain relievers treating pain in the long term. The great benefit of exercise is that it acts through multiple mechanisms, attacking the root problem: mobility, strength, circulation, and the nervous system. There is a lot of medical literature supporting specific physical therapy exercises for the treatment of low back pain. Some interesting readings:
Low back stability primarily depends on the abdominal and low back musculature. These muscles provide support on the spine. The stronger these muscles are, the less stress is on the discs and joints of the spine.
Core strengthening exercises to restore the coordination and control of the trunk muscles (abdominals, erector spinae, glutes) to improve control of the lumbar spine and pelvis. These exercises restore the strength and endurance of the trunk muscles.
 
But the surrounding muscles are also affected. Some are too tense or lack flexibility, others lack tone or strength. So, to relieve pain, we must pay attention to several muscles and restore a healthy balance among them.
Stretching and flexibility exercises to improve hamstring, quadriceps, piriformis, psoas, and hip joint capsule range of motion. These exercises reduce pain, improve movement, and improve functional limitations of movement.
 
So, here is the low back pain workout that I do regularly. You don’t need any equipment and it only takes you fifteen minutes.

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