Finding the “REAL” reasons you have low-back pain and how you can FINALLY have long-term relief.
What’s the Cause Of Low-Back Pain?
Reports show up to 85% of the general population experience low back pain, and because the symptoms vary widely, the cause is often unknown. There may be a combination of overlapping factors. When low back pain comes on for no apparent reason, this suggests an underlying movement problem such as weakness, muscle imbalance, or stiffness
At any given time, about 25% of people in the United States report having low back pain within the past 3 months. In most cases, low back pain is mild and disappears on its own. For some people, back pain can return or hang on, leading to a decrease in quality of life or even to disability.
In most cases, manual therapy combined with individually tailored exercise programs are effective in relieving pain and preventing recurrence.
Some common contributors to the cause of low back pain can include poor posture, being either poor dynamic or stationary posture, weak core muscles and degenerative conditions.
The 3 Types of Low-Back Pain
As mentioned, the symptoms of low back pain vary a great deal. Some patients experience a dull pain, while some experience burning, or others feel sharp pains.
Some might feel it at a single point or over a broad area. These symptoms might be accompanied by muscle spasms or stiffness and can even be spread into 1 or both legs.
Since the symptoms vary, it’s important to note what category our low-back pain is in. This will help you identify the best path to relief.
Your pain can be categorized into 3 different types:
Acute – low back pain lasting less than 3 months
Recurrent – low pack pain resulting from the acute symptoms coming back
Chronic – low back pain pain lasting longer than 3 months
Most Frequent Cause Of Low-Back Pain
In terms of low-back pain, sciatica is a regular complaint our physical therapy practitioners see in our patients.
Sciatica is a set of symptoms that can be caused by irritation or compression to one of the lumbar spinal nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve.
Sciatic pain is typically felt in the lower back, buttocks and/or varying parts of the leg and foot, in addition to pain, numbness, pins and needles, tingling, muscular weakness may also be felt or noted in the lower extremities.
A diagnosis of sciatica does not give an indication of what is irritating the nerve root it is just an set of symptoms that suggest the nerve root is being irritated.
Our physical therapists see patients complaining of sciatica symptoms regularly because prolonged poor sitting posture a common problem with a lot of office workers.
The most frequent cause of sciatica symptoms are due to the result of the impact prolonged stress has on a number of structures with in the lower back, including the increased pressure poor sitting postures place on the lumbar discs.
Our therapists are very experienced and trained at getting to the root cause of your sciatica.
Other Common Low-Back Conditions
Our therapists will commonly see a variety of other low back pain conditions, including lumbar strain, degenerative disc disease, lumbar stenosis, osteoarthritis, sacroiliitis, spondylolisthesis, and lumbar instability.
Of those, a common condition our therapists treat for low-back pain is spondylolisthesis.
This occurs when one vertebra slips forward in relation to an adjacent vertebrae, as well as vertebral instability where there is abnormal movement between a bone in the spine and the one next to it,
Another common complaint is the lumbar disc injury, which is a very common complaint in the 30-50 year old age bracket requiring low back pain physical therapy.
The Top Stretches To Help Minimize Pain
Stretching of the joints, muscles, and nerves are very important to ensure that there are no imbalances throughout the musculoskeletal system.
Decreased flexibility in any of these areas may lead to lower back pain. To be clear, not all of these stretches we mention may be appropriate for everyone. A stretch should not induce painful symptoms.
These stretches should feel relieving to the lower back and should never induce painful symptoms. Start off slowly with a very gentle stretch and stop if you have any increase in lower back pain or sciatic pain down your leg.
With that being said, here are the 3 stretches we recommend starting with.
The Cat / Cow Stretch
This stretch is important because it incorporates both flexion and extension.
On your hands and knees, let your stomach move downwards, which increases extension through your spine. Then, arch your back upwards, bringing your spine away from the floor. This will increase flexion through your spine.
You may hold each position for 5-20 seconds and repeat several times.
The Knee-To-Chest Stretch
Start by lying on your back with both knees bent. Bring one knee up towards your chest.
Perform 2-3 repetitions, holding each one for 15-30 seconds. Then switch legs to stretch both sides of your back.
While you perform this stretch, you may feel a stretch along the lower back or buttocks area.
This stretch can also be perform this with both legs up towards your chest if it is comfortable.
The Prayer Stretch
This stretch is important for the lower back muscles along your spine.
On your hands and knees, sit back so your buttocks is resting on your heels.
Reach your hands forward to lengthen your spine and feel a stretch in your middle back.
You can reach your hands to either side to focus the stretch on the opposite side of your spine.
Hold for 10-30 seconds and perform 2-3 repetitions.
Basic Strategies For Injury Prevention
Our practitioners are experts in restoring and improving mobility and movement in people’s lives. They are not only trained to relieve your back pain, but in preventing it and reducing your risk of having it come back.
The 5 basic strategies we teach our patients to prevent further injury are:
- Use good body positioning at work, home, or during leisure activities.
- Keep the load close to your body during lifting.
- Ask for help before lifting heavy objects.
- Maintain a regular physical fitness regimen.
- Stay active.
The Key To Finding Long Term Relief
Whatever the condition, the key to long-term relief of your low-back pain is this:
Having the right combination of strength and flexibility around your spine is vital for a well functioning low back and the long term health of your spine.
Our physical therapy practitioner at Sac Sports Massage is a qualified, experienced, and ready to help you achieve the right combination of strength and flexibility for your spine to help eliminate your low back pain.