Millions of people suffer from lower back pain. This is not surprising if we consider our 21st century lifestyles and how we spend most of our days. Most of us will sit on a chair for the whole working day. We drive our cars instead of walking. Very few of us get sufficient exercise and many of us carry a few extra kilos of bodyweight.
Causes of lower back pain
What are the most common reasons for lower back pain? Well, first here are some basic anatomical facts. Our spine comprises 33 small bones called vertebral and 23 spongy pieces of suspension called discs, whose main function is to absorb pressure.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
The main medical conditions that cause lower back pain are degenerative disc disease; herniated discs; disc tears; spondylolisthesis; vertebral fractures; spinal stenosis and scoliosis. Overuse injuries and stiffness can also lead to lower back pain. These are related to the muscles and ligaments and are much easier to treat. Usually it goes away after a few day’s rest and heat packs.
How to avoid lower back pain
There are a few things that we can do to help ourselves.
Keep a good posture when sitting, standing or even lying down. Sitting all day at the office weakens the muscles and our posture, when sitting, is bad for the back. Make sure you sit upright and keep both feet flat on the floor in front of you. Likewise, when standing or lying down – try to keep you spine straight and aligned with your shoulders, hips and knees.
Try to get off the office chair every now and then. Go for a little walk in the office or around the block. Ensure your computer screen in front of you, not on your right or left, it doesn’t matter if you can’t see the person in front of you, get up and chat while standing up!
If you do a hard job that requires lifting weights, do so by bending your knees, not your back.
Avoid poor posture
Due to weak muscles we usually stand in an awkward position. Our belly is popping out, our shoulders fall to the front and our back creates an arch. This is where we need to make changes. Stand up straight like a soldier, put your belly back inside, move your shoulders to the back and look up. This will be uncomfortable to start with, because your body is not used to it.
Do you have back pain when you wake up? Consider changing your mattress. If your mattress is too soft, too hard or too old, it will damage your back.
Healthy and strong muscles can prevent and relieve back pain. That’s our target, to provide you with exercises you can do at home.
Exercises to help alleviate lower back pain
Before starting any exercise programme you are strongly advised to visit your doctor. If you have back pain, you need to get a diagnosis and some guidance on exercises that you can do without further harming your back.
If you get back pain while working out, stop doing the exercises. if you believe that an exercise is too difficult for you, simply skip it. This article is showing general exercises that help back pain, but visit your physiotherapist or medical professional to get guidance regarding your personal exercises plan.
1. Preparation – Lie on a mat with knees bent and feet placed on the floor. Execution – Slowly raise your head and shoulders from the ground until you feel your abdominals tensing. Hold for a count of three and then slowly lower to your starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.
2. Preparation – Lie on the floor or mat on your stomach. Execution – Stabilize yourself on your forearms and toes and lift your body. Hold hands together for stability and hold the body in straight line. Hold for 20-30 secs. Sets of 3
3. Preparation – Straighten your body while lying on your side. Execution – Prop yourself up on your elbow and the lateral side of your foot. Hold for 20-30 secs. Sets of 3. Repeat on other side.
4. Preparation – Lie on the floor or mat. Execution – Lift your legs straight off the ground about 20-30cm. Return to starting position slowly. Repeat 10-15 times, sets of 3
5. Preparation – Lie on a stability ball, stretch your legs back and keep your hands out to the sides. Execution – Raise opposite legs and arms. Repeat 10-15 times on each side. Do 3 s
6. Preparation – Lie flat on your stomach. Execution – Raise opposite legs and arms. Repeat 10-15 times, on each side. Do 3 sets.
7. Preparation – Lie on your back and bend one leg as shown. Execution – Raise body by extending hip of bent leg, keep the extended leg and hip straight. Repeat 10-15 times on each side. Do 3 sets.
8. Preparation – Lie on your back with knees bent. Execution – Lift body off the ground into a straight line. Return to start position. Repeat 10-15 times. Do 3 sets.
(image credit: alignedforlifechiropractic, 3D4Medical, i.telegraph)