Low Back Pain Relief

Your Guide to Lower Back Pain Relief

It’s safe to say that if you know anything factual about back pain, it is probably in regards to lower back pain. Since 4 of 5 adults will experience some level of lower back pain in their lifetime it’s no surprise that the majority of back pain literature focuses on lumbar pain. Despite these staggeringly high numbers, most lower back pain is caused by muscular imbalances in the body and can be treated without drugs or surgery. At the bottom of this article you will see our top recommendations for treating lower back pain.

Some of the time lower back pain will go away on its own within a few days, but when the pain persists or worsens you will need to try to identify the true cause of your pain. If necessary, seek the assistance of a back pain specialist.

The key is to not ignore the pain, even when it subsides. It is almost always a warning sign, telling you that something needs to change.

A Closer Look at The Lower Back

The lower back is made up of five vertebrae, known collectively as the lumbar region. One of the primary reasons the lower back is so vulnerable to pain is because it supports the weight of the entire upper body. The intervertebral discs give the lower back the flexibility required to bend and twist and walk.

When the discs lose fluid or flexibility or when the muscles are strained, you will experience lower back pain.

Lower Back Pain Causes

The lower back is a tricky mistress, meaning that there are some direct causes of back pain such as strained muscles or ligaments that don’t affect a specific area, but rather the lower back as a whole. This type of low back pain is often due to movements such as lifting too much or incorrectly, injury and poor posture.

Where lumbar pain gets really tricky is when it isn’t due to a direct injury. If you suffer from obesity, arthritis or sciatica you may experience lower back pain as a symptom. This is what makes lower back pain so difficult to treat when it isn’t a result of injury or trauma.

Diagnosing lower back is a daunting task because the physician must figure out if the pain is due to a muscle problem or if it is merely a symptom of another illness.

Symptoms of Low Back Pain

The good thing about lower back pain is that the symptoms are usually in your face so there is no mistaking the pain for something else. Most lower back pain sufferers experience persistent pain, particularly during movements. Where the pain presents and the severity will depend on the reason for the pain and each individual person.

The sharp shooting pain commonly found among lumbar pain sufferers is yet another reason lower back pain is difficult to diagnose. While the pain is in your lower back you may feel it in your upper back or down your leg.

Some patients experience a sharp or dull pain, sometimes alternating, accompanied by a throbbing in the lower back muscles.

Of course there is always the limited range of motion found among most back pain sufferers, but due to the importance of the lower back you may experience a limited range while sitting, standing and moving. Now you see why lower back pain is such a problem.

Whether your lower back pain is mild or severe, these are the most common symptoms. If you have sciatica or were injured due to a trauma you may feel a pinching pain that radiates in all directions.

Treatment & Prevention

If you already suffer from pain in your lumbar region the main goal is to find the most effective and least intrusive treatment plan, which may include a combination of Eastern and Western medicine. Some of the most common treatments for lower back pain include:

  • Massage therapy - Massage can provide temporary relief and help prevent "knots" or trigger points from forming
  • Acupuncture and acupressure - It's not as scary as it looks, and it can help
  • Pain pill and creams (look for natural anti-inflammatory supplements not just prescription pain medicines
  • Stretching and Exercise - Beware of generic stretches, they might make your pain worse. You need to know which stretch
  • Chiropractic care - Keep in mind adjusting the spine doesn't always address why the body was out of alignment in the first place.
  • Traction, also known as spinal decompression
  • Inversion therapy -Don't worry, you don't have to hang upside down. Even a slight inversion can help
  • Surgery - This should always be a last resort, after all other non surgical options have been evaluated

Which treatments are most effective for you will depend on the cause of the pain as well as how long you have been experiencing pain.

Those who are aging or live actively may want to take preventative measure to prevent lower back pain. Prevention can take many forms, most notably focusing improving posture while sitting, standing and sleeping. Any twisting or contorting of the spine can make it vulnerable to pain or injury.

A healthier lifestyle can eliminate many of the risk factors for lower back pain, including smoking and obesity. Both of these have been linked to an increased risk in lower back pain so by eliminating them from your life, you may also be able to eliminate lumbar pain.

Exercise can help you accomplish several steps in lower back pain prevention because it has been shown to improve posture, reduce body weight and muscle strain. So the next time you consider blowing off your workout, think about being stuck on the couch-in pain-watching reality TV!

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