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A Comprehensive Guide to Low Back Pain

Another busy morning at work is drawing to a close, during which you were sitting scrunched down in your office chair, hot cup of java in hand, while going over some client figures on your PC’s screen.  Now it’s time for a well-deserved lunch break, but as you rise up your lower back hesitates, as you experience tightness and an achy sensation coming from your back’s lumbar region.

The soreness and muscle fatigue, manifestations of low back pain, seem to be happening more frequently at the office, and now even while you’re at home or in the car.  Several years ago, you were involved in a head-on auto accident which left you with persistent lower back pain, a reminder that has decided to pay you a visit again today.  Your doctor told you not to feel like an outcast because of your problematic back, as she mentioned that about 31 million of us suffer from low back pain every year.  And, our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, combined with poor posture habits, are not making the situation any better.

WebMD points out that around 80% of the adult population will suffer from low back pain at one time or another.  Additionally, WebMD has identified many underlying conditions, lifestyle choices, and the symptoms themselves that, when combined, tell the whole back pain story.  What’s encouraging is that clinicians are coming to understand back pain’s pathophysiology more and more each day, and that a number of better low back pain prevention and treatment modalities now exist.  To understand how back pain comes about, it’s important to learn first how our back works, a topic we’ll now explore.

Your Back is an Amazing Structure

The human back, comprised of muscles and ligaments, carries out many roles.  For one, there are over 200 muscles in our backs, 120 of which serve to support our spines.  Muscles and ligaments in your back make up what’s called your body’s “core”, the area extending from the neck to our thighs.  Our back’s muscles are involved in breathing, as well as providing us the strength to lift objects, walk around and stand upright.  They also act as a protective shell for our ribs, internal organs, and spinal column.  In addition, and for medical purposes, our backs are separated into 3 regions; upper, middle and lower.

A Comprehensive Guide to Low Back Pain

When you start to experience pain signals emanating from any of those areas, for the sake of this article your lower back, there’s a good reason.  Low back pain can be separated into 2 categories: acute or chronic.  The former term refers to a temporary condition, one brought on by such activities as golf, working in the yard for hours, or lifting a heavy object incorrectly.  Acute low back pain usually goes away with rest, combined with using heat or cold on the area.  Chronic low back pain, however, will continue to flare up from time-to-time, and is due to one or more serious underlying conditions, of which we will explore more in a moment.  Moving forward, this article’s focus will primarily be on the chronic variety.

These Conditions Lead to Chronic Low Back Pain 

According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, there are several predisposing factors that can cause low back pain, such as:

  • Back trauma in the patient’s past including a car accident
  • Osteoarthritis or other “age-related” conditions
  • Back surgery
  • A herniated disc
  • Some type of serious illness that affects a person’s back
  • Poor posture

A Comprehensive Guide to Low Back Pain

In fact, back pain specialists agree that the main concern that most of us have in today’s world, related to eventually developing low back pain issues, is the last bullet point; poor posture.  And, we will address that pain precursor in more detail later.  Next, let’s investigate whether or not you might have low back pain based upon its symptoms.

Symptoms that You May Have Low Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the easiest diagnoses that a medical professional will have, simply because most of the symptoms are self-explanatory.  Having said that, here are some of the more common ones:

  • Persistent tightness and aching in your lower back area
  • Sharp pains- even a burning sensation- coming from the lumbar region
  • A feeling of being tired or fatigued
  • Trouble sleeping because your back can’t get positioned comfortably
  • Muscle soreness and tenderness in the lumbar region

These factors obviously are going to be life-altering, and can ultimately and negatively impact your job, family and social activities.  There are personal lifestyle choices that also can exacerbate low back pain, so let’s take a look at some of those now.

Low Back Pain Thrives On these Activities 

Back pain experts have found a correlation between certain lifestyle decisions and a greater likelihood of you suffering from more frequent and pronounced back pain episodes.  In other words, the following activities need to be avoided if you want a happier, healthier back:

  • Smoking tobacco
  • Not eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Using too much caffeine
  • Not getting at least 7 hours of sleep every day
  • Failing to exercise regularly or stretch
  • Being overweight or even obese
  • Drinking alcohol to excess and especially right before bedtime
  • Having a stressful occupation or home life
  • Persistent strenuous activities and heavy lifting or twisting

A Comprehensive Guide to Low Back Pain

So, if you have been diagnosed with low back pain, and are guilty of one or more of the activities listed above, proceed with caution!  If you continue down the same path, your back’s health will probably not improve much, but conversely could become a more costly issue later on.

Good Overall Back Health Requires these Things 

Okay, we’ve spent enough space dwelling on the negative aspects of low back pain.  So, now it’s time to turn those back pain problems around.  In reality, and as was mentioned above, there are a plethora of things you can do to help reduce low back pain episodes and symptom severity.  Here are some of the better ones:

  1. Exercise your core muscle groups: This will build up your trunk’s muscle tissues, giving them an enhanced ability to support your spine while keeping it naturally aligned. Exercise also helps you take in more oxygen, relieve stress, and sleep better at night.  Two really enjoyable and popular means of exercise which also benefit your lower back muscles are Yoga and Pilates.
  2. Get enough sleep: As was aforementioned, sleeping for 7 to 9 hours every day gives your back valuable healing time, recharges your body and mind’s “battery”, and helps you to feel more energized throughout the day.
  3. Eat right, feel right: Proper nutrition is important for our bodies, and when attempting to ward off low back pain flare-ups, there are certain back-healthy nutrients that make this more effectively happen. Those include certain vitamins and minerals, and when you eat a more balanced diet, your back will enjoy it too.
  4. Stretch away your back pain: Stretching is good for all parts of our bodies, including back muscles predisposed to getting tight and tense.  In addition, back-focused stretches improve core flexibility, which further makes your lower back more resistant to future overworking and injury.
  5. Use good posture: As was mentioned earlier, incorrect and unnatural posture can eventually cause a number of deleterious back pain outcomes. Proper posture allows for better oxygen intake and blood circulation, the latter which helps get healing and natural pain reliever substances like serotonin and endorphins out to your injured tissues, and where they need to be.

All of the positive factors above help reduce the odds that you will suffer from a back pain episode, while also speeding up the healing process if a flare-up does occur.  Good posture is so important within an overall back healthy program, and that means sitting or standing with your spine in its natural upright position, with your shoulders back and chest up and out, along with your chin also being positioned up and out.  It will feel a little awkward at first, but once you get it right, you will be well on your way to a happier, healthier lower back!

Your Back will Love the Lumo Lift Posture Coach

 Being cognizant of when your posture is poor, as opposed to when it is correct, is an issue, and especially when our lives are so busy.  To make this an easier process, the low back pain specialists at Lumo Bodytech have come up with a revolutionary technology called the Lumo Lift Posture Coach.  It’s an innovative system developed using insight from back health experts around the country.  The Posture Coach starts with a wearable sensor, about the size of a lapel pin, that you place on your clothing.  The device continuously picks up posture-related information, even at night, and transmits the data to a downloadable app. for any iOS or Android Smart device.

When you have time later, the data can be viewed and analyzed, giving you a clear picture of how good or bad your posture has been throughout the day.  Oh, and the Posture Coach even uses a gentle vibration to alert you when you are slouching.  It’s an easy and inexpensive way to constantly monitor your posture, and ultimately help you reduce your low back pain issues.  In fact, for those of us that work at Lumo Bodytech, our goal is a back pain free world, one person at a time!  For more information on low back pain, or the Lumo Lift Posture Coach, go to: www.lumobodytech.com today.

Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift

Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.

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How Lumo Founder Andrew Chang Beat Back Pain

Chronic back pain is far too common in our modern lives, and nobody knows this better than Lumo co-founder Andrew Chang. Andrew leveraged his Stanford education into a very successful career with the US Department of Energy. He became fascinated by using technology to drive human optimization.

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10 Easy Ways to Manage Lower Back Pain at Home

Imagine several years ago you were involved in a serious car accident, during which time your back was injured, resulting in the need for some medical intervention.  Recently, and due to the lingering effects of the wreck, your family doctor suggested that you may have some osteoarthritis in your spine.  To top it all off, your office job requires a lot of sitting during the day, which frequently leads to episodes of lower back pain flare-ups.  Those onsets usually present with soreness, tightness, and occasionally down right sharp pains targeting your susceptible lower back muscles.

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10 Fast Facts about Middle Back Pain

You spent several hours today at the office moving some heavy boxes of client files, a process that required a lot of bending and twisting.  The middle portion of your back, injured a few years ago in an automobile accident, is now paying the price.  It seems tight, stiff and achy, and you can even feel a slight burning sensation when you twist to the left or to the right.  Something has to be done for your middle back pain issues, as it’s already cost you time off from your job, at which you typically sit for hours every day while tasking away at your desk.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Preventing and Correcting Forward Head Posture

Another busy workday at the office is drawing to a close.  You’ve spent the past 3 hours hunched over in front of your desk, leaning in and squinting intently at figures on your computer screen.  As you get up from your chair, a sharp pain radiates from the base of your skull, down through your neck, and on into your arms.  Your left hand feels a bit numb and as you stand up you notice a dull ache and tightness in your neck muscles.  Now that you’ve disengaged your gaze from the computer screen, you realize that a headache has come on; something that you’ve dealt with more frequently nowadays.

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A Complete Guide to Fixing Your Posture

During a typical work day, for example, if your job is in an office setting and you spend countless hours seated while squinting at a computer screen, most of us unknowingly experience poor posture.  What exactly does that look like?  Well, incorrect posture manifests when we slouch, with our chin pointed down, shoulders and upper back rounded forward, and our spines scrunched.  As a result, there are many undesirable physical, social and even emotional outcomes that can result from using poor posture.

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10 Fast Facts about Lower Back Pain

The human back is an amazing structure, designed to support our spines in a natural, upright position.  When we put undue stress upon its muscles, especially in the lower back area, pain eventually will manifest as a warning signal that our body is injured.  For example, when you sit, or more typically slouch, for countless hours in front of your work desk, day in and day out, bad physical outcomes will probably result, including lower back pain.  Additionally, a traumatic spinal injury in your past, such as a serious car accident, predisposes you to be more vulnerable to lower back pain, while placing you at a higher risk to suffer from its effects.

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How Poor Posture Can Aggravate Back Pain

If someone studying back pain were to covertly take some snapshots of most of us during an average day, they would reveal some alarming information about how we abuse our backs.  Those incriminating photos would show us slouched over our work stations, scrunched up in our vehicles, or hunched over peering at our smart device screens.  In other words, we are quietly and figuratively “killing” our spines slowly with poor posture, and in the sordid process both facilitating the onset, while intensifying the severity, of our resulting back pain flare-ups.

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6 Commonly Overlooked Remedies for Back Pain

 You’ve been hunched over your crowded work desk for the past few hours, intently crunching numbers as you type up the latest quarterly report for your boss.  Your persistent back pain, resulting from a serious auto accident 10 years ago, has reemerged, and is reminding you of that fact via muscle aching and throbbing.  When you finally stand up to take a well-deserved break, the poor posture that your body has been locked in for half the day refuses to respond.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Sleeping with Lower Back Pain

Over the course of the past several days, the invigorating experience of a good night’s sleep has escaped your grasp, interrupted by the reemergence of your chronic lower back pain.  And no matter how you’ve tossed and turned, trying to get positioned comfortably upon your worn out mattress, the nagging pain and discomfort have kept you awake.  If lower back pain has been keeping you up at night, take heart, as you are not alone.

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Hack Your Fitness: Lumo Run Helps Improve Your Running Form And Push Harder

Article originally posted on Forbes.com. Read original here.


The funny thing about runners is that we all think we have fine form until we snap an IT band or strain a tendon. And even then, we blame it on “going too fast” or “pushing too hard” rather than on poor run mechanics.

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6 Exercises to Beat IT Band Syndrome

The IT band is the ligament that runs down the outside of the leg, from the hip to the knee. IT band syndrome is one of the most common running injuries. Often due to overuse, it results in an irritated and inflamed IT band which can make running difficult. Stretches and icing of the IT band can help relieve some of the associated pain. However, many runners find that as soon as they continue their running routine the condition comes right back.

Symptoms often include pain located on the outside of the knee. This is often an indicator of misaligned femur movement pattern. How do we fix this? Exercises that target glute strengthening and pelvis alignment can be great combaters for IT band syndrome. The following offers 6 exercises you can do to help get you back on track and counteract that annoying IT band syndrome that just won’t quit.

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3 Exercises To Help You Achieve (Near) Perfect Running Form

Good running form helps prevent injuries from occurring. The body is made a certain way. Good posture often refers to the sitting or standing form where the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are under the least amount of strain. The same thing goes for running form. Improper technique can stress the joints and muscles, eventually causing pain and injury. Thus, it is of utmost importance to maintain good form, especially on those long runs!

There are exercises that can be done off the track that can strengthen and prepare your body to maintain good form when running. They can make you more aware of your body. They can further make your running form more efficient. Why strain muscles or overwork muscles that you don’t have to? Completing the following 3 exercises, 3 times a week may help you achieve near perfect running form.

The Seated Row

Why include an exercise for the upper body? Often runners neglect upper body exercises and opt for leg strengthening workouts. It, of course, makes sense. Strengthening and stretching of the hips and legs are important to creating a more efficient stride. However, many runners forget that good posture throughout a run is just as important. The seated row works the middle and lower trapezius muscles strengthening, often neglected, postural muscles. It keeps your spine aligned properly and prevents that improper forward hunch and forward head posture.

How To:

  1. Sit on the mat, with your legs straight in front.
  2. Wrap a resistance band around the bottoms of your feet. Hold the ends of the band in each hand with your arms straight to start.
  3. Slowly bend the elbows back along the sides of your body.
  4. At the same time, gently pinch the shoulder blades down and in.
  5. Slowly return to start and repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Do not shrug the shoulders.
  • Gently contract the core to protect the low back and prevent arching of the back.
  • If sitting on the floor is difficult, sitting in a chair with the band wrapped around a post is also an option.

High Knees

The high knees drill targets the hips, glutes, and thighs, which are all major muscles used in running. Strengthening these muscles can add power and efficiency to your running form.

How To:

  1. Stand with your feet approximately hip-width apart.
  2. Bend one knee and lift it up in front of you. Your thigh should create a 90-degree angle with the trunk of your body.
  3. Lower the leg forward and alternate sides.
  4. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Maintain a straight posture by gently contracting the core.
  • The high knee exercise can be done as a separate exercise or as a warm up prior to other exercises.

 

Chin Tucks

This exercise goes hand in hand with the seated row in preventing incorrect forward hunch or forward head posture. Chin tucks target the deep neck flexor muscles in the front of the neck. They help keep the head in line with the rest of the spine.

How To:

  1. Lie face up on a bed or mat.
  2. Without lifting the head off the mat or bed, gently nod your head.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks

  • A rolled towel can be placed behind the neck for support.
  • The muscles on the side of your neck, such as the sternocleidomastoid, should be relaxed throughout the exercise.

Exercises that support good running form may prevent future injuries from occurring.  Injuries can disrupt training and put your running goals on the back burner. The 3 exercises described above may aid in improving your running form and even your posture in day-to-day activities. Remember, your work off the track is just as important as your work on the track!

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5 Essential Strength Training Exercises for Proper Running Form

Strength training is an important aspect to include in your regular workout routine. As a runner, many believe the more running the better. However, regular strength training is significant in injury prevention. Balance is key. Strengthening the muscles involved in running can support joints prone to injury from overuse. Incorporating 2-3 strengthening days a week to coincide with 2-3 running days is an effective and efficient way to improve your running form and reduce the risk of injury.

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3 Injuries That Could Be Causing Your Hip Flexor Pain

Hip flexor pain is often an injury that is hard to ignore. Our hip flexors, which lie at the front of the hip, are used in just about every movement that involves the lower half of the body. When you have hip flexor pain you feel it anytime you bend, kick, sit, run, or change directions while moving.

Typically, there are three types of injuries which result in pain to this area of the body: overuse injuries, muscle tears, and direct hits. If you are feeling hip flexor pain, consider the likelihood that one of these reasons may be the cause.

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How To Integrate Cross-Training Into Your Running Workouts

You’ve likely heard about the importance of cross-training. Greater speed, improved endurance, and reduced risk of injury are some of the frequently-touted benefits of adding cross-training into your running workouts.

But it can be overwhelming to decide which cross-training activity to add to your existing running workouts. Then there’s the time factor – between running, work, family, and friends, it can be a challenge to do it all.

Fortunately, there are a few forms of cross-training that provide maximum results with minimal time. The following activities, when strategically added to existing running workouts, will help you get stronger, improve your speed, and reduce your risk of getting injured.

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6 Resistance Band Exercises to Prevent Running Injuries

In the past few decades, running has gained speed as a popular cardio choice. Fun runs, such as foam runs, color runs, and mud runs, have made it accessible and inclusive to all. It is a great option for anyone just starting out or wanting to get back in shape. No gym equipment or membership required. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and workout clothes, and you are good to go.

However, running injuries can be discouraging, to say the least. Poor running form, muscle imbalances, or improper running shoes can all be factors contributing to an injury. Luckily, they are all completely in your control. Correct improper posture. Educate yourself and shop around for a pair of running shoes that are suited for your feet and gait. As for muscle imbalances, various resistance band exercises may reduce the risk of running injuries. The following exercises target major problem areas that may lead to injuries. By strengthening certain muscles, you may further become a more efficient and stronger runner. Always be sure to do a proper warm-up and cool down involving appropriate stretches before and after your run.

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7 Yoga Poses for Race Recovery

Running can take a toll on the body. The repetitive motion has a huge impact on our joints and muscles. It is, thus, vital to take the time after that big race to recover. Taking the necessary time to stretch and cool down may prevent running injuries, increase flexibility, and allow time for your body to return to a balanced state. Yoga is a combination of gentle static stretches and strengthening that may further support race recovery. Including these 7 yoga poses in your post-race flow can stretch out those tight muscles, improve your running form via postural correction and core activation, and reduce the risk of running injuries.

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5 Easy Ways to Prevent Hip Flexor Pain

Hip flexor injuries are common running injuries often attributed to overuse. The hip flexor muscles bring the thigh forward and up, a repetitive motion seen in running. Tight hips can cause postural deficits that may, in turn, affect running form and may cause running injuries. If the hip flexors are tight, the pelvis may rotate toward the front. This position may arch the lower back causing, even more, issues to arise.

However, hip flexor pain and injuries are highly preventable. Taking the necessary precautions may reduce the risk of the hip flexors becoming problematic. Targeted strengthening and stretching exercises, a proper warm up, and education on the topic may aid in keeping your running training plan on track.  The following outlines 5 ways to prevent common hip flexor pain, starting today.

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5 Static Stretches for After Your Run

A cool down post-run is just as important as a warm-up prior to your workout. Including a proper warm-up and cool down into your running routine may decrease the risk of running injuries. A warm up increases blood flow to the muscles and increases your heart rate. It is often recommended to include dynamic stretches into a warm-up. Dynamic stretches may enhance your running form by engaging major muscles of the core, hips, and legs.

A cool down, on the other hand, slowly brings your heart rate back down and may decrease post-run muscle soreness later on.  Incorporating static stretches, such as the following outlined below, into your cool down routine may further increase your flexibility and provide varying degrees of relief.

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