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.
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
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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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