Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints in today’s day and age.
Poor posture, sleeping wrong, or even just an odd movement are often what leads to that hard-to-explain burning feeling at the bottom of your spine.
It should be pointed out that this musculoskeletal condition affects young people just as much as older adults, both people who have a sedentary lifestyle and athletes. It doesn’t discriminate.
We often forget how delicate this perfect structure that supports our spinal column is. This group of vertebrae, discs, nerves, ligaments, and joints that together form the fundamental pillar of our movements is an extremely complex part of our body.
If you’ve ever had lower back pain, you certainly know what we’re talking about.
Let’s learn about the most common causes of this pain and how we can fight them.
Lower back pain: the most common causes
1. Pulled muscle
Imagine you’re sitting at your desk and you quickly turn around, twisting your back and torso.
You do it so abruptly that you instantly feel a hot, shooting pain in your lower back area. Later, when you get up, the pain intensifies so much that it radiates down your leg and around your waist.
Muscle pulls can happen when resting or moving after a sudden movement or blow.
Symptoms can include anything from muscle spasms to complete inability to move. A pulled muscle can also affect the inflamed area’s tendons and ligaments.
How to treat a pulled muscle
- When you feel the “pull,” apply ice right away. Later, alternate between heat and ice.
- Rest for 24 hours. After this time, you can start different gentle exercises to recover mobility.
- Gels and natural treatments with arnica are wonderful for these cases, since they’re a great anti-inflammatory.
2. Prolapsed or herniated disc
Intervertebral discs are small liquid-filled sacs that act as a “cushion” between the vertebrae, softening your movements.
If you have a prolapsed disc due to a blow or moving wrong, you’ll not only feel pain but also tingling, cramps, and a small bump on your back. The pain will be more intense in the morning.
Slipped discs are common among athletes.
How to treat a herniated disc
In order to treat a herniated disc, you’ll need a proper medical diagnosis, since sometimes the injury can be serious and require surgical intervention.
If that’s the case, rehab and the help of a good physical therapist will be essential.
3. Repetitive stress injury
Always working in the same position or doing hard physical work that involves back movement will take its toll.
Any repetitive pattern of movement, like turning your torso to the right, can result in compressed or inflamed spinal structures.
Eventually, it will give way to a debilitating injury.
How to treat repetitive stress injuries
There are several ways to treat these injuries. These include:
- Yoga or swimming
- Corrective or compression back belts
- Watching your posture
4. Degenerative joint diseases
As you get older, your intervertebral discs get thinner and your joints compress.
As for cartilage, it loses elasticity, becomes rigid, and eventually gives way to the feared osteoarthritis.
Genetic factors, obesity, or past injuries can result in the slow progress of this disease.
How to treat degenerative diseases
We should make clear, first of all, that this type of degenerative disease is not curable: it can’t be reversed.
What you can do, though, is control the symptoms to reduce pain and thus enjoy a better quality of life.
Here is some advice:
- Stay active. Inactivity makes joints stiffer, and sitting for long periods of time compresses your intervertebral discs even more. Go for a walk or exercise every day. There are some great exercises out there to relieve back pain, like “Chi Kung.” This is a Chinese exercise that combines certain physical positions with breathing techniques.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods such as those rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
- Do stretching exercises every morning when you get up.
- Ask your doctor if vitamin D and magnesium supplements might help. These are very good at strengthening your bones and joints.
No matter what, it’s important to remember that lower back pain needs medical care and proper attention.
We recommend trying all kinds of therapy, including medication as well as physical activity. Meanwhile, always remember to eat well and watch your posture.
Anything you do for your spine will mean better health and well being.