How to Treat Lower Back Pain

Low back pain…it radiates everywhere…down your legs, up your spine. It makes it hard to sit or stand. And often, one ignores it until it is excruciating…and then there is panic of MRIs or surgery.

First, let’s take a look at everyday life and see what small things are making a big difference for your low back.

Do you sit a lot? Too much sitting causes lots of tight muscles, can shortens muscles and can create damage for life. Set an alarm on your phone to get up and walk around. Purchase a standing desk (bonus you can walk in place to get the blood flowing). Remember to adjust your monitor appropriately when going from sitting at the desk to standing at the desk.

SIT UP! Don’t recline or slouch…this compounds the tight muscles AND can add neck and shoulder stiffness. Adjust your chair and your monitor appropriately. If you work on a laptop, you may need a separate keyboard and monitor to improve your work area and your work health. AND…PUT YOUR FEET ON THE FLOOR! As much as you want to cross your legs or tuck one leg under and sit on it…DON’T…again - tight, shortened muscles!

Do you carry a phone or wallet in your back pocket? Believe it or not…the thickness of a cell phone can actually cause big problems. Just removing a wallet or cell phone takes pressure off nerves and muscles; pressure that can cause knots and tightness.

Did you know the large muscle runs from the low back around to the front of the body? It’s the Psoas…and when it gets tights, short and stick from not moving it will cause some havoc in your life. So let’s talk about some easy things you can do everyday to help keep your body moving and minimize pain in your low back (and hips).

Do you stretch??? Stretching your back and hips can make a huge difference.

Walk…if nothing else…walk 10-20 minutes a day. When you think your back is starting to tighten up…do some extra stretches and take high steps to lengthen those hip muscles.

Chiropractic, Massage and Acupuncture are all fantastic modalities to help. (And a tip…sometimes that deep tissue massage isn’t what you need…it can ‘enrage’ those muscles and make the pain and stiffness worse. So talk to your chiropractor about the best massage therapy for your current situation.

Ice?? Heat??? RULE OF THUMB: 20 minutes whichever you use. USE ICE if you aren’t going to be moving, ie. before bed. USE HEAT if you will be moving because the heat will send the blood to that area and if you aren’t moving, it will become more inflamed.

Troy Allam

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