Lower back pain is one of the most common and serious pains in our life, especially when you are not young anymore. This problem can be caused by many different reasons. However, no matter what the reason is, once you have lower back pain, it will be very difficult for you to shake your body.
Here are some symptoms you may have if it is lower back pain:
- Difficulty in moving, especially while walking or standing;
- Pain which moves around to the buttock, groin, or upper thigh;
- Local soreness upon touch;
- Severe muscle spasms;
- Achy and dull pain.
But remember that, it is not just about your painful lower back, in fact, it may result in many other serious problems related to muscles, spine and even nerves. Therefore, if you don’t take this into consideration now, then one day, you will have to pay for it.
Causes of lower back pain
In general, overuse injuries are a very common source of the pain and stiffness in your lower back but this will be gone after a few days. In fact, there are many different causes including:
- Disc tear
- Degenerative Discs and Herniated Disc: you can’t avoid this because with age, these cushioning discs steadily shrink and wear away. Sometimes, the wakening of a disc can put pressure on your nerves which extends down the spinal column, causing Sciatica.
- Spondylolisthesis: Normal tear and wear makes it hard for your ligaments and joints to keep your spine in the right position, especially as we are old. If your vertebrae moves more than necessary, it will probably slide forward and then on top of another. Thus, your bones can press on the spinal nerves and then cause severe lower back pain.
- Vertebral fractures: This can originate from osteoporosis (brittle bones).
- Spinal stenosis. A narrowing of spine space around your spinal cord can completely put pressure on the nerves. This narrowing is commonly caused by bone spurs which have developed because of osteoarthritis.
- Scoliosis. This is an abnormal curvature of the spine causing your lower back pain.
Lower back treatments
Overall, once you have lower back pain, don’t be reckless because it can even relate to your own life. Therefore, if you notice that something goes wrong with your back, just call your doctor, especially when:
- The pain is severe and it doesn’t go away after a couple of days or it hurts even when you are at rest as well as lying down in bed.
- You lose control over your bladder or bowels.
- You feel the numbness or weakness in your legs, or you have serious trouble walking and even standing.
However, when the pain is not really severe, you can totally relieve it by many different methods. The followings are some for you:
1. Give your body a rest
Once you feel the lower back pain, just rest for a few days. In details, ceasing activity for a period of time can allow injured tissue and even nerve roots to start to heal. Thus, this can in turn help relieve your lower back pain.
But you should know that if you take too much rest, it can lead to a weakening of your muscles so the muscles have to struggle so as to support your spine. That’s the reason why people who don’t exercise regularly are more likely to suffer prolonged or recurrent lower back pain.
2. Chill the painful area
Generally, ice can be the best choice for you in the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury. This is because ice can easily reduce inflammation. Even though the warmth can also feel good when it can help cover up the pain and relax your muscles, the heat can actually stimulate the inflammatory processes.
However, after 48 hours, you can use heat if you want. In addition, whether you use ice or heat, just take it off after about 20 minutes in order to give your skin a rest.
3. Do some exercises
No matter painful you feel, you should do some exercises because this is a key element of almost any treatment plan when it comes to back pain. Usually, an exercise program should be developed and taught by a yoga or spine health professional like a physical therapist, physiatrist, or chiropractor.
The necessary exercises for your lower back pain commonly include 3 components as follows: stretching, aerobic conditioning, and strengthening. These exercises proved to be the best for people at all ages, especially for the elders.
If you do these exercises frequently, you can completely build a stronger and more flexible spine. However, when you are at work and don’t have enough time for exercises, just don’t sit slumped at your desk chair the entire time. Instead, get up 20 minutes and stretch backward sometimes. Stretch your legs as well in order to relieve your pain to some extents.
Here are some common exercises for you.
Bottom to heels stretch
Submit to the needles
While you are suffering the lower back pain, acupuncture may give you even more relief than painkillers. These needles are able to change the way your nerves react as well as reduce inflammation around your joints.
4. Think positively
Of course, the pain is not in your head but what you think can be making it even worse. Fear, catastrophizing and anxiety can totally amplify your pain. This is because brain circuits which are involved with emotions and panic can turn it into an actual pain.
Therefore, a cognitive- behavioral therapy can help you recognize and then reframe the negative thoughts. Just try to think on the bright side no matter how bad you think it is.
5. Try a new sleep position
When you have lower back pain, you have to care about your postures, especially while working. You need to design your workspace so you don’t have to hunch forward to the computer or reach way out for the mouse.
But what about your sleep at night, is it still comfortable when you have a lower back pain. If not, you should make several modifications to your regular sleep position so as to take a load off your lower back:
- If you are a stomach sleeper: Place a pillow under your lower pelvis and abdomen to help ease back strain.
- If you area side sleeper: Draw your legs up slightly toward your chest and place a full body pillow between your knees.
- If you are a back sleeper: Put a pillow under your knees in order to allow your spine to maintain its natural contour.
6. Choose the right mattress
In fact, this is one of the most important factors which can determine how comfortable you may feel when you have lower back pain. There are some general rules of thumb for you to choose a good mattress:
Most people prefer a firm mattress because they think it can give the spine more support. However, this is not completely true for everyone. In fact, if the mattress is too hard, it can cause more aches and pains in pressure points like hips. In this case, it is really bad for anyone who has inflammation of the bursa over the hips.
In short, just remember that a good mattress should offer great support for the spine at all points along the spine’s nature contour). It should also keep your spine in the same body position as standard standing posture.
Thus, although a firm mattress can give more support, it is not absolutely necessary. For examples, if you feel more comfortable with a soft mattress or even a waterbed, then go for it.
7. Take a pill ( the last choice)
If the pain still disturbs you even after you’ve tried all the treatments, then just pop a pill. In this case, a non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin ) can help you ease the your pain effectively. However, it is obvious that using NSAIDS for a long period can result in gastrointestinal problems, therefore, don’t take them for more than ten days without consulting the doctor.