The Top Four Causes of Low Back Pain

Back Pain

Back Pain

There you are, going through life pain-free and doing all of the things that bring you joy in life. Playing a round of golf with your friends, running around with the grandkids, going for a bike ride with the family, or even tending to your garden.

Then unexpectedly, something feels off with your lower back.

You might even start to tell yourself that it’ll go away on its own eventually.

Many of my patients that begin to experience low back pain tell me that at first, they thought it was something simple like they had just slept in an awkward position that night. But as it worsens over time, they’re dumbfounded as to what is making them suffer from such bad back pain. There is no explanation and more often than not, people suffer from the pain longer than they should.

It’s important to know the common reasons as to why back pain occurs because, at one point or another, we will all encounter it. Having the knowledge about what causes back pain will allow you to take charge of the pain instantly so it doesn’t worsen over time.

1. Overuse

Your lower back muscles may just be aching from years of overuse.

2. Have You Suffered Back Pain in the Past?

Experiencing back pain in the past and thinking nothing of it, can cause the damage done to build up over time. It may lay low for a while and finally decide to appear at a time where you may not be as active as you used to be.

3. Do You Sit a Lot?

Sitting for a majority of the day, such as in the car or at work, can lead to bad posture. Slouching while watching T.V., sitting at your desk, or even sleeping in a funny position can all cause your back to ache.

4. Are You Left Doing All of the Housework?

Constantly bending down to clean the floor or pick up after the kids or grandkids can take a toll on the lower back. Even bending over for a long period of time to garden can cause the pain to build up until one day it becomes unbearable. Or doing laundry! Do you fold laundry on the floor or have front-loading washing machines that require you to bend and twist repeatedly to load it?

To be honest, the list can go on and on. But for the most part, the root cause of your low back pain rarely strays from the four causes I’ve listed above.

Low back pain is inevitable, but an active on-the-go lifestyle can certainly prolong and even decrease the chances of this pain surfacing, decreases the intensity of flare-ups, and even help you recover faster.

Luckily, there are techniques that can be done to reduce and even eliminate this back pain. Two exercises that I recommend to all of my back pain patients are the Pelvic Tilt and the Lacrosse Ball Stretch.

Have back pain? Click here to learn more about an at-home low back pain program.

Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt exercise helps with back pain in many ways. Its main goal is to strengthen the lower abdominal muscles and stretch the lower back, or “lumbar spine”. Now you may be thinking, “My back is in pain, why are you targeting my abdominals?”. Well, this is a great question. Strengthening the abdominal area helps to relieve the tension placed on the low back, aiding in relaxation. But just like any exercise, proper form is necessary in order to receive the maximum benefit and to avoid injury.

To perform this exercise, lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent. Try doing this either on a rug, carpet, or a towel for some extra cushioning and comfort. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and slightly bending your pelvis up. Hold for ten seconds and try performing it ten times.

Self Mobilization for Lumbar Spine

Self-mobilization allows us to loosen up the tight muscles in our lower back.

To perform this stretch, lie on the floor on your back again. If you have a lacrosse ball, great! If not, a tennis ball will work just fine. Place the ball underneath your lower back, between your back and the floor. Now begin rolling the ball in a side-to-side movement, perpendicular to the spine. Perpendicular movement is key because that’s the way the muscle fibers run. This should be a controlled movement and can be done on either side of the spine as you please. This exercise serves to release pain and tension built up in that low back, so you can do about your day without experiencing the pain. For the maximum benefit, perform this technique for two minutes on each side.

As we reach the ages of 40, 50 and most definitely 60, the extremely strong lower back that we had when we were younger clearly isn’t the same anymore. Muscle and strength loss is a normal progression of aging. But watching out for the signs and seeking help immediately will guarantee that the pain will cease quickly, so you don’t have to suffer for years to come.

Statistics show that at least 8 out of 10 people will suffer from a bad back during their lifetime. Chances are if you’ve suffered from low back pain for longer than 17 days, it isn’t going to go away on its own. Seeking help from a physical therapist instead of resting and taking painkillers will give you the permanent relief that is needed.

I have created a free report in which you’ll find 9 ways to reduce back pain without the use of painkillers:

Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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