Lower back pain is one of the most common ailments known to mankind â€“ and for good reason. Today exercise takes a back seat with desk jobs, poor posture, and a sedentary lifestyle creating a combination that is quite harmful for the spine and its surrounding muscles.
At any given time in one’s life, almost everyone has experienced Lower Back Pain. Out of this more than 50% are persons who suffer from Chronic Back Pain. In India, approximately 1 Billion USD is spent on treating back pain. The figure would be higher if more and more people actually came for treatment.
The lower back is the region around the lumbar vertebrae, from the first lumbar vertebra to the 1st sacral vertebra, which creates what is called the lordotic curve. Pain is commonly experienced around the 4th and 5th lumbar segment.
Why it occurs:
The spine consists of 24 vertebrae, separated by fibrous, gelatinous disks. The spine is shaped in the form of an S. Bad posture bends the spine out of this shape, and also may have the spine aligned correctly, causing injury over time. The lumbar spine absorbs the most stress of all regions of the back, as it handles all the weight of the upper body as you move throughout the day. Most people take it for granted and end up abusing the lumbar region unknowingly.
Sudden physical injury, obviously, can also be a cause of lower back pain. These injuries often occur when heavy objects are lifted using the wrong technique. This can cause ligament sprains, and strained muscles, which are commonly the cause of lower back pain.
Stress is also a big contributing factor to lower back pain. It upsets the nervous system, which can result in muscle spasms. Managing stress is the key, as the discomfort of lower back pain can increase stress as well. Age can be a factor too, with the inter vertebral disks slowly losing their shock absorbing properties.
Exercise is widely accepted as the necessary for the healing of the affected area, and it is well known to both alleviate and prevent pain in the region. The healing process can be hampered by normal activities, so pain from even minor problems can persist for months.
Exercise helps to:
- Decrease pain
- Alleviate stress on the spine
- Prevent injury
- Improve muscle strength, posture, and mobility
There are mainly three kinds of exercise:
- Stretching exercises help mobilize a stiff spine and the surrounding soft tissue, helping with accumulated stiffness. The process can take weeks but it is very effective.
- Strengthening is helpful in prevention of further injury and is needed for long term recovery.
- Aerobic conditioning exercises keep you aerobically fit, which helps when trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.
It is very important to have a trained instructor while learning and performing these exercises, to ensure correct form and technique, and to also avoid injury. It is preferable to see a trained and licensed physical therapist or occupational therapist to get the best exercise program for your specific needs.
Lower back pain is experienced by people from different genders, lifestyles, and backgrounds. It is not a problem by itself – it is a symptom of an unhealthy lifestyle, which must be addressed in its entirety. Once you understand this, and begin taking steps to improve your overall health, low back pain and many other problems, will start to disappear.