At the best of times, back pain is uncomfortable. At worst it is debilitating, and makes even simple movement either excruciating or just impossible. This pain occurs more often than not in the lower back, and is caused by a number of factors that are prevalent in our culture. These include poor postural habits, both sitting and standing, as well as stresses caused by heavy lifting or by lifting incorrectly. In times past, people with recurrent problems usually had no choice but to seek help from doctors or chiropractors. But nowadays, self-treatment of lower back pain is quite often lasting and effective.
Back pain occurs when overstretching has hurt the ligaments and other soft tissues around the spine. The major cause of this kind of overstretching is bad posture. When we’re in a proper standing position, there’s an inward curve, or hollow, that forms in the small of the back just above the pelvis. This is called the lumbar lordosis. Anytime we’re in a position where this inward curve is lost – i.e., when the lower back is rounded when we bend forward – we’re putting strain on the ligaments of our lower back. If this happens consistently enough, recurring problems can develop.
Many of the stretches that have been designed to address lower back pain operate from the premise that if bending forward has been the cause of overstretching, then bending backward will help to restore equilibrium. The lordosis has to be slowly restored to its normal shape and position. This is accomplished through various kinds of extensions. The simplest can be performed lying facedown and flat, with your arms beside your legs and your head turned to one side. Allow your lower back to completely relax. From this position, you can then go into an extension by pulling your elbows up so that they’re beneath your shoulders and you’re propped up on your forearms. Hold this position for two or three minutes, consciously easing your back as much as you can.
There’s another good exercise that begins from the same position. This time, move your hands under your shoulders as if you’re preparing to do a push-up. In fact, you essentially will do a push-up, but only with the top half of your body. Leave your pelvis, hips and legs hanging, and preferably still in contact with the floor. Hold the extended position for a couple of seconds and then lower yourself back to your starting place. Raise your upper body as high as you can with each repetition, and let your lower body really sag. This same essential movement can also be done in a standing position. Stand with your feet slightly apart, and support your lower back with your hands. Keeping your knees straight, bend backward at the waist – as far as is comfortable. For all these exercises, going into the pain a little is helpful. This last exercise is a good one to do when your lower back pain has subsided and you’re looking to prevent recurrences.
All of these exercises should be done for six to eight sessions (roughly every two hours) throughout the day. Practiced faithfully, they can really help to alleviate lower back pain and even vanquish it entirely. There are certain extreme cases that you should not try to treat yourself, however. These include back pain that is the result of a recent accident, that is accompanied by symptoms of illness, or that produces severe pain that extends even to the legs below the knees. If you suffer in any of these ways, you should seek treatment rather than try to remedy the problem yourself.
Cinergy Health & Life Insurance Agency is dedicated to providing quality health and life insurance plans for people in a variety of life situations. For more information on a selection of health and insurance topics, visit the Cinergy Health & Life Learning Center at http://www.cinergyhealth.com .
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