Why do I have lower back pain, and what can I do?
Why you are experiencing lower back pain
The roots of lower back pain are many and far-reaching. Plus, in your specific situation, there may be more than one cause of your pain. And regardless of whether or not you live an active or sedentary lifestyle, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact root of your pain. On a biological level, the most common cause of lower back pain is a torn or pulled muscle or ligament.
So what did you do to cause this? Even if you’ve been lifting with your knees and trying to exercise good posture, you can still risk hurting yourself through other seemingly menial activities. Some of these include:
- Driving. Unfortunately, your commute just got a little more painful. Long traffic stops or lines of cars can cause us to slump discontentedly in our seats. This puts undue stress on your lower back.
- Sleeping. That’s right, no rest for the wicked. We hear all the time about proper sleeping positions — so how can you control your posture when you’re fast asleep? We’ll get to that further down.
- Brushing your teeth. This may cause you to perform a rather minty spit take. But face it, nobody wants to run the risk of dribbling toothpaste down your front. So what do we do? Of course, you bend, even slightly, over the sink. After a couple minutes of that, you’re paving the way for lower back pain.
- Sitting at your desk. One thing you may not know about your job is that you are getting paid to destroy your lower back. Unless you do it properly; keep your back and neck as straight as you can. If it’s available, a standing desk is an invaluable asset to your bypassing lower back pain at work. Regardless, make sure you’re up and moving around often.
- Your diet. What you eat can affect your lower back in a different way. You want to avoid eating too much food that causes inflammation, as this can lead not only to lower back pain but also joint pain. Some of these include red meat, white bread, alcohol, and sugary beverages.
Learn about more of these activities from Prospira Paincare. Keep in mind that there is a virtually limitless number of activities that may lead to a lower back injury. These injuries may include damage to intervertebral discs, compression of nerve roots, or malfunctioning spinal joints. We invite you to take a hard look at some of your body’s routine movements (or lack thereof) and consult a professional about how you can correct them.
What you can do about your lower back pain
Generally, “chronic back pain” is characterized by three or more months of continuous pain. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait that long before doing something about your lower back pain.
Sometimes, “tweaking” your back can resolve after a few days or weeks of taking it easy and being mindful of how you use your back. Other times, however, you may have caused longer-lasting damage that may lead to chronic pain.
Here are some ways you can help reduce lower back pain before seeking treatment. The activities may sound familiar to you:
- Driving. There are a few different things you can do here. Just as you would when standing or walking, pay close attention to your posture while you’re driving. Sit with your back completely against the seat (this may mean scooting your seat forward), or invest in a driving pillow. Both of these practices lend support to your lower back and make your commute that much better for you. Also, don’t think caffeine will do you any favors in helping you stay alert. As we’ve mentioned before, that in and of itself can cause lower back pain.
- Sleeping. The key to a healthy night of sleep for your back is allowing your spine to maintain its natural curvature. The best sleeping position is on your back, and if you throw a pillow under your knees you’ll be the better for it. If you have a hard time sleeping on your back, however, there are other positions that are easy on your spine. Check out these other sleeping positions that are good for lower back pain.
- Brushing your teeth. You need to brush your teeth, but you also don’t want to put undue stress on your back. So what do you do? This one has one of the simpler solutions — don’t bend over the sink when you brush your teeth. Just be careful and you won’t have to change your shirt. Men, if you need to lean close to the mirror to get a good shave, don’t hold the position for too long. Make the stroke, stand up straight, lean in and repeat. The key is to not hold your back in that awkward position for too long.
- Sitting at your desk. We’ve already offered a few solutions for this necessary aspect of the job for many of us. Sit up straight in your chair and make sure you get up and move around every so often. If it’s available, a standing desk can be an invaluable ally. You may have heard the saying “sitting is the new smoking”. It definitely can have detrimental effects on your lower back as well as other parts of your body. And smoking is also bad for your lower back, so don’t do that either.
- Your diet. Choose foods that will help reduce inflammation and you are well on your way to the tastiest solution to lower back pain. These include fish, nuts, green and cruciferous vegetables, and dark-colored fruits. As we mentioned earlier, avoid consuming too much red meat, sugary foods, pasta, or other processed foods.
How you can defeat lower back pain once and for all
Unfortunately, studies indicate the 8 out of 10 Americans will experience lower back pain during their life. However, if you can identify what the root cause of your pain is, you are that much closer to eliminating it.
If you are experiencing chronic lower back pain, some of these simple remedies may be too little too late. We recommend you speak to one of our professionals at Allied Health Care to determine what your options are and together we can get you back on track. As a dedicated chiropractor in Idaho Falls, Dr. Aaron Nelson will work with you and your budget to get rid of your chronic back pain once and for all.
Contact Allied Health Care today for a consultation and we can get you started. In the meantime, check your habits and start making some changes!