Five Natural Ways to Help Prevent, Deal with Back Pain


By Jerry Del Priore

Prevent Lower Back PainOh, my achy back. How many times have you said that to yourself, or heard someone else utter that simple but throbbing tender phrase?

Recent studies reveal that 80 percent of Americans will experience some sort of back problem in their lifetime.

That’s because poor everyday habits, such as improper lifting techniques and sitting for extended periods of time, may lead to tired, weak back muscles, causing pain in the region.

In addition, other activities, like gardening and overdoing it at the gym, plus side effects of medications, may be other culprits that cause this pressing, painful dilemma. 

That can lead to missed time at work as well as a reduced quality of life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are preventive measures you can take to help avoid the pitfalls of back pain, and deal with it if does occur.

Below are five ways to help you avoid, or at least cope with, back problems.

Walking

Staying active is a terrific way to shed those unwanted pounds, especially around the midsection, that may be pulling your body forward, thus causing lower back pain.
Simple walking (15-30 minutes daily) is a great way to start if you’ve not accustom to exercise. But don’t be afraid to increase you pace and duration over time.

Strengthening the Core Muscles (transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, the diaphragm, and pelvic floor)

First and foremost, it’s crucial to develop strong abdominals when it comes to preventing back pain. More so if it already exists (of course, under medical supervision).

The body’s trunk is a combination of several muscle groups working in unison. When the abs (rectus abdominis, mainly) are weak, other muscles must work harder in order to compensate. Thus, creating a muscle imbalance, and a likely pain situation in the lower back.

However, when the abs are strong (as well as the other core muscles), they help stabilize the torso, allowing the core to function properly.

Your basic abdominal crunch is a fine beginner’s jump-off point to an effective abdominal program. But resistant the urge to pull on your neck. I hear it can be a pain in the neck.

Maintain Good Posture Poster

Your parents were right when they repeatedly reminded you to stand and sit up straight when you were a youngster. In fact, sitting incorrectly, with your trunk slumped forward, can put unnecessary strain on your back.

Simply remind yourself to practice sound postural habits throughout the day, especially when walking, standing and, like I mentioned above, sitting.

Massage Therapy

A massage feels incredibly awesome, no doubt about it. That’s because it increases blood flow and circulation to the area, which brings needed nutrients to the region and rids the body of lactic acid and dead tissues, all required to relieve muscle soreness and speed up healing time in the presence of a soft tissue injury.

Plus, it helps relax muscles, thus increasing range of motion over the course of time and improves your quality of sleep. The frequency of massages depends on your particular needs. But it can’t hurt, most of the times, to receive consistent massages from a qualified massage therapist trained in medical massage.

Improve Flexibility

The idea in increasing flexibility is to distribute the load equally throughout the body. When it’s not, as in the case of tight hamstring muscles (the bicep femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus), an imbalance can occur.

For instance, inflexible hamstrings will constantly pull your torso forward, placing a lot of undue stress on your lower back, which can lead to pain.

In addition, tight hips flexors will do the same. It’s also a good idea to stretch the lower back muscles as well as the upper-back and mid-back regions.

Below are a few flexibility exercises to increase mobility in the aforementioned areas:

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Technique: Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Slowly lower your fingers downward while bending your trunk at the waist, with your knees locked. Reach as far down as possible, while allowing your head to relax. You should feel a slight pulling sensation in your hamstrings. But do not force it to the point of extreme pain.

Frequency: Hold the stretch for at least 4-5 seconds. Follow by gradually returning to the starting position, then go at it again for the same amount of time. Each time you’ll be able to stretch a little further. Do this between 4-5 times, or until you begin to loosen up.

This method is called active isolation stretchingStrecht Joint .png

Note: it’s important to remember not to bounce during stretching as microscopic tears may occur over time.

Neck Pull Stretch (Upper and Midback Muscles)

Technique: Tuck your chin into your chest as if you were nodding. Hold for a second or two. With your hands clasped, gently pull your head forward. You should feel the stretch along the midback to upper back (to neck) areas (trapezius).

Frequency: Repeat the Active Isolation Stretching Technique as explained above.

Lying Lower Back Stretch — One Leg or Two (erector spinae)

Technique: While lying on a flat surface, pull your knees up to your chest, lifting your pelvis a few inches of the ground.

You should feel a slight pulling sensation in your lower back, but not anything to the point of extreme discomfort.

Frequency: Repeat the Active Isolation Stretching Technique as explained above.

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch (Iliopsoas/psoas major and the iliacus)

Most people tend to have tight hip flexors because of the repetitive motions performed throughout the course of daily living—such as running, and walking up stairs.

The below stretch will lengthen and loosen the muscles in the anterior hip region.

Technique: Place one leg in front of you, with one leg behind you a decent distance apart from the front leg.

Lean your trunk back a little while pulling your hip flexor area forward without moving your back leg. You should feel the stretch in the hip flexor (anterior) region of the back leg.

Frequency: Repeat the Active Isolation Stretching Technique as explained above.

Until next time, get healthy, wealthy and fit, if you’re already not.

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