“Oh, My Aching Back!” Low Back Pain Relief and Prevention
Just about everyone has experienced some level of low back pain. It’s one of the most common reasons for missed work and decreased levels of physical activity. If it happens to you, making an appointment with Dr. Stochel, our sports medicine physician, can be an important first step in recovering from and preventing future pain.
Low back pain symptoms can come on suddenly or develop over time. Pain can be sharp, zinging, stabbing, or dull/achy.
Back pain tends to get worse with prolonged sitting, bending, lifting, and/or twisting. Standing and walking may also make pain worse.
And it isn’t always confined to the low back: pain can extend into the buttock and hip areas. Individuals with a herniated or bulging disc may have pain in the low back, buttock, and leg. Sometimes disc injuries can cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg or foot.
Pain Relief and Prevention
Many people get temporary relief by lying down. But there are other steps you can take to relieve and prevent pain:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying enough extra pounds to classify you as “overweight” increases your odds for back pain by 20%. If you’re “obese,” your back-pain odds increase by 50% – 75%.
But the good news is that losing just 4 pounds takes 16 pounds of pressure off of your spine! Weight loss can also help decrease your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Improve your posture. Maintain a neutral pelvic position, and do not arch or flatten your low back excessively. Contract your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button up and in toward your spine when standing and sitting. Try to stay tall and keep your spine long at all times, while keeping your shoulders relaxed and down.
- Learn to lift properly. Bend your knees, hold the object close to your body, tighten your stomach muscles, and lift with your legs. Avoid twisting. And don’t lift heavy objects higher than your waist.
- Many low-back issues can improve with exercises designed to stretch, strengthen, and align your body to relieve and prevent pain. The Wellness Center’s exercise physiologist can design a program to reduce and prevent low back pain—and just as important, instruct you on proper form so you don’t injure yourself further.
Dr. Stochel puts it this way: “I find that a lot of low back pain is preventable. A few lifestyle changes and targeted exercises can go a long way toward reducing or eliminating low back pain issues.”
Make an appointment with Dr. Stochel, our sports medicine specialist, to improve your low back issues.