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The Do's and Don'ts for Addressing Low Back Pain

woman sitting on couch with low back painIt’s been estimated that a staggering 8 out of 10 Americans will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. This number has grown exponentially over the past couple decades due to numerous factors, including physical, chemical, and emotional stresses on our bodies.

Stresses include increased sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary intakes, decreased time spent exercising, negligence of prevention strategies including regular spinal care, increased pollution in our communities, and the mental stresses of daily living, just to name a few. This month, we’ll dive into a few bits of information regarding low back pain and what the do’s and don’ts are.

Is Your Back Pain Acute or Chronic?

First things first, we need to consider if we are dealing with an acute or chronic episode of low back pain. Acute pain can be described as a sudden onset of pain with possible tissue damage due to injury. Events such as an asthma attack, bone fracture, muscle tear, or disc herniation can be seen as acute injuries.

Depending upon the severity of the incident, an immediate trip to the hospital might be warranted for diagnosis and treatment. If the episode is less severe, a visit to your chiropractor can help diagnose and establish a proper care plan. Typically for the first 48-72 hours after an acute injury, ice should be applied.

When an acute injury occurs, our body’s natural response is to induce an inflammatory response to the injured tissues to begin the healing process. This causes the surrounding area to swell, which usually reduces range of motion. To help reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as decrease pain, application of ice is typically the first go-to method.

Plenty of rest should also be included to prevent further damage to the injured tissues. When dealing with an acute injury, don’t be afraid to move, but avoid painful directions of movement and avoid lifting heavy objects.

When discussing chronic low back pain, we are looking into a gradual onset of pain, many times without knowing the causative issue. These types of patients need to be educated on the importance of self-management to prevent the pain from getting worse.

As our body ages, degenerative changes begin to occur throughout the body, including our spine, after years of various forces being put on the musculoskeletal system.

Dr. Motze’s Do’s for Low Back Pain Sufferers

  • Do take initiative to have a stronger and healthier spine by supporting your spine and its surrounding muscles, ligaments, and nerves.
  • Do core muscle strengthening through pelvic tilts, hip bridges, and planks, which are great at building support and stability for the low back when performed correctly. Stretch! Stretching is key to increasing range of motion and the flexibility of the joints, muscles, and ligaments.
  • Do see your family chiropractor for regular adjustments to ensure proper alignment of the spine and increase your body’s physical function.
  • Do have proper posture while sitting, standing, and walking. Head up, shoulders back, and tighten core muscles allows the spine’s curvatures to be in a proper neutral setting.
  • Do lift with the proper technique of keeping your back straight and using your legs to lift heavier objects.
  • Do train yourself to have proper sleep posture with a pillow under your knees if lying on your back, or a pillow between your knees if lying on your side.
  • Do wear proper footwear with ample arch support. The arches in your feet are the foundation for the rest of your body and need greater support as we age.
  • Do make it a point to include healthier food options in your diet to supply your body the nutrients it needs to function appropriately and decrease inflammation in the body.

Now for the Don’ts

There are many don’ts for low back pain, but most can be avoided with self-awareness and determination to prevent low back pain. Dr. Motze’s don’ts include the following:

  • Sitting for long periods
  • Bending over at the waist to lift objects
  • Twisting to lift objects while the spine is also in a flexed position
  • Sleeping on your stomach
  • Ingesting a diet high in fats and sugars
  • Exercising with improper form
  • Missing regularly scheduled chiropractic maintenance adjustments
  • Wearing improper footwear for daily activities

The low back is a complex structure that can have many factors that cause pain in individuals. Little alterations discussed above can lead to big changes with routine and rhythm.

Practice makes perfect! If you would like to hear more about living a healthier and happier lifestyle, and changes you could make to prevent low back pain, ask our friendly team at your next appointment!

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