Back Pain- There Is Something You Can Do About It

Statistically speaking, 80% of us will suffer from low back pain at one point or another in our lives. Unfortunately, the main pre-determining factor as to whether you will have back pain is if you have had it in the past. What this means is that if you have back pain once, you will have it again.This is due to a few reasons. First off, most people don’t alter thier lifestyle once they get out of low back pain and end up doing most of the things again that caused them to have low back pain in the first place. Another reason, is that the body remembers injuries and insults. I like to tell my patients that if you fell out of a tree when you were 12 years old and landed on your left hip, this can make you succeptable to having left sided low back, hip and leg pain for the rest of your life. How does this work?When you suffer a traumatic injury like falling out of a tree, or suffer from repetitive trauma, such as sitting at a desk all day long for years on end, the result is the same. In a traumatic injury the muscles tear on a microscopic level from the trauma, this is what a sprain or strain is. With repetitive trauma, the overused muscle or muscles slowly tighten up over time until they get so tight that they tear on a microscopic level. Either way, when the muscle tears the rest of the muscle belly reflexively contracts to prevent further tearing. The muscle contracts so hard that it establishes a neurological pathway between the muscle and the spinal cord, this pathway is called a reflex arc. This reflex arc keeps the muscle in a state of spasm and inflammation that it can not get out of. It can be in this state for months to years.In my experience, most low back pain is muscular in nature. If the muscles are not a primary cause of the low back pain, then they will be irritated by moving differently to compensate for the low back pain and then become part of the problem. So if you can take care of the muscular component, it will at least make you more comfortable, and can help the injury heal much quicker than if you were to just tough it out.When suffering from low back pain, the most important area to consider is the gluteal area/ hips/ butt muscles. Even if you are having pain in your low back, your gluteal muscles will be involved. They are used in most every motion you perform. They get very easily over used and irritated. Since they are inflammed, using ice and ibuprofen, or some other type of anti-inflammatory will help decrease the inflammation and therefore help to heal the injury quicker and give you relief. Stay away from heat. Heat will temporarily loosen you up, but it will increase the inflammation in the long run, and can cause the injury to linger. So ice your gluteal area/ butt cheeks. Ice right where your back pockets are if you had pants on. If you pain is more on one side than another, then focus the ice more on the side of the pain. But ice 15 minutes at a time, as much as you want to throughout the day. Do not ice for more than 15 minutes at once. If you do then you chance burning the skin with the ice.Also use some type of over the counter anti-inflammatory. This will help to relieve some of the pain and help reduce the inflammation. Also stretch. This will help to loosen up those tight and irritated muscles that are in spasm. Stretch out all of the muscles in your legs and hips, they are all connected and will be affected by your low back pain.If you have access to a doctor, a steroid dose pack and muscle relaxers will really help to speed along the healing as well.Check out my forthcoming book. In it I will have sets of stretches to help loosen up your low back and hips. I’ll also have more information on how to avoid low back pain in the first place, and how to recognize it when it is building up, before it becomes flaired up.

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