You don’t have time to be sidelined, and lower back pain is one of the top reasons people seek medical treatment. In this blog, I will give you three causes of low back pain and how to avoid them.
PROBLEM #1 – Unconsciously teaching your body to create pain.
Your muscles are dynamic structures that adapt to our typical amount of movement. For example, hip flexors help move the legs to the torso. After months of sitting most of the day, they will shorten and pull on the pelvis and lower back when you want to be more active.
Solution #1: Slowly increase your movement
If you haven’t been exercising often, start off slow and then gradually increase the amount of time you are active allows your body the time to become accustomed to moving around more without strain. Start with an amount of time that is more than typical but doesn’t make you sore the next day Then increase by a few minutes, two or three days a week.
Solution #2: Stretch your hip flexors
Hip flexors muscles flex your leg upwards towards your torso. Stretching reacclimates them to their intended length and strength. Less pulling on the pelvis equals Less pain. 2-minute video explaining how to keep hip flexors from causing low back pain.
PROBLEM #2: Not emptying your bowels puts pressure on your spine
Your large intestine is a five-foot-long tube in your lower abdominal area cavity. If not evacuated thoroughly or regularly, it can become swollen. The pressure on the spine can cause pain in the lower back.
Solution #1 – Create the right environment for your intestines to empty.
Walking, stretching, and being relaxed instead of feeling rushed encourages the digestive system to prepare for evacuation.
Solution #2 – Put the right ingredients in the mix
Proper digestion requires the right nutrients. Water and fiber are essential for complete bowel elimination. Easing towards half your body weight in water and daily leafy green salads will solve many of your digestive concerns AND increase your mental and physical stamina.
PROBLEM #3 – Your core can’t stabilize the rest of your body.
Picture the core muscles like a giant pillar that limits the load on the spinal column. Weak core muscles put excessive strain on the spine, which can result in ruptured disks and pinched nerves.
The core also allows lower body force to move to the upper body and vice versa.
When you pick up your dog, the force generated by your legs helps strengthen your shoulders and arms. The stronger your core is, the easier it is to allow your entire body to work as one unit when lifting or pulling. Being able to live without worry of injury equals more freedom.
Solution #1 – Intentionally challenge your core
Your core is the area between your diaphragm and the top of your thigh, front to back.
Balance-challenging exercises are an excellent way to strengthen your core and lower body. Dynamic stretches/exercises are popular in my office. This way, you can work on multiple aspects of your health and wellness simultaneously.
Movements like Standing Supermans, Cross Crawls, Stiff Leg Marches, and Baby Crawls are excellent ways to strengthen the core and build strength in the upper and lower body. Dynamic stretches/exercises will also increase your cardiovascular system’s power. Here is a free dynamic stretch routine you can follow. As a bonus, let’s throw in a core and full-body exercise routine also. Thanks, Franny!
Solution #2 – Be able to execute everyday movements at twice the capacity that you believe you will need to.
Unexpected or atypical movements often lead to low back pain. For example, you may think picking up your dog is no big deal, but the movements involved become an exception if you don’t do them regularly. Unfortunately, exceptions to your regular physical routine can equal injury, pain, or disability.
I suggest clarifying your forever moves (movements you will always want to be able to do) and training so you can do them at twice the capacity you expect.
- Walking up the stairs without pulling on the railing may be a goal. Practice until you can walk up the stairs with your hands over your head.
- Let’s say you want to tour Rome and carry your stuff. First, practice walking longer distances while carrying a load.
- How about getting off the floor without assistance? Work on getting up without your hands, or holding a weight?
You likely won’t have to carry a lot of weight when touring Rome, but if an unexpected scenario arises, you could without concern or injury.
As I’ve written in another blog post about how to avoid or reduce pain, there is a case to be made for thinking of self-care basics as the platform for being our best self for the people we love.
Because you don’t have time for your life to be interrupted by pain, creating a system that helps you avoid these three problems AND make automatic habits out of the solutions allows you to stay on top of your game.
Need some help?
After 17 years of focusing on women’s health and wellness, I’ve learned that none of us have time for more complications in our lives. Effective and sustainable self-care needs to be simple for us to be consistent. Whether you managing chronic pain or you’re just tired of starting and falling off your wellness plan, I’m here to help. Call 410-296-4028 or click here to set up your free consultation. I look forward to talking with you.