With the majority of adults suffering from back pain at some stage of their life, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs of lower back pain and how to prevent it. Below, we look at the seven most common causes of lower back pain and the best ways to find relief, so you can take charge of your back health today.
Lower back pain from bad posture and body mechanics
One of the most common causes of lower back pain is poor posture at work. This is especially true if you’re an office worker and tend to sit at your desk for lengths of time without getting up to move around. Inevitably, your hip flexors will tighten, causing your hips and hamstrings to weaken, leading to lower back pain.
On the other hand, if your job requires regular lifting or repetitive movement, you’ll again be at a higher risk for lower back pain. If you’re lifting improperly or bending in a way that feels unnatural, chances are your lower back is going to suffer.
Muscle deconditioning and low back pain
Another common cause of lower back pain is muscle atrophy, which occurs when your back muscles do not have the strength and stability to support your everyday movements. While this happens naturally with age, a lack of physical exercise will also increase your chances of having weak back muscles.
If you’re not incorporating an average of 30 minutes of exercise at least three times a week, including strength and cardio, you’re at a much higher risk of developing lower back pain.
Your diet can cause pain in your lower back
Along with a lack of exercise, a poor diet can be a large factor in lower back pain. Your body is not made to carry around excess body weight, and therefore, being overweight will put an increased strain on your back muscles. Over time, this strain will turn into chronic back pain as well as pain in your joints.
On top of this, food with high sugar and fat content can also cause back pain even if you’re a healthy weight. This is because processed food can cause inflammation in your gut, which can manifest into lower back pain.
Traumatic events and lower back pain
Unfortunately, not all back pain can be prevented. If you’ve found yourself in a bad car accident or have taken a hard fall, you’re at a higher risk for back pain. Even a minor fall or fender bender can trigger pain, and sometimes it’s not easy to put two and two together.
Take, for example, a minor collision where you feel the injury in your neck and shoulders the most. Because you’ll be using other muscles to compensate for your pain, you can end up putting increased stress on your back and suffer from lower back pain further down the line.
Low back pain from arthritis and osteoporosis
While completely different diseases, both arthritis and osteoporosis are major causes of lower back pain. Arthritis is a type of chronic inflammation and can affect the joints of your back.
As the cartilage wears away between back joints, chronic pain and stiffness can occur. Unlike other types of back pain, arthritis back pain will feel better with rest.
Osteoporosis, on the other hand, is a disease that causes bone mass to decrease. This, in turn, can cause fractures and deformation in your vertebrae which can then lead to lower back pain.
Pulled muscles or tendons cause lower back pain
Little things we do in life can have a significant impact on the health of our back. Even something as simple as sleeping in an awkward position can cause a sore back. Other examples of everyday activities that cause low back pain include:
- Sitting in a vehicle for extended periods
- Sleeping on your stomach or in a poor position
- Bending over to pick up children
- Carrying a heavy backpack without proper support
- Sitting with your legs extended on a couch
Lower back pain from aging
The hardest type of back pain to prevent is pain from aging. Naturally, as we age, aches and pains become more common, and these are often felt in your lower back. The loss of muscle strength and disc space are the most problematic effects of aging when it comes to your lower back and can be hard to prevent.
Aging can also speed up other pain-causing conditions and reduce your bodies ability to heal itself, so it’s crucial to take care of your back as you get older.
How to find relief from lower back pain
Once back pain has set in, it’s essential to get on top of it as quickly as possible to ensure it doesn’t become chronic back pain. Some common treatments for lower back pain include:
Using a stretching, stabilising and strength program to reduce your low back pain
For many, rest is not the best solution to low back pain. Instead, by booking a consultation with a C.H.E.K Practitioner, you’ll be given a range of exercises that will not only reduce your lower back pain but prevent it from coming back. Common exercises typically include core strengthening exercise, hamstring and back stretches, wall sits and glute exercises.
Surgery to relieve lower back pain
The last option, if exercises and non-invasive treatments are not working, is surgery. This approach is often used if you suffer from compressed nerves from disk problems or an overgrowth of bone, and the pain is chronic and disabling.
As the road to recovery after surgery can be long and tedious, always be sure to give conservative treatments a good try before resorting to surgery.
Incorporate long term back pain prevention in your everyday life
Even after your back pain has gone away, it’s essential to continue to practice good habits to ensure your pain doesn’t come straight back. A few things to keep in mind include:
- Continue to make exercising, both strength and cardio, a regular part of your week
- If you find yourself sitting for long periods, set yourself a reminder to get up and walk around at least once per hour
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach or back
- Practice good body mechanics when lifting
Ready to relieve your lower back pain?
A simple consultation at Back Pain Auckland will answer your questions and set you on the path to eliminating back pain. With 18 years of back pain rehabilitation and prevention experience and many success stories, you’ll be in good hands to say goodbye to your back pain forever. Book your consultation today!