What is Low Back Pain?
Low back pain is a common condition that affects up to 80% of Americans sometime in their life. Almost 10% of Americans live with chronic low back pain, which is honestly incredibly staggering, considering how low your quality of life goes once the pain sets in.
You cannot do much once that low back flares up. Everything from walking to sitting upright and even laying flat hurts.
Acute low back pain usually goes away within weeks and symptoms may include sudden onset of severe pain, fever, or loss of bladder and bowel control in extreme cases.
Chronic low back pain, on the other hand, usually lasts for more than three months with symptoms that are persistent and may include difficulty moving around, numbness in your legs or feet and trouble sleeping due to discomfort.
There are many different types of treatments for it including medications to help with inflammation and relieve muscle spasms; physical therapy; exercise; spinal injections; surgery; and acupuncture.
What Causes Low Back Pain
The back is a complex area of the body which is made up of many different parts. There are many causes of low back pain, and the severity can vary depending on the cause.
As this is a common condition that affects the lower part of the spine, some causes include an injury or strain to muscles, ligaments, or discs in your back. Low back pain can also be caused by other conditions such as arthritis, cancer, or infection.
There are two main categories of causes for low back pain in scope for this article: mechanical and inflammatory.
Mechanical pain generally stems from the spine, discs, or surrounding structures.
Inflammatory pain usually is caused by, surprise, inflammation and generally this type of pain has to do with inflammation of the sacroiliac joint and low back thanks to your immune system attacking healthy cells. AKA arthritis.
Mechanical causes account for about 70% of cases with inflammation accounting for about 20%.
The most common mechanical cause is a herniated disc which may be caused by a traumatic injury or from overuse. Inflammation can be caused by infection, trauma, or autoimmune disease. A third type of pain that I am not equipped or licensed to deal with, Neoplastic, is rare but includes tumors and cancerous cells in the spine.
The Importance of Exercise for Low Back
Exercise is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with chronic low back pain. The following exercises are designed to strengthen your core muscles and improve the flexibility in your hips and lower back.
- Cat-Cow Stretch
- Knee-to-Chest Stretch
- Pelvic Tilts
If those exercises are too easy for you, consider strengthening your entire posterior chain through more advanced compound movements.
- Deadlifts. (Try Sumo deadlifts if you cannot do standard.)
- Split squats.
- Glute bridges.
Finally, throw in some core movements like hanging leg raises, planks, or swiss ball pikes.
Fix What You Can
If you have ever thrown your back out, you know just how bad things can get. You throw out a disc or pull a muscle and walking normally becomes impossible. Reaching down isn’t happening. Getting in and out of a car is not fun.
Basically, until that back is healed life stops.
Now, none of us here can fix low back pain stemming from cancer or tumors, but if you are reading this and don’t have those there is plenty you can do to avoid low back pain.
Simply strengthening the area can go miles towards avoiding random pains stemming from the area. At other times proper stretching can go miles towards getting your back where it should be.
A flexible muscle is a healthy muscle, after all.
Let Us help You Out
At CONDITIONerd we are here to help you achieve better physical and mental health through exercise. Check out the plans we offer to our customers and see if you could benefit from working with our team. And if you have questions, you can always contact a CONDITIONerd team member.
Personal trainers, like those found here, can help guide you on your pathway towards reaching your fitness goals, whether that is getting bigger, stronger, faster, more lean, or just generally feeling better.
We can get you setup with a periodized workout plan, supplement