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Ten Tips to Ease Low Back Pain

Even with today's technology finding the exact cause of low back pain can be difficult. In some cases, back pain may be a symptom of many different causes. The following article has hints on how to help to prevent back problems and ease the accompanying pain.

Working days lost in the US alone due to back pain runs into hundreds of millions.

Our back is highly complex mechanism and even with the use of modern technology pin pointing the exact cause of low back problems can be difficult and challenging. At the center of our back is the spine, with a sophisticated inter linking of vertebrae and various bones. The spinal column itself is supported by a complex array of muscles and ligaments. Many back problems occur as a result of some change in the spinal column. These changes often happen after an injury to the neck or back. Any shift in our spinal column alignment causes the muscles tighten up and go into spasm, making the muscle work continuously, (nature’s protection mechanism).

Most people will have at least one backache during their lives, and many will live with recurrent or prolonged back problems. While discomfort can affect any area of the back, pain mostly occurs in the lower part, which supports most of the body’s weight. Indeed, low back pain is among the most common reasons why Americans visit the doctor. Some people have backaches that cause significant disability, with pain or numbness radiating down the leg or into the foot - a condition known as sciatica.

Taking off the shelf pain killers such as ibuprofen or aspirin often helps to reduce the inflammation and bring some sort of relief; however for people who suffer from chronic back pain they seldom bring much relief. Whether you are a newcomer to back pain or a long term sufferer, here are ten tips to ease your back pain.

  1. If you are in extreme pain try lying on your back, on the floor, with your feet and lower legs over a chair. Support your head under a pillow. Try to relax as much as possible.
  2. Consider doing some simple stretches to improve your overall flexibility and help relax those over tight muscles. Your healthcare practitioner should be able to advise you which ones are best for you.
  3. Ensure you maintain the correct posture. Try standing with your back against a closed door. Align your shoulders against the door and touch the door with the back of your head, your buttocks and your heels at the same time. If you can manage this then your body is in the correct alignment. Try to hold this posture when walking. Posture is also important when sitting – it may be necessary to invest in a good office chair which provides good back and lumbar support. Latest thinking suggests that sitting with the back angled at about 120 degrees is the best position, almost in a slightly slouched position.
  4. Start walking.  Walking is one of the best exercises you can do to help to relieve back pain. A recent study found that a group of low back pain patients who did 3 hours brisk walking per week had considerably less pain and distress than a group who were given specific low back exercises.  Walking helps exercise many the muscles in the musco skeletal system, which in turn help provide support to the spine.
  5. Always ensure you keep your back straight when lifting – no matter how light the object may be.
  6. A good mattress is not only important to allow to have a good night’s sleep it is also important that the mattress provides good support for your back.
  7. Do a quick health check. If you smoke quit. If you drink – do it in moderation. If you are overweight - loose it. Easy to say I know but the harsh facts are that people who carry too much weight are more prone to back problems, as are smokers and people who drink to excess. Try to eat a healthy balance diet making sure you eat at least five fruit and veg a day.
  8. If you drive pay attention to how you get in and out of the car. Sit down facing the door and swing both legs into the car together. Getting out is the reverse. It may look cumbersome but many a bad back is triggered by getting in or out of the car the wrong way. Ensure if you are driving any distance that you take regular breaks and have a walk around.
  9. Buy a TENs or EMS machine to help relax those tensed up muscles and block out any nerve pain.
  10. Always seek medical help from a Doctor, Chiropractor, Osteopath, Physical Therapist or other health care practitioner. Do some research on the Web before visiting your health care practitioner and make a list of questions to ask. If your back problem persists, seriously consider having a MRI scan. This is usually definitive in identifying the problem area and it is particularly useful in determining the source of sciatic nerve pain.

Once you know what is wrong you can focus all your energy on rehabilitation. Usually there are many avenues to explore including surgery, passive manipulation, Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, Alexander Technique, or Chi Kung. What works well for some may not work at all for others so it is important to explore as many avenues as possible and try to keep positive. 

This information in this article should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease. You should always consult with your health care professional especially relating to the suitability of ecercisesArticle Submission, supplements or drugs and on all health matters that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

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Bill Morrison has his own website Lower Back Pain and Sciatica  where he describes his own personal experiences coping with lower back pain and sciatica. He also includes personal recommendations for people who suffer from sciatica or lower back pain including what books to buy, TENs machines, and what web sites to check out.

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