BACK to Pain Management:
Low back pain has roamed since humanity has existed. The causes of back pain can range from things such as a traumatic incident, pre-disposing issues such as scolosis or even something as simple as poor posture. Sure, NSAIDS and pain killers can give you temporary relief but it’s the mechanical issues that need to be fixed. So how do you fix it? Well, to be completely honest, set up an appointment to see your doctor because they will be the ones to point you in the right direction. Most likely, He/She will prescribe physical therapy initially. A physical therapist can cater to your specific needs and identify the underlying cause of your condition. In the mean time, a few things that you can do are as follows:
1) Posture: Remember in grade school when the teacher always instructed, “sit up straight!”? well they could not have been more right! A lumbar roll is a nice addition to a chair to provide that extra support/cuing for correct posture. Having an ergonomically sound office also contributes to less back pain.
2) Posterior Pelvic Tilt: This is a great exercise to take pressure off of your lumbar spine and to tighten up those deep core abdominal muscles. To do this exercise, lay on your back and place your feet flat on the floor (your knees will be bent). Now, as the name implies, your are posteriorly tilting your pelvis. The best way to explain this is: try to flatten your back completely on the floor and gently tighten your abdominals. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times. You can do this any time you lay down.
3) Abdominals: It is a very simple principle. The stronger your abdominals the better support for your back. Work out your abdominal muscles like any other muscle group and hit them hard. Allow at least 48 hours of recovery and make sure you do not forget to train your internal and external obliques!
4) Hamstring stretches: Ah yes, the hamstrings. Most of us sit for long periods of time, whether it would be at work or at home watching T.V. Over time, a phenomenon called “adaptive shortening” occurs. What this means is that our hamstring muscles shorten when kept at a shortened position for long periods of time. So, stretch them out! There are multiple ways to stretch your hamstrings. One easy way is to prop your leg up on the second step of a flight of steps (or higher if able), keep your leg straight and gently lean forward until a stretch is felt. HOLD for at least 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times each leg and you can stretch throughout the day.
5) Bridges: Great exercise to strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) together and lift your butt in the air. You can put your arms at your sides for extra support. One key component to this exercise is that it should be pain free! Repeat between 10-15 repetitions and 3 sets.
“Muscles in the bank”