THE FACTS ON LOWER BACK PAIN:
WHAT IS LOWER BACK PAIN?
Lower back pain is a very common condition seen in doctors’ offices. Back pain can present itself in different ways depending on the cause and type of pain. It can include muscle pains and aches, shooting pains, reduced ability to move, and pains that spread down to the legs. Simply put, if you feel a dull ache or pain in your lumbar region following daily activities, you may have lower back pain.
Lower back pain is one of the most common pain problems in the US today and you may experience it at some point in your lifetime. For some, it can be a recurrent, chronic problem. And for many lower back pain sufferers, it’s an obstacle that keeps you from being your best. What might surprise you is that lower back pain may be caused by being on your feet for long periods of time.
WHAT CAUSES LOWER BACK PAIN?
If you are experiencing pain in your lower back and you don’t remember doing anything to injure it, the source of your pain could start with your feet. For example, if you’ve been experiencing foot pain for a while, it could be causing problems in your knees, hips, ankles, and back.
When foot pains or deformities cause you to walk differently, it has an impact on a variety of other joints within your body. Changing the way that you walk changes the mechanics of your ankle joint, which can eventually lead to ankle pain. This new gait can also affect your knees, hips, and finally, the lower back.
If you walk or run without properly supported feet, you may be stressing and straining your lower back. With every step, impact can travel up your legs to your lumbar region where muscles supporting the back can get aggravated, causing you pain.
Lower back pain can also be due to:
- Structural issues in the lower back including disc degeneration, disc alignment issues or nerve impingement.
- Being on your feet for long periods of time
- Being overweight
- Slouching (in chairs or while standing)
- Quick and straining movements (like lifting too-heavy objects)
- Wearing improperly cushioned shoes
HOW TO HELP PREVENT LOWER BACK PAIN?
Here are home remedies and steps you can take to help prevent lower back pain:
- Use insoles or inserts that provide a combination of shock absorption, cushioning and support for your feet. Dr. Scholl’s Orthotics for Lower Back Pain are clinically proven to relieve lower back pain all day
- Staying at a healthy weight can also prevent back pain, since excess weight can strain your muscles and joints. You can also prevent back pain by practicing good posture and lifting techniques.
- Wear shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support
- Strengthen your back, leg and stomach muscles. Your abdominal muscles do a great deal of work to help support the back and when weak they can increase your chance of experiencing lower back pain. By building muscle strength and flexibility through core-strengthening exercises, you can condition these muscles to work together in a beneficial way. Improving the flexibility of your upper legs and hips can also help with your alignment and help to reduce lower back pain.
- Exercising regularly is the most effective way to prevent lower back pain. Aerobic exercises and specific muscle strengthening and stretching exercises can help. Low-impact activities like swimming, walking, and bicycling can increase overall fitness without straining the lower back.
HOW TO RELIEVE LOWER BACK PAIN?
Lower back pain treatments depends on the exact cause of the lower back pain. For some, lower back pain relief may only come with medical attention — especially if the pain won’t go away. For many, however, there are some things that you can do at home to feel better.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and applying ice or heat are often all that is needed to relieve lower back pain. It is generally recommended that you continue with your regular activities as much as possible to promote recovery from your sore lower back. You should try to continue with light daily living activities and walking as is comfortable. However, it is best that you do avoid activities that can stress your back and make your back pain worse.
If you do not start to recover from your general back pain after 2 weeks, you should book an appointment with your doctor. If you are finding that your general back pain is causing bowel or bladder problems, is following a fall or injury, or is accompanied by a fever, you should seek immediate medical care. You should contact your doctor if your general back pain is severe and not improving with rest, spreading down your legs, resulting in weakness or unusual sensations in your legs, or is accompanied by unexpected weight loss. If you have a history of steroid, drug or alcohol use, or are over the age of 50 and experiencing general back pain for the first time, you should also contact your doctor.