Is Your Lower Back Hurting? What Should You Do?
Lower back discomfort is one of the most prevalent and common aches because of how sedentary our lifestyles are, the poor postures we are continuously adopting, and the extended periods of time we spend working in front of computers. It’s no wonder people search for effective solutions to deal with this, like the best stretches for lower back pain.
In these situations, frequent stretching and some simple exercises will enable you to keep this area flexible and strong to ease the soreness. Below, we explain what to do, what not to do, and how to prevent this unpleasant situation.
Why Is Lower Back Discomfort So Common?
Have you ever wondered why so many people get discomfort in their lower back? A basic description of the lumbar spine is necessary for the solution. Although the entire spine is involved in daily activities of rest and movement, the lower back can be vulnerable to causing distress.
Simple strains or overexertion, a herniated disc from a slip and fall, degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis from normal aging, as well as other conditions, can cause lower back aches.
Are There Ways to Prevent It?
Even though there are plenty of habits and factors known for being detrimental and harmful to your lower back such as bad posture, spending many hours on the computer, and sleeping on a bad mattress, there are others that may seem harmless but, in truth, aren’t. For example, not drinking enough water.
Preventing lower back discomfort can be accomplished by watching your daily habits closely and making the necessary changes. Let’s see how changing some habits can prevent your lower back from hurting, either from reappearing, or for the first time.
What to Do
Your mattress should be in optimal condition and neither too soft nor too hard. The best way to sleep is to do so on your back, placing a pillow under your knees and another under your lower back. If it’s uncomfortable or not possible, you can sleep on your side, with your knees bent and a pillow that isn’t too high.
Watch Your Posture
If you spend many hours sitting at work, remember to keep your back straight and upright. Don’t bend forward to get closer to the table if you spend many hours working. Remaining in this position for long periods of time may cause weakness of the back muscles and disc protrusions.
Stand Up Straight
Just as your posture is important while you’re working at your computer, it’s also important when you’re walking. When standing, you should maintain good posture. Your shoulders and hips should be in a straight line with your head and neck.
Choose Your Footwear Wisely
Some studies have stated that the use of high heels can be detrimental, since they shift the center of gravity and bring the weight of the body forward, causing an imbalance that, in some people, has repercussions on the different curvatures of the back (lumbar, thoracic, or cervical).
Between our vertebrae, there are small discs that perform the function of absorbing the impacts to which the spine is subjected on a daily basis, even though we aren’t aware of it. They also cushion the friction between vertebrae and allow our spine to be flexible and are surrounded by a jelly-like center.
These discs are designed to lose water and then rehydrate; if there is not enough water available for the discs to replace what they have lost, then they cannot function as they should.
Inactivity and poor physical shape are the number one enemy of the health of the spine, the main culprits of back discomfort. For this reason, you should strengthen your back muscles.
Stretch and Move Around
Don’t sit all day in your office chair. Get up and move around every 30 minutes or so. Most of us spend a lot of time sitting at our stations, so it’s important to stand up and do some stretching even for a moment.
An excellent way to take advantage of the benefits of stretching to prevent these aches is with the help of an assisted stretch practitioner. This, combined with frequent exercise, helps to strengthen your muscles and back. If you are already suffering from this condition, you should know that this way of stretching has the best stretches for lower back pain, which also helps you to prevent this discomfort from coming back.
What Not to Do
Until a few years ago, when someone had muscle discomfort or an injury, relative or absolute rest was recommended as part of the treatment. Now, this has changed, since absolute rest can be counterproductive and cause the damaged or injured area to atrophy, hindering or lengthening recovery.
It is common to bend the back to lift an object from the floor or from a low shelf, however, this form of bending isn’t at all advisable, since returning to the natural posture will be applying great stress on the lumbar spine. Instead, the most appropriate thing to do is to bend your knees and use your legs, keeping the weight to be lifted as close to your body as possible, with your head down and your back straight.
While staying inactive is detrimental, so is exercising irresponsibly. First, if while doing sports any movement bothers you, it’s better not to do it. You should not force yourself since you will probably not execute the technique correctly and you will increase the risk of suffering injuries.
Ask for help from a professional and, if you train at home, maybe it’s time to consider getting professional help. If you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to turn to a certified professional.
Now, let’s see those exercises that you should definitely avoid.
Exercises such as deadlifts are ruled out since if not performed correctly, the load on the lumbar area is very harmful. Any high-impact or explosive exercise is a resounding “no”.
Also, cross off the list classic crunches and any rotational movement: weighted side bends, the typical trunk twists with a barbell on the shoulders, crunches, or the Russian twist. Generally speaking, the spine should be kept as upright as possible, both in your daily life and in sports.
This exercise designed to strengthen the lower back is discouraged when suffering from soreness because it strains the muscles of the lower back too much. Finally, avoid extreme stretching of the spine, such as trying to touch the tips of your toes.
Finally, Don’t Try Stretching by Yourself
When looking for information on the best ways to relieve low back discomfort, stretching and the best stretches for lower pain always come to the top of the list. There are always articles that talk about various types of stretching and promise to be the best, but is that really the case?
First, there is no way to know if that particular stretch is actually effective or otherwise detrimental to your particular situation. Every case is different, and the way these stretches are performed should be guided and personalized.
Second, poorly performed stretches can also cause injury. There is a misconception that stretching does not go beyond moving our muscles and joints a little. This is absolutely false.
Third, the best stretches for lower back pain are very effective, yes, but do you know how to get the most out of them? Searching the internet can be confusing as there are so many pieces of information out there, which makes it difficult to find what really works for you and what type of stretching you can take advantage of.
What to Do
Treatments at Home
Over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics, usually nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, may help you if your back is hurting. Applying a warm compress or ice pack to the sore area can accomplish this as well.
As we said, it’s a frequent misconception that back discomfort requires prolonged periods of inactivity and rest. Now, doctors don’t advise bed rest. If you don’t have any signs of a serious cause for your back discomfort, stay as active as possible with the help of a professional.
Through exercise you can:
- Improve your posture
- Strengthen your back and abdomen and improve your flexibility
- Lose weight
- Avoid falls
Aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, or riding a stationary bike should be a part of any comprehensive exercise regimen. Strength training and stretching should also be a part of it. Follow your doctor or health care professional’s instructions.
Practitioner Assisted Stretching
Stretching and strengthening exercises are very important to relieve discomfort and prevent it from occurring again in the future. A practitioner assisted stretching expert can help you determine when to begin stretching and which the best stretches for lower back pain are.
How Is It Better Than Self-Stretching?
With the help of practitioner assisted stretching, you can reach certain body areas that you would not be able to with unsupported stretching. The main benefit of practitioner assisted stretching is having a qualified and experienced person by your side who will help you reach your own personal targeted issue areas and ensure that you get the amount of relief, muscle and joint health, and flexibility your body requires.
A specialist in practitioner assisted stretching will focus on your muscle-skeletal improvement by providing you with a unique set of techniques and the best stretches for lower back pain, designed to directly address past issues or injuries, joint and muscle tightness, aches, discomfort, or movement distortion as a result of them, among many other physical conditions that lower your quality of life.
Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain
These stretches are part of the repertoire of practitioner assisted stretches that help to alleviate any kind of discomfort you may have. Keep in mind that these stretches are going to be guided by an expert.
1) Knee-to-chest Stretch
Place both of your feet firmly on the ground and lie on your back. Grasp under your thigh on one leg and carefully bring that leg to your chest, keeping the other leg relaxed. Stretch your spine gently without raising your hips. Hold this pose for 1-3 minutes and repeat with the other leg, alternating as many times as necessary.
2) Pelvic Tilt
Keep your feet flat on the ground while lying on your back with your knees bent. Put your back on the floor while lifting your hips just a little. Don’t hold your breath while doing this. For about 10 seconds, hold this position, then relax for two to three seconds before repeating. You may only need 1-3 repetitions.
3) Child’s Pose
Lean back on your hands and knees and slowly push your hips back until they rest on your heels. As far as you can, extend your hands forward. Breathe deeply and hold this pose for one minute before relaxing.
4) Sphinx Pose
Lie on your stomach and, using your back and buttock muscles, lift yourself up from the waist so that your outstretched arms support your torso. Continue to use your back and gluteal muscles as you do this. Keep looking at your front while pressing your hips into the ground. Hold this position for 1-3 minutes.
Ready to Try the Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain?
Stretching and exercise are frequently advised by doctors as effective treatments for lower back discomfort. Each client receives a customized stretching program at Stretch Zone that is created to meet their individual needs. To learn more about the customized services we provide and how they could aid in the alleviation of lower back discomfort, get in touch with the specialists. Call us for a free stretch!