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What Increases Your Potential for Lower Back Pain?

by Lindsey McFadden

Senior couple with lower back pain

Although certain medical conditions lead to lower back pain, most of the possible causes are mechanical in nature. This is usually attributed to everyday wear and tear, which triggers the degeneration of the spine’s intervertebral discs over time. People who struggle with this problem often find relief by doing stretches for lower back pain with a certified and experienced stretch practitioner 

Your guide will know how to position, stabilize, isolate, and manipulate your muscles in a purposeful order while they work with your nervous energy. 

The Main Types of Lower Back Pain 

Everybody has different experiences when it comes to back pain. Sometimes it can be acute, and other times it can be chronic. Lower back pain can be classified into two categories: mechanical and radicular. 

Mechanical back pain occurs due to pain in the muscles, ligaments, joints, or bones in and around the spine. It’s one of the most common kinds of lower back pain people have. Most individuals suffer from mechanical back pain due to poor posture and habits. 

Radicular back pain occurs when the spinal nerve becomes compressed or inflamed. Most people with this kind of back pain experience a burning, sharp, or electric sensation. Typically, the pain can radiate from the back to the hips and into your legs. 

What Are the Risk Factors for Lower Back Pain? 

Researchers believe that close to 85% of people may experience neck or back pain in their lives. Many things could contribute to the discomfort you may encounter; it doesn’t always have to be due to an injury. What puts you at a greater risk for lower back pain? 

Below are some of the common reasons why individuals may experience aches in their backs: 

Genetics  

Did you know that some spinal disorders are genetic? For example, one of these cases is known as degenerative disc disease, which has a genetic component. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about what you inherit from your family. However, increasing your physical activity and taking extra precautions can possibly lower your chances. 

Aging 

As a person advances in age, the years of wear and tear on the individual’s spine will cause certain conditions, including spinal stenosis and disc degeneration. These back issues will trigger symptoms such as neck and lower back pain. While people over the age of 40 usually experience back pain, those over the age of 60 are more vulnerable to pain associated with osteoarthritis. 

Occupational Hazards 

Certain jobs have a higher incidence of lower back injuries. These include nurses and construction workers who are required to bend and lift things repetitively for extended periods. Other workers who are at risk of developing lower back pain are barbers, who spend long hours standing without taking breaks, and software developers, who are chained to their desks without proper back support. 

Inactive Lifestyle 

People who don’t have a regular exercise routine are also more likely to experience lower back pain. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle can even aggravate the severity of the pain. In recent years, sitting has been called the new smoking. The more you sit, the smaller your glute and quad muscles become, which means your back has to do the extra work to carry your body weight. 

Being Overweight 

Excess weight can put more pressure and stress on the lower back, as well as the joints. Those with extra weight in their stomachs can get bad back pain because of their pelvises being pulled forward. As a result, it strains the lower back and can cause pain. Over time, the excess weight can also cause an unnatural curvature of your spine. 

Anxiety or Depression 

Psychological conditions, like anxiety and depression, have also been linked to lower back pain. This likely occurs due to irregular breathing patterns when you’re stressed or anxious, as it causes strain and tension on the back. Your body also produces more cortisol and adrenaline when you’re stressed, which typically causes you to tighten your muscles. 

Best Lower Back Stretches 

Fortunately for you, many stretches out there can target the lower back and provide you with the relief you need. Performing these moves often will provide you with noticeable outcomes. For better and quicker results, we strongly recommend visiting a professional who will know how to properly stretch your problem areas. 

Assisted stretching practitioner doing lower body stretch on customer

Here are some of the best stretches for lower back pain: 

Trunk Rotation 

This move can help relieve any tension in your lower back while working your core muscles at the same time. A weak core is one of the main reasons people have lower back pain since it works harder to carry your body weight. 

Begin by lying on your back with your knees up toward your chest – think about it as if you’re sitting in a chair. With your arms fully extended to the side, palms facing the floor, and knees bent together, a stretching coach will gently roll your knees to one side and hold the position before rolling you to the other side. 

Child’s Pose 

Most health professionals recommend the child’s pose for those suffering from back pain. This move provides a gentle stretch in the lower back muscles. It’s also great for those suffering from stress, which can also cause back pain. The child’s pose is a calming move that can provide physical and mental relief. 

To perform the child’s pose, you’ll begin on all fours. Extend your arms in front of you and slowly sit your hips back toward your heels. Drop your head downward, and don’t forget to breathe as your stretching coach gently pushes you forward for a deeper stretch. 

Thoracic Extension 

As the name says, this move extends your thoracic spine. It helps to relax the paraspinal muscles engaged during prolonged sitting or desk-bound activities. Office workers will greatly benefit from the thoracic extension. 

To perform this stretch, sit in a chair where the back reaches your mid-chest region. You’re going to place both hands behind your head with your fingers locked together and your elbows back. Your stretching coach will guide you by slowly leaning you back, and you’re going to look up at the ceiling. After returning to the upright position, you’ll repeat. 

Lying Knee Twist 

The lying knee twist can help improve flexibility while strengthening the muscles along the spine and abdomen. Twisting moves connect the top and bottom of halves of your body to turn the spine and torso. It’s great for lengthening the spinal rotator muscles. 

Lie on your back and extend your legs straight out. Your stretching coach will take one leg, bend the knee, and cross it over to the opposite side of your body. You should feel the stretch in your lower back and through your buttocks. After holding the pose on one side, you’ll do the other. 

Prone Press Up 

The prone press up is a bit similar to the cobra pose, except you won’t be lifting your upper body as high. It’s a great lumbar extension stretch and is recommended for those with disc lesions. The purpose of the prone press up is to alleviate pain and pressure on the lower back caused by issues like bulging or herniated discs. 

To do this move, lie on your stomach. Your elbows should be underneath your body and your palms flat on the floor. Your stretching coach will guide you in lifting your upper torso off the ground. Your hips should be relaxed, and your pelvis should be flat on the ground. 

Happy Baby 

This stretch is perfect for opening up the lower back and stretching the hip flexors. Those with back pain due to tight hips will benefit from the happy baby pose. This move also soothes and relaxes the body. 

To do this stretch, begin by lying on your back. Next, you’ll bend your knees and draw them up to your chest. Keep your lower back on the floor as your stretching coach gently presses down on your feet and ankles until you feel a stretch in your hips. Gently rocking from side to side can also massage the lower back. 

Stretch Zone practitioner doing lower body stretch on senior male

Can Assisted Stretching Help with Lower Back Pain? 

You might be asking yourself why you can’t do these stretches on your own. While you can, we like to encourage people to try assisted stretching for more noticeable benefits. Besides, getting stretched by a professional stretching coach feels so relaxing and it’s good for your muscles! 

Assisted stretching can be more beneficial because it can help slowly increase your range of motion. They’ll know how to isolate certain muscles and get you in the proper position if you’re doing a stretch for the first time. You’re also less likely to injure yourself if you’re under the supervision of a professional. Doing some stretches at home is still important if you want to keep seeing improvements. 

Other Ways to Prevent Back Pain 

Besides stretching, there are other ways you can prevent back pain from occurring and making daily tasks more difficult. You won’t see results overnight, so it’s important to be consistent and patient with your body. It is a lifestyle change, after all! 

Below, we’ve listed some other helpful ways to reduce your chances of developing lower back pain. 

Exercise 

Being more active can increase your back muscle’s strength and endurance so they can function better and hurt less. You don’t have to do high-intensity workouts, though. Low-impact activities that don’t put extra strain on your back are actually more beneficial for preventing back pain. 

Increase Your Strength and Flexibility 

When you’re exercising more, you want to focus on increasing strength and flexibility in your back and abdominal muscles. With a greater range of motion, you’ll notice less tension on your lower back. As a result, you’ll have better mobility and lower your chances of getting injured during physical activity.  

Maintain a Healthy Weight 

Having excess body weight will cause compression in the spine and squeeze the intervertebral discs. This is especially true if most of the weight is in the abdominal region. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to maintain a good weight and prevent lower back pain. 

Use Correct Posture 

Slouching and using poor posture can result in back pain due to your abdominal muscles becoming overstrained. Over time, those muscles become weaker and cause pain and stiffness in the back. Pay attention to how you’re sitting and standing for long periods. If you notice aches in your back, you might need to correct your posture! 

Avoid High Heels 

Wearing high heels for prolonged periods can have a big impact on the health of your lower back. They put extra pressure on the balls of your feet and knees – plus they cause tension in your calf muscles, all of which can impact your gait. Wearing high heels can also put your spine and hips out of alignment and result in overuse of the back muscles. 

Get Enough Sleep 

Yes, it’s true; how much sleep you get at night can impact the health of your back! This happens for a few reasons. When you’re asleep, your muscles recover from the day’s activities. Lack of sleep will not give them enough time to recoup, resulting in back stiffness and pain. Poor sleep can also cause higher inflammation levels and cause several parts of the brain to be more receptive to pain signals. 

Busting Myths About Back Pain 

Many of the reasons why people suffer from back pain are because of the myths they believe. If you want to prevent unbearable back pain from occurring, you’ll want to learn the difference between fact and fiction. Below, we’ve listed some of the common myths people believe about back pain that can cause their condition to plateau – or even worsen. 

  • Staying in bed and resting helps with back pain 
  • Applying heat to a sore back helps with pain 
  • Back pain means you can’t do any of your favorite activities anymore 
  • Back pain requires surgery
  • Back pain is always caused by an injury

Experience the Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain 

Kiss your back troubles goodbye with stretches for lower back pain at Stretch Zone. Our practitioners are dedicated to helping you feel your best without aches and pains slowing you down. We’ll come up with the best treatment plan for you to get rid of your lower back discomfort in no time.  Book your FREE 30-minute session at Stretch Zone today! 

Assisted stretching practitioner doing hamstring stretch on senior female

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