“Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.” – Unknown
Vast numbers of people throughout the United States suffer from varying degrees of lower back pain. In fact, at least 80 percent of all adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and many of them will have lower back pain.
And back pain is not an equal-opportunity affliction.
It is estimated that while one out of four males will experience back pain, almost one-third of females will suffer from it.
Sitting Down to Work Can Be Crippling
As we’ve noted here, back pain is not at all uncommon.
According to information from the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University, nearly 65 million Americans reported a recent episode of back pain. In fact, the report noted that back pain is the sixth most costly condition in the United States.
However, brief or passing episodes of back pain, while undesirable, can be tolerated.
On the other hand, some 16 million adults — that’s 8 percent of all adults — experience persistent or chronic back pain, which often results in limited ability to engage in certain everyday activities.
As it turns out, one of the major causes and contributors to chronic back pain is extended periods of sitting. More than 54 percent of Americans who experience lower back pain spend most of their workday sitting.
And we are all probably familiar with the aggravating lower back pain that can arise from sleeping on a mattress that is either not a right fit for our bodies or is well past time for being replaced. According to WebMD, nighttime back pain is a special type of lower back pain that could indicate a serious problem with your spine.
Also, an article at Healthline noted that it may not be your mattress,
“Poor sleeping positions can put pressure on your spine, causing its natural curve to flatten. This can also cause back strain and uncomfortable pressure on your joints.”
The reality is that there are several possible causes for lower back pain, and chronic or recurring pain, in particular.
For example, our gait or how we walk, our posture – especially while sitting, our daily activities such as lifting or bending over frequently, and even the types of shoes we wear.
Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek fame, has noted in another one of his books,
“When you elevate the heels more so than you elevate the sole of the foot, you trigger a cascade of compensations in the knees and hips that cause tight hip flexors, and then those hip flexors cause lower-back pain.”
Treating Lower Back Pain Without Drugs
It’s important to keep in mind that if you are experiencing lower back pain, especially chronic or recurring pain, that something specific is causing it. In addition, there may be contributing factors, as well.
So, treating the pain can be a welcome relief while it lasts, but it will not resolve your back pain issue.
That being said, there are things you can do to deal with the pain. One source recommends the following,
“People with ongoing or recurrent episodes of lower back pain should consider the benefits of walking as a low-impact form of exercise. Aerobic exercise has long been shown to reduce the incidence of low back pain.”
Another source advises lower back pain sufferers who must sit at work to follow these steps:
- Sit as little as possible, and only for short periods of time (10 to 15 minutes).
- Sit with a back support (such as a rolled-up towel) at the curve of your back.
- Keep your hips and knees at a right angle. (Use a foot rest or stool if necessary.)
In addition, many experts recommend alternating between applying ice and heat to relax muscles. Also, the RICE protocol – rest, ice, compression, and elevation – is recommended within the first 48 hours of the onset of lower back pain.
A Proven Alternative for Treating Chronic Lower Back Pain
At Pain and Performance Solutions, we can often successfully diagnose your lower back pain by using an Anatomy in Motion, or AiM, assessment. This technique can assess your walking motion, or gait, which can directly impact the condition of your back.
The power of the AiM assessment is that it can connect your entire body’s movement and track any minor movement compensations. Because any back pain is usually just a symptom of an actual cause or dysfunction, the AiM assessment can help us determine the origin of your pain.
After we have completed an assessment and determined the underlying cause of your pain, there are a few different manual therapies such as Active Release Technique®, or ART®, that we can implement to relieve your pain. This is done by manual manipulation of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joint tissue and nerves.
Active Release Technique® was specifically designed to locate and treat scar-tissue adhesions in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues. Because of this it’s highly effective for many types of back pain. By locating these soft-tissue adhesions, we can break up restrictive scar-tissue and restore tissue flexibility and movement.
ART® can also increase range of motion in your back while improving blood flow through the tissues. In addition, it can help reduce or even eliminate chronic back pain.
In addition to manual therapies and, depending on the root cause, we may also make use of specialized exercises or physical therapy, as well as rest, ice, and heat to help relieve the pain.
Finding Relief from Chronic Lower Back Pain with Pain and Performance Solutions
When you first come to Pain and Performance Solutions, we will want to learn everything we can about your current pain along with any history of discomfort. This is because treating and relieving your lower back pain only starts once we understand where and how your pain started.
Once we have completed our verbal assessment and history, we will then provide you with a full examination. These steps will allow us to then determine the best form of treatment to help you along your road to recovery.
Often, when we experience pain, our bodies will try to compensate for this by making often subtle adjustments to minimize or avoid the pain. However, the result is that our bodies have actually shifted that pain around to compensate for our discomfort, this often leads to other areas of pain.
Finding chronic pain relief with therapies like Anatomy in Motion, or Aim, along with applying Active Release Technique® can only begin after we understand where your pain started. That could mean it started previously with another injury you might have sustained.
Your trust in us and your honesty are keys to our success. Ultimately, the only way to achieve total pain relief and recovery is by getting your body healthy and working properly.
Don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and answer any questions that you may have.