Tips For Dealing With Lower Back Pain
By Robert Greenleaf, MD, Spine Surgeon
Lower back pain is extremely common and one of the top reasons for missed workdays. Thats because the lower back supports the weight of the upper body and is subject to a lot of stress and strainespecially during everyday movements like lifting and twisting.;
One of two things typically causes lower back pain: a sudden injury or the wear and tear of aging, arthritis and physical activity. No matter the cause of your lower back pain, here are 10 recommendations that can help you relieve it and prevent future problems. ;
Sleep On A Quality Mattress
Lower back pain sufferers usually benefit from sleeping on a medium-firm mattress. However, your preferred sleep position also should influence your mattress selection. To maintain good posture, side sleepers should select a softer mattress. Back and stomach sleepers should choose a firmer mattress. If you have lower back pain, its a good idea to avoid sleeping on your stomach altogether.;
If your lower back pain doesnt improve after 4 to 6 weeks of home care using these suggestions, you should see your doctor. You also should contact your doctor right away if you have any red flags, including:;
- A history of cancer or a recent infection;
- A recent fall or other accident;
- Extreme fatigue;
- Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, sweats;
- Nerve problems, such as shooting pain, numbness or tingling;
- Changes in bowel or bladder function;
Other options for treating lower back pain may include physical therapy, pain management with cortisone injections or, in certain cases, surgery. Although lower back surgery can be beneficial for patients who are experiencing nerve problems and injured discs, its not typically recommended for patients with other types of lower back pain.;
Download the Virtua Health Guide to Back Pain, or call to request a consultation with a Virtua back pain specialist.
Getting The Perfect Chair
Massage chairs can perform many different massages on the body, such as:
- Shiatsu massage
Each chair is designed to focus on lower back pain, upper back pain, or both. For more information on the massage chair, you should read this page.
Other than the back pain location, the ideal massage chair also takes into account your body size, weight, and activities you plan to engage in while seated.
Prior to making a purchase, check out what is currently on the market, or consult an expert. Undertaking these steps helps improve your choice of a massage chair, and you get value for your money.
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Emotional First Aid Kit
An emotional first aid kit can provide an immediate, although temporary, positive effect on the way we think and feel.; Having an emotional first aid kit readily available can help people who are struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety, low self esteem, or other mental and emotional issues.;;
What Can Cause A Tight Lower Back
Sports injuries, overtraining, and accidents can cause your back to feel tight. Even everyday activities such as sitting can cause tightness.
Often you develop tightness in the lower back to compensate for an issue in another part of the body. Tight hamstrings and gluteus muscles can also contribute to this tightness. Having poor posture or using incorrect form while lifting weights or having weak core muscles can also play a part.
There are several other factors that can lead to or complicate a tight lower back. These include:
- sprains and strains
Youll typically see improvements within two to six weeks of doing daily exercises. You should see a doctor if:
- your pain doesnt improve within a few weeks
- you have intense pain while doing the exercises
- the pain spreads to your legs
Also see a doctor if you experience any numbness, swelling, or severe pain. Your doctor can help to determine if any pain or tightness is being caused by an underlying condition.
There are many lifestyle changes you can practice to help prevent lower back pain. Here are a few guidelines and tips:
- Adopt a balanced, healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
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Relaxation Techniques For Natural Pain Relief
Relaxation exercises calm your mind, lower the amount of stress hormones in your blood, relax your muscles, and elevate your sense of well-being. Using them regularly can lead to long-term changes in your body to counteract the harmful effects of stress.
Don’t get stressed trying to pick the “right” relaxation technique for natural pain relief. Choose whatever relaxes you, like music, prayer, gardening, going for a walk, or talking with a friend on the phone. Here are some other techniques you might try:
Easy Ways To Reduce Stress Naturally And Quickly
High on stress and in need of proven, quick ways to reduce stress naturally? If you said yes, then youre in luck because Im covering 20 effective ways to reduce stress naturally and quickly.
All of these techniques are simple and can be used when short on time. Most can be utilized anywhere, including at work.
And the best part is that they arent just natural stress relievers but will also help you keep stress levels low in the long-term.
To help you out further, be sure to download 5-Minute Stress Solutions, a free resource that will take you step-by-step through proven mindset and stress management strategies for less stress, more emotional control.
Theres lots to cover, so lets get started.
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How To Stop Anxiety From Causing Further Back Pain
Under the assumption that your back pain is caused by anxiety, treating that back pain does require a focus on the pain itself. Unfortunately, while treating anxiety can reduce your back pain in the long term , breaking the cycle of back pain depends in large part on your ability to also fight the back pain itself. Consider the following tips:
These are all traditional ways to deal with back pain unrelated to anxiety, but they’re still effective because once back pain starts, it needs to be stopped using traditional methods.
But of course, controlling your back pain is only step one. You will still need to learn ways to cope with anxiety so that you can stop your anxiety back pain from occurring again.
Anxiety causes muscle tension, inactivity, changes in posture, and other changes that can all lead to back pain. The pain is real, so over the counter painkillers, stretching, and similar treatments might be needed to eliminate the pain. In the long term, it becomes important to stop the anxiety.;
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Effect Of Massage Therapy For Stress And Social Anxiety
Scientific studies have revealed some interesting results regarding the relationship between massage therapy and migraines. It has been found that the treatment provided to individuals with migraines provides relief from both the symptoms and frequency of both the symptoms. In one study, seventy-five patients who underwent massage therapy from a qualified massage therapist were able to reduce their number and severity of migraines. Another study by a different group of researchers discovered that people with migraines who performed 15 minutes of daily massage therapy had a significant reduction in the number and intensity of symptoms experienced.
In one study found that there was a significant improvement in mood and general well being among women who participated in massage therapy for depression. In addition, participants were able to stop feeling isolated due to the existence of co-workers who understood their situation and who offered support. Another study found that participants who participated in massage therapy had a significantly lower incidence of social anxiety. Social anxiety is characterized by severe panic symptoms and often leads to other problems such as depression or drug abuse. This condition is also associated with significant increases in the occurrence of insomnia, which is another potential cause of depression.
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Tips To Relieve Stress And Tension
Whether you are at work or at home, it is common to feel stress and tension. Today, people are often called on to do more with fewer resources. They are faced with more responsibility and more deadlines to get their tasks done. The health of your neck may be at risk with these mounting pressures. But scientists have helped us learn that we have a defense against these mounting pressures the Three Rs for easing tension and reducing neck pain at home and work:
- Rest Take frequent breaks during the work hour, and choose alternate activities such as deep breathing, walking, napping, or exercising to get your mind ready for a new job task.
- Relaxation Take a load off. Lie back. Turn down the lights, and listen to your favorite tape or CD. Breath slowly and deeply, allowing your abdomen to rise and fall rhythmically. Using visual imagery can also aid in relaxation. Try to visualize each muscle relaxing one after another.
- Recovery Repeated and prolonged activities can take their toll if your body does not get a chance to recover. Recovery helps repair sore, aching tissues along the way, keeping them healthy.
Here are some additional tips you can use to avoid tension at work and keep your back and neck healthy:
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Stretching To Relieve Back Pain: A Practical Guide
At this very moment, there are tens of millions of people wishing there were a magical cure for back pain. After all, back pain is the single leading cause of disability in the world, with experts estimating that upwards of 80% of the population will at one time or another experience back pain. Further, Americans alone spend an estimated $50 billion per year on back pain.
While no one magical cure exists, for many people suffering from back pain, there is an easy and inexpensive way to find relief from back pain. Its exercise, and this is a comprehensive guide to exercise for back pain relief.
An exercise program for back pain is one that must be carefully undertaken. When done in a controlled and gradual manner, exercising can help keep the ligaments, discs, muscles, and joints of the back healthy. However, when done in an uncontrolled and overly aggressive manner, exercising may worsen back pain or cause new injuries.
A successful exercise program for lessening or eliminating back pain has three components: low-impact aerobic exercise, stretching and strengthening. Though the back is obviously the focus of the majority of the exercises, the program will work the entire body in order to improve overall strength and health, which will positively impact the spine.
If you have a pre-existing back issue or any other health condition, you may want to consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise for Back Pain Relief
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Addressing The Source Of The Spasm
How To Remove All Tension From Your Body
This article was co-authored by Justyna Kareta. Justyna Kareta is a Certified Master Massage Therapist and Owner of Lush Massage, a massage studio based in San Francisco, California. Justyna has over nine years of experience as a therapist and specializes in Lomi Lomi Hawaiian Massage and CranioSacral Therapy to soothe the nervous system and facilitate deep healing. She received her massage therapy training from the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, is certified by California Massage Therapy Council, and is a member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.There are 25 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 15 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 438,440 times.
In todays hectic world, tension is a common ailment experienced by many people. Caused by stress and anxiety, both intermittent and chronic tension can be a literal pain for anyone. If you suffer from tension, however, there are several options that can help to alleviate it.
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How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Occasionally the cause of chronic lower back pain is difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.
Blood tests ;are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and/or arthritis.
Bone scans;can detect and monitor an infection, fracture, or bone disorder. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and collects in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.
Discography;involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluids pressure in the disc will reproduce the persons symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.
Electrodiagnostics;can identify problems related to the nerves in the back and legs. The procedures include:
In Order To Relieve Lower Back Pain When Sitting On The Couch Many Of The Same Principles Described In The Sections Above Will Apply:
- In general, you want your lower back flat, and your hips and knees bent around a 90 degree angle, for some people a little more and for others a little less. If your feet don’t touch the floor when your back is flat against the backrest, prop your feet up on a stool or ottoman as shown in the picture.
- Alternatively, you can sit sideways on the couch with your lower back flat against the armrest and your feet out on the couch. Put a pillow under your knees to again help bend your hips closer to a 90 degree angle from your body
- Using arm rests or pillows will help take some stress off of your neck and upper back. The weight of your shoulder blades and arms hang from muscles attached to your neck, so supporting your arms will help take some stress off of your neck.
Learn more about how to sit on a couch or in a recliner without back pain or sciatica.
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How Anxiety Causes Back Pain: And How To Stop It
- Anxiety, especially chronic anxiety, commonly leads to back pain
- Muscle tension may be the primary cause, but there are other supplementary anxiety symptoms that could also cause back pain
- Simple lifestyle changes can reduce some of the back pain
- One simple change: posture, which can be affected by anxiety in several ways
- Eliminating back pain from anxiety, specifically, traditionally requires anxiety treatments
How Is This Treated
As Tension Myositis Syndrome is both mental and physical in nature, it requires a multidisciplinary approach to treat it. The four factors in this are physical, emotional, cognitive, and environmental.
Physically, a specialist will work with you to loosen up the affected muscles, using a combination of stretches and other physical exercise routines, such as walking. Emotional and cognitive factors will both be treated with therapy, but with a clear distinction between the two. Emotional issues refer to how you feel, whether your are depressed, angry, anxious etc. Cognitive refers to your way of thinking, and whether you are too pessimistic, or focusing on what could go wrong, rather than how to fix your current situation. Finally, environmental factors are those external influences that affect your life. This could include your living situation, or your career, for example. These factors would need to be identified and then steps taken to bring about permanent change.
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How Do We Treat Reaction/stress Fracture
Physiotherapy has been highlighted to be an effective treatment for lower back stress reaction / fracture. Treatment aims to reduce pain, restore range of movement, develop core stability and functional strength.
Therefore, we utilise a combination of the following treatment methods:
- Initial period of rest to offload structures which varies for severity and sporting type.
- Bracing / Taping to limit lower back extension and offload the painful structures.
- Manual therapy to improve soft tissue flexibility for example hip flexors/hamstrings and spinal mobility of the mid back aiming to reduce stiffness.
- Exercise rehabilitation including range of motion, flexibility, core stability, strength and kinetic chain control training.
- Cardiovascular exercise using an individualised gradual progressive return to play programme including aerobic conditioning and functional sports specific rehabilitation.
- Advice on pain management, sporting technique, and posture.
It must be noted that treatment duration will vary for different sports and severity of injury to prevent overload. Usually athletes will return to sport between 4-6 months but may be longer in more severe cases.
If you feel your child may have lumbar stress reaction / fracture and would like one of our Chartered Physiotherapists to help you please call us or use the button below.