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Stop Low Back Pain Dead in its Tracks

Lower back pain

Some things in life are a near certainty. Low back pain might possibly be in that list. Chances are that you have already experienced one or more episodes of lower back pain. In the rare case that you haven't, consider yourself lucky and snag a lottery ticket. At some point in our lives we will all face that certain truth of back pain. It will either whimper or shout from the top of its lungs. In either case that talking back pain should be listened to and at all costs refuse to let it take control of your life. Most episodes of lower back pain in our first decades of life are short lived, and most times we ignore it because the pain disappears so quickly. The last thing you should do is ignore the pain because when pain becomes more frequent it is an alarming WARNING SIGN that something needs attention. In our 20s-40s our spinal health is relatively good for most individuals. However, when we test the limits we elicit stress that could be irreparable conservatively as we enter into our 50s-60s. A major limitation to the human spine lies in our makeup. In our mid 40s those healthy spines that we test repeatedly (because we didn't listen to them) leap into a metamorphosis in the wrong direction. Our discs begin the inevitable process of drying up...This drying process creates around a decade of high vulnerability to bulging discs because of instability within the makeup of the discs. This is why there is such a large jump in the occurrence of bulging discs of people in their 40s and 50s. Bulging discs in our 20s or 30s typically occur from traumatic events while bulges in our 40-50s can simply be while bending forward to tie our shoes. This vulnerable period lasts for about a decade until the discs go through yet another metamorphosis (and we're not talking about becoming a butterfly!). At this phase they start to thin out beyond return. This rampant thinning of our discs rapidly increases the presence of stenosis and degenerative joint/disc dysfunction. Now don't let this terminology deter you from sliding into the golden years. Of a sample of 100 people in their 60s nearly 75% of them would show evidence of these conditions, however, only 25% of those would actually report back pain. How many of that 25% would require surgery? Only 1-2%. How many develop chronic lower back pain? Only 5-10%. So what's the take home message? Aging is inevitable, degenerative conditions are inevitable, disabling low back pain is NOT INEVITABLE!! There are numerous ways to promote a healthy spine. The first is LISTEN AND TAKE ACTION when your pain is recurring. Even if the pain is minimal! Take these actions to help curb lower back pain

  • Avoid Sitting Still for Periods of More Than 20 Minutes

  • The human body was not designed to sit for long periods. Life, jobs, and hobbies have directed us to the point we think it is the norm but this is far from the truth. Your spine is under much greater stress in a sitting position than it is standing and moving. Limit sitting to 20 minute intervals, set a phone alarm for twenty minutes, and then simply get up out of your chair and move around for 60 seconds.

  • Make Sure Your Work Chair Supports Your Lower Back

  • Most work chairs will offer little to no support to the back or even worse, offers “curvature” that simply isn’t created for your body type. A sound work chair should extend upwards at least to your shoulder blades. It should have a subtle outward curve into the lower part of the chair close to the seat. If you feel your chair doesn’t have adequate curvature try rolling up a towel and securing the ends with rubber bands. Place the towel in the lower arch of your back and rest up against it.

  • Drink Plenty of Water

  • Don’t medicate, HYDRATE! A large amount of fatigue can simply come from dehydration. This general body fatigue wreaks havoc with your spine and the muscles that support it. Not to mention, that the discs that cushion the bones of your spine are composed of nearly ALL water! Dehydration can also result in chronic pain and dizziness. Stop expecting all that excessive coffee, tea, colas, and sport/energy drinks to supply you with the “get up and go” effect. Used in abundance these create the opposite effect and wear us down through dehydration. Water is the easy source here but don’t forget what makes plants thrive ---WATER!! They are loaded with it, so eating plenty of fruits and vegetables packs the water into our bodies.

  • Use Sound Lifting Mechanics