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Low Back Pain - At Home Remedies

DID YOU KNOW...

  1. Low back pain is the SINGLE leading cause of disability worldwide?

  2. In 2020, low back pain affected 619 MILLION people globally?


So, if you have back pain, you are not alone!!


Below, you will find my favorite ways to help your back pain on your own, BUT... We always recommend getting evaluated by a professional before starting any low back pain treatment!

 

STRENGTHEN...


Your Core:

  • And I am not talking about sit ups!! Your core plays such an important part in your stability. You have layers and layers of core muscles, including your rectus abdominis (your '6 pack' muscles), your obliques (which help you bend side to side), and your transverse abdominis (which helps keep everything tight). By strengthening all areas of your core, you are providing more stability to your back, therefore taking a little bit of load off of your spinal muscles and discs.

  • Core exercises are much more than just sit ups, they are bird dogs, dead bugs, framers walks, Pallof presses, and learning how to control your deep core. I would always recommend working with a personal trainer/qualified chiropractor/qualified personal trainer to help you go over these exercises, make sure you are doing them correctly, and help create a plan for you from there.

Your Glutes/Stability Leg Muscles:

  • Just like with your core, creating a strong base can help with back pain. Having strong glutes is more than just aesthetic, it is functional and vital to our everyday lives. How many times do you get up out of a chair? Stand up off the toilet? Walk? Balance? Yes, LOTS! These all utilize a strong base. Instead of relying on your back muscles to function, build up a strong base and take some of the load off.

  • My favorites includes: deadlifts/single leg deadlifts, hip thrusts/glute bridges, and glute Medius exercises, which help with both strength and stability. These muscles also can help with stability. Again, I would recommend working with a professional to help make a plan that suits YOU and YOUR unique needs

 

LENGTHEN...


Your Hip Flexors: If you sit all day, as most of you do, your hip flexors need a little love. Your hip flexors help flex your hip, as if you were marching. These stay in a shortened position while you sit, so it is common to find tight hip flexors in most people.


Your Hamstrings: As with your hip flexors, your hamstrings are in a shortened position while sitting, so they might need a little love, too. Your hamstrings attach your pelvis to your knees, so imagine a tight string pulling on the back of your hips all day. Can you see why tight hamstrings can cause some back pain? Let's lengthen them.


Your Spinal Muscles: A-g-a-i-n, if you are sitting all day, your back gets a little arched over time. Give your spinal muscle some care, too. Most of your spinal muscles run up and down along your spine. Things like cat cows, prone press ups, or side bending can help promote blood flow to the area.


Find a professional to help show you these stretches, and then do them daily. Set a timer at work, every hour, get up, walk around, perform 2 minutes of light stretching, then get back to it. Your back will thank you!


 

STOP...


Smoking: If there is one habit that has a direct correlation with low back pain, it is smoking. As a chiropractor, it is not in my scope to tell you directly to quit smoking or help you manage that, so find a great doc to help discuss your quitting options together. Your low back (and everything else in your body) will thank you.


Sitting So Much: Okay, sitting all day is not the new 'smoking' like people make it out to be, but I would say that it is probably not the best thing in the world for you. Instead of focusing on habits while you are sitting, focus on things you can do around your work. Things like a morning mobility routine, setting work break timers for a quick walk and stretching, exercising during the day, and focusing on getting your steps in. My best advice I tell patients, is try to not stay in the same position for more than an hour or so. This is when muscles start locking up, stiffness settles in, and you get that ache from sitting so much. Get a timer, set it for 'X' number of minutes. On short breaks, get up, touch the ceiling, touch your toes, twist your spine, and you are good to go. On longer breaks, go for a 5 minute walk, stretch something else, etc. This will help you exponentially!


 

START...


Exercising: This one does not need a crazy long explanation. The benefits of exercise go on and on. Find something that works for you.. whether running, weight lifting (my favorite), yoga, and Pilates. My criteria: it makes you sweat, it increases your heart rate, and it challenges you. Please don't start yourself, find a personal trainer or a home program that can help guide you to prevent injury!


Walking: As with exercise, low intensity walking has just as many perks. It hydrates our discs, circulates our veins and lymphatic system, helps our heart, our cognitive function, boosts metabolism, and much more!! Let's focus on your discs. Your discs don't have a great blood supply, so things like walking help hydrate them. De-hydrated discs are a big factor behind LBP. I love the idea of getting 6,000 steps in a day. On average, people take 1,000 steps in 10 minutes. That is only 6 - 10 minute walks a day! I know you can do it.


Seeing a Professional: Yes, please! I think it is so important to get your pain properly evaluated by a chiropractor or physical therapist. They can tell you a) where your pain could be coming from, b) lifestyle factors effecting it, and c) a great treatment plan. We would love to help you :)


Sleeping More: A poor nights sleep has a DIRECT correlation with low back pain. When you don't sleep, you don't heal and repair. When you don't heal, your pain increase. It is a cycle. Please, prioritize sleep over TV, Instagram, and even exercise! I would choose a good night's sleep over just about anything. If you have trouble sleeping, work with a professional to help get you going. I love supplements like valerian root, L-theanine, and chamomile to boost natural sleep. Make sure to lightly stretch before bed, hydrate, and sleep in a cool, dark room.


Eating More Anti-Inflammatory: You're telling me that FOOD can cause low back pain?? It might not be the #1 reason, but it can definitely be a contributing factor! Think about it.. everything you eat is what makes you, you. Your body literally uses food to make itself. Would you rather have a body built on fast food and pop? Or healthy foods? Now, you don't need to switch everything you eat immediately, start small, but I would always recommend incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. A diet high in inflammatory foods leads to.. well, inflammation. And you know what causes pain? Yes, inflammation.


 

ALSO TRY..


A Lumbar Support: Your lumbar curve points towards your belly button, meaning it curves into your body, instead of outwards (like your midback). When we sit, we put a weird pressure of forces onto our lumbar spine. If you sit often, especially while driving, I would recommend adding in some extra lumbar support. You can buy one online, or you can take a towel/sweatshirt/blanket, roll it up to where it is about 3-4 inches in diameter (but larger than 1.5 inches when compressed). This can help take some pressure off your lumbar spine and help with natural disc curvature.


A TENS Units: I love recommending TENS unit to people. It is similar to electrical stimulation, in that you put pads around the area of pain, and an electrical current is sent through to help with pain signals. While it is not a direct healing agent, it can help promote blood flow, reduce pain and inflammation, and it is cheap and easy to use. Obviously do not use it without doing some more research on if you are a good candidate, but they can be helpful for low back pain flair ups!


Heat: Love heat! Heat helps increase blood flow, relaxes muscles, and can improve muscle tone. I love moist heat, like Epsom salt baths and moist hot packs the most. The increase in blood flow can bring healing nutrients to the area. I usually recommend heat for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.


 

WOW! That was a lot! Please don't be overwhelmed. This is a very non specific list of my favorite ways to treat low back pain. I always always recommend getting evaluated to find out the cause of your back pain and what treatments are best for you, but this is a great list to get started!


As chiropractors, we like to think we are experts in back pain! We would love to see you. Book HERE!


Dr. Kenzie

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