What is the most common cause of back pain?

woman in pain centered in her back sitting at her desk

Suffering from back pain

Migraine pain, toothache pain, and back pain. They can all make your life miserable, but perhaps the back pain could be the absolute worst? Or at least while you’re suffering with it, it is. Is there back pain treatment that really helps though, medically, mentally, or physically?

If you’ve ever had back pain, you know how back pain affects daily life, and you’re almost willing to try anything to help. Most of us will use creams and ointments, Ibuprofen or muscle relaxers, heating pads, you name it. If it is presented to us, and our back pain is bad enough, we’ll try it. Even having somebody stand on your back while you lay face down on the floor.

What is back pain a sign of?

Lower back pain affects as many as 80% of us in this country at one time or another in our lives, with many of us experiencing more than once, and most of us, almost daily. As bad as it hurts and can even be debilitating, back pain is not a disease, nor is it, the pain itself, deadly. As many as 85% of us have searched for medical care for our back pain, there was nothing that identified the specific cause.  

What can be the cause of back pain?

There can be several underlying reasons a person has back pain, and there isn’t necessarily any specific cause for that pain, but in most cases, the pain will disappear. When back pain is more serious than the usual over-the-counter treatments do not help, it is recommended to seek advice and help from a trained health care professional that specializes in the back. 

For a full and proper diagnosis, evaluation, and possible treatment plan, it is always best to tall over your individual symptoms, describing the location and frequency of your back pain. Your medical professional will be better informed to suggest treatment for you.

What can I do to relieve my lower back pain?

There are two things that typically cause pain in the lower back:

  • An injury from physical activity
  • Wear and tear of the body aka arthritis

 The following 8 recommendations have been known to help back pain and even eliminate it for some:

Correct Posture While Active

Maintaining correct posture always and especially during physical activities is the best protection again back pain. Avoid slouching and aspire to keep the spine erect. When lifting, the rule is “lift with your knees” which means to bend with your knees, pick up the object, then straighten your knees. When moving side to side, move the hips as you twist.

Heat and Ice

When you have injured your lower back, apply ice the first 24 to 72 hours to ease the back pain and reduce the swelling. Then switch to heat to relax the tightened muscles. For chronic back pain in the lower area, heat is useful if it isn’t from an acute injury. Use the heat or ice treatment in 20 minutes increments. On 20 off 20. Any longer and you may risk skin damage. 

Muscle Stretch 

Stretching your back is a great help to acute or chronic back pain and can also help minimize future back problems. Our muscles are extended in directions every day and stretching exercises keep them limber. Suggested exercises for back pain relief and elimination: 

  • Pull knees up to the chest while flat on the back
  • Lay on back and outstretch arms so that you’re in a “T” position. Bend one knee and twist toward the straight leg, then reverse legs. Try to touch the floor with the bent knee as you twist
  • Stretch arms up overhead while laying on the stomach and lift your chest and legs up from the floor. Lay down flat again and repeat.  

Healthy Weight  

When we’re overweight, it puts pressure on the lower back because we’re carrying that extra weight on our spine.

Correct Posture While Sitting

Proper posture while sitting will help avoid back pain in the lower area. While sitting at your desk, keep your feet on the floor and choose a chair that back supports. Avoid the computer hunch that we’ve all become accustomed to the past 20 years or so and keep your screen and mouse in close reach to avoid stretching too far the wrong way.

Proper Footwear 

Our overall posture can be improved with proper and supportive footwear. It increases our stability while minimizing the risk of back pain. Mis sized and unsupportive shoes are worn frequently or for long periods puts pressure on the lower spine and makes it subjective to back pain.

Be Active

When you have back pain, it is tempting to lay in bed, and that is the worst thing you can do. The more you move around and do stretching exercises described earlier, the quicker your back will heal. You want to move within a comfort zone and avoid anything too strenuous.

OTC Pain Medication

There are many different anti-inflammatories (OTC) over-the-counter pain medications to choose from today. From basic aspirin to ibuprofen and naproxen. These are all great for back pain and will reduce swelling. Maintain a routine pattern of taking them to get the most benefit for several days.  If after four to six weeks, if the back pain has not improved or has gotten worse, you should make an appointment with your personal medical professional.

Other options when back pain is more serious than these 8 suggestions can help, your doctor may set you up with a physical therapy program or a pain management program. Another option for some is cortisone injections and in severe back pain matters, surgery may be required.

Does stretching help back pain?

Yes! A regular routine of stretching will help loosen your back muscles, get rid of any existing back pain, and strengthen your back. This will minimize the chances of future back pain!

What helps back pain naturally?

These six remedies are often overlooked when it comes to relieving back pain:

  1. Release your body’s inner endorphins, the natural hormones we all have that can help block signals of pain from the brain.  
  2. Get enough sleep so that your body can restore its healing powers.
  3. Exercise your body’s core, the abs, and back, so they can do their job supporting the lower spine.
  4. Engage your brain by developing brain skills that teach it to ignore some pains.
  5. Do activities that make you happy at least 3 times a day.
  6. Stretch your hamstrings two times a day.
seeking chiropractic help to resolve back pain

 What exercises help back pain?

  • Create a bridge by laying on your back, knees bent, feet hip-distance wide and flat on the floor.  Breath in deep and as you exhale, lift your hips up there is a straight angle between your knees and shoulders hips. Hold 5 seconds then lower slowly and repeat. 
  • Pelvic tilt exercise by starting with a small cushion/pillow under your head. With knees bent and feet hip-wide, flat to the floor. Relax the upper body and tuck chin in. Flatten your back gently to the floor and contract your tummy muscles. Gently arch your back by tilting your pelvis toward your heels then return to the original position.
  • Stretch the lower back by getting on your hands & knees, with your knees right under your hips, placing your hands under your shoulders. Keep your spine in a neutral position and your head lined up with your spine, Keep shoulders back and elbows lose. Take a deep breath and you let the breath out, push your bottom to our heels slowly. Hold that position 20 seconds then return slowly to the original position.

You can look at relieving your back pain yoga poses too, which you can find a class to attend so you have one-on-one help and others around you or find them on the internet. You can find more back exercises, too! The number one thing to avoid back pain is to always exercise, stretching especially. Keeping your muscles loose and mobile will always help. Once you have back pain, keep moving and keep exercising to keep it from getting worse or returning. Dial (717) 263-8919 today to schedule your chiropractic appointment to reduce back pain in Chambersburg, PA.