Low Back Pain

Low back pain is way too common.

A 2009 survey (Health, United States, 2010, by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that almost 30% of adults suffered back pain in the 3 months prior to being surveyed, and most of us have had an episode of back pain at least once in our lives. 

The spine is greatly affected by gravity (which of course, we are in 24 hours each day!).  Gravity creates compression in the discs, joints, and muscles.  So one goal with almost any person with back pain is to decrease compressible forces.  How?  Here are some easy ways:

  • Lie down in the middle of the day at least 5 minutes.  Preferably lie on your back on the floor, with either the knees bent or straight, and with little/ no pillow under your head.  This position is the least compressible for your back so it can deeply rest.
  • Drink water.  It’s a good idea for multiple reasons, including water hydrates the discs for better shock absorption and to optimize space between vertebrae for joint and nerve health.
  • When bending over, start at the hips, as if you are lifting the butt away from the back of the thigh.  If you don’t, then the back is left without any support and all the bending occurs in the lower back, which is too much force for just one area to hold.
  • When lifting, the old adage goes, “Bend from the knees, not from the back,” which is partly true.  We don’t want to bend the back during lifting, but if we bend the knees too much, all of our weight goes forward (and the weight of the object is pulling us forward), so that is too much leverage on the back.  Plus, the buttock muscles don’t work well, if all of the bending is from the knees.  So when bending to lift, bend from your hips, not your knees so much, keeping your butt back to counter the forward momentum of the load you are lifting.
  • Yes, it helps to have strong abs, but don’t forget to use the other parts of the core, like the deep spinal muscles which act like a zipper.  If you use them correctly, you will actually grow taller.  If you arch, you probably didn’t find the core; you probably used the superficial spinal muscles instead.  So as you exhale, try to grow your spine taller (especially helpful for posture and for lifting*).
  • Sit up straight.  Easier said than done for most of us.  What does that mean?  What does that feel like?  There should be curves with a “straight” back, but they shouldn’t be too big or too small.  The front and the back of the body should feel like they are working evenly.  The head should be over the spine.  Try standing in a door frame so that the sacrum (bone between buttocks), midback, and back of head all touch the door frame.  And the curves of the neck and low-back should be approximately 1-1 ½ “ away from the door frame, and those curves should be roughly the same size.  Feel natural?.   It can become natural.
  • Take a moment to breathe.  Sometimes we rush from thing to thing without stopping and checking in with ourselves.  Deep breathing can go a long way to quiet the nervous system and help any pain.

If these tips work for you, great!!  If you need something more, give me a call or send me an email, and let’s work together to give you a strong, beautiful back.

Call today for a back pain treatment with Anita!
Reach our Los Angeles / Beverly Hills Physical Therapy Office at: (310) 203-0100