About 31 million Americans experience low back pain at one point in their lives. Most cases of low back pain are not caused by serious injuries, but are developed over time. The three most common mistakes people make that prevent them from healing are: thinking medication will correct their underlying condition, thinking temporary back pain is not an issue, and that their problem is irreversible because they waited too long to seek treatment.
Waiting too long for proper care will cause inflammation to become chronic and cause tissue shortening, which in turn causes decreased flexibility and increased pressure on the site of muscle attachment. Using pain medication as a “band-aid” will only disguise the real issue at hand and create a possibility of reliance on drugs. The inflammatory process is essential in the healing process of any tissue. However, if left untreated scar tissue will begin to accumulate and normal functional movement will be inhibited resulting in altered posture, limited motion, and fatigue.
The most common causes of low back pain are postural instability caused by prolonged overloading of the muscle tissue, mechanical dysfunction such as a lateral shift or a leg length discrepancy, and a derangement such as a herniated disc or a small tear in a disc that may irritate nerve endings. If caught early enough, changes can be made to decrease the negative effect on our bodies and limit long term debilitation.
What do we do? We must decrease the inflammatory process and limit the amount of stress we put on our bodies every day. We must work smarter. Our spine is attached to three very important muscles: the diaphragm, the transverse abdominis, and the pelvic floor. If we can learn to strengthen these muscles and contract them when we perform daily activities, we will create stability in our back that will decrease pain tremendously. Our diaphragm is contracted upon minute inhalation. Secondly, our transverse abdominis is contracted when we are laying down and we flatten the arch in our back and bring our belly buttons to our spine. Lastly, we contract our pelvic floor when we contract the muscles we use to hold ourselves from going to the bathroom. If we can create stability in all three muscles, we will manage to create stability in our lumbar spine and decrease inflammation from overusing the muscles around our low back.
As we grow older, our bodies need to be taken care of more and more. By starting small and working smarter we will be able to improve our activities of daily living and our quality of life. Don’t wait until your pain takes over your life.
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Yumpu.com. “[PDF] Dutton s Orthopaedic: Examination, Evaluation and Intervention, Fourth Edition.” Yumpu.com, www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/63126753/pdf-dutton-s-orthopaedic-examination-evaluation-and-intervention-fourth-edition.
“Acute Low Back Pain.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 May 2020, www.cdc.gov/acute-pain/low-back-pain/index.html.