What causes of Lower Back Pain, & Treat it without medication!

Back painHaving a back pain is a very common problem that everyone of us experiences.  Whether you’re as young as 18 years old to as old as 70 years old, we all experience PAIN and those are the most  common causes:


1. Bending forward Constantly

For those people who usually work in the desk office or for those who just sit all the time, they have a high risk of having a low back pain, compare to those who are usually standing or moving a lot. That is because the pressure in your disc of the spine becomes greater compare to those who just stand, especially when you are stooping or bending forward. Your disc has a two-layer: The outer ring we called it the “Annulus Fibrosus” and it surrounds the gel-like content called the “Nucleus Pulposes”.  When there is a high pressure in the disc, the annulus fibrosis layer is degenerating, which eventually there is a tear and the nucleus pulposes will start to get out or in another word bulging and the moment it compresses the nerve, you will start to experience pain and other symptoms. Based on the mechanism of this injury, some people might have this condition called “DISC HERNIATION”.


 2.  Excessive Lumbar Lordosis

lordosis Based on this picture, another common cause of low back pain is when you have an Excessive Lumbar Lordosis also known as “Swayback”, which is very common in Pregnant women, Overweight or Obese person, Dancer and even  those Gym Lifting. The reason is that you might have  either one of those 4 problems: a weak Abdominal muscle, which is serving as your core muscle, weak gluteal and hamstring muscles (this muscle is located on the back of your thigh and butt), a tight hip flexors such as iliopsoas and rectus femoris (muscle that cover the front of your thigh) and the tight back extensor muscle.

With those problems, there will be a muscle imbalance which as a result your pelvis will tilt anteriorly or forward because of pulling downward by the hip flexor muscle, which as a consequence your lumbar spine will have an excessive curve known as lumbar lordosis. In there you will have excessive stress or pressure in the spine causing pain.


3. Scoliosis

scoliosis

As you can see this picture, patients who are diagnosed with scoliosis they tend to have back pain, whether it could be upper back, middle back or low back pain. This is because the curve in the spine will put an excessive pressure and stress on the supporting the spine, such as the disc, muscles, ligament, nerves and the facet joint. I will be explaining specifically the condition scoliosis in the next separate page.


4.  Muscle Back Strain or Ligament Sprain due to Overuse activity

Most of us have been participating in many activities, whether in the house or work that involve moving a lot, and some of us tend to experience pain afterward. This is because when we perform repetitive activities such as bending forward; lifting things; moving or twisting our trunk and many other activities, it will put a lot of stress on the muscle or ligament which eventually there will be microscopic tear or a small tiny tear in the muscle fiber tissue or ligament and that is when the person is starting to feel the pain.

In addition, having a weak back muscle will also not be able to provide support in the back which will further aggravate the tear. You just don’t get confused, if the muscle is involved, that is called “strain” but if it is the ligament is involved then we called it the “sprain”.


5. Poor Posture

Patients who have an incorrect posture and poor body mechanic may tend to experience back pain. This is because incorrect posture may promote muscle imbalance, which can increase the tension of the muscles in the back and if the tension is a prolonged period of time, then this will eventually produce pain. This is very common not only the way how you sit in a chair in the office, but also they way how you sleep as well. This makes sense that why some people who woke up after they slept for a long period of time will suddenly experience discomfort in their back. Patients who have an incorrect posture and poor body mechanic may tend to experience back pain. This is because incorrect posture may promote muscle imbalance, which can increase the tension of the muscles in the back and if the tension is a prolonged period of time, then this will eventually produce pain. This is very common not only the way how you sit in a chair in the office, but also they way how you sleep as well. This makes sense that why some people who woke up after they slept for a long period of time will suddenly experience discomfort in their back.

Another example of poor posture induces low back pain will be hamstring tightness. When there is tightness, this causes posterior pelvic tilt by pulling the pelvis down and away from the lumbar spine, which put significant stress on the spine producing back pain


6. Weak Core Stability

In here I would say this is the most common problem that is underestimated by the majority of the people. It is caused by having a weak core muscle. This is widely present in pregnant women, gym lifter, people who have laborious jobs, and those with a poor lifestyle. It is not necessary that you are diagnosed with conditions. In fact, it is mostly presence in healthy adults.

To know more about the role of core stability of the muscle, there is a separate page about this one under this link.


How to Treat your Low back pain

The best way to treat those kinds of problems is through the exercises. There is actually so many kinds of back exercises for low back pain. Some of those exercises depend on the patient’s conditions and it could confuse the clients. I am going to discuss you what kind of exercises you’re going to perform in the house based on the person’s condition to help relieve your Low back pain which includes stretching. It is very important that I must discuss the conditions because some back exercises are considered contraindication (A BIG NO) and they might promote further harm.

The procedures and steps which include the pictures on how to perform them will be discussed in a separate page based on each link of the given exercises.


1. WILLIAM FLEXION EXERCISE

This exercise is indicated for those who have excessive lumbar lordosis, weak abdominal and gluteal muscles. Also, when you are one of those people who were diagnosed with spinal stenosis; spondylolisthesis; Spondylolysis; or if you have a flexion biased, this exercise is perfect for you. For those who don’t know what is a flexion biased is, it means that when you bend forward your pain feels much relieved. However, if you bend backward, your pain will get worse, which will even  spread down to your thigh or even both of your leg.

This exercise will help reduce pain and promote lower trunk instability by strengthening the abdominal, gluteal muscle, stretch the hip flexor, hamstring and lower back muscle (sacrospinalis muscle).

Do not perform this exercise if you were diagnosed with posterior disc herniation or if your pain got worse when you bend forward.


2. STRETCH THE HAMSTRING TIGHTNESS

Having a tight hamstring is one of the common causes of having low back pain. This muscle attaches from the pelvis down to the back of the knee. When there is tight, this causes posterior pelvic tilt by pulling the pelvis down and away from the lumbar spine, which put significant stress on that spine and this is how it causes back pain. In addition, it also decreases the speed of walking and the length of the stride. However, the step length remains normal.

Usually in most cases when you have the tight hamstring, it is also accompanied by weak abdominal & gluteal muscles and tight hip flexors. If you wish to relieve your lower back pain, it will be better if you strengthen and stretch those affected muscles aside from just focusing the hamstring, so that you can accomplish a desirable effect of pain relief.


3. MCKENZIE EXTENSION EXERCISE

According to the recent research, this exercise is very effective for acute low back pain and those with chronic pain. If you were one of those people whose pain got worse when bending forward, but relieve by bending backward also known as extension-biased, this is the best exercise you can perform in the house.

This is very effective for disc herniation because McKenzie’s exercise is designed to encourage the displaced disc to move back into its correct position which will alleviate the pain and allow freer spinal movement. This exercise helps strengthens the back muscle and the same time stretches the abdominal muscle.


4. LUMBAR STABILIZATION EXERCISES

This exercise is very useful for those who have chronic low back pain regardless of what causes. It is used to activate both deep core and superficial global muscle. Research has shown that people suffered from chronic low back pain have weakened core muscles. The retraining of the core muscles allows for greater stability in the area and less stress on the structures of the lumbar spine. Improved core stability also provides a more stable base for the joints around the lumbar spine and pelvis, such as the hip, thus reducing the strain on the muscles moving those joints such as the adductors and hamstrings.

In addition, the more stable the lumbar spine and pelvis, the more power it can generate. That means the ability to do kick the ball, sprinting or jumping will be greater and stronger.

8 comments

  1. Lower back pain is something my wife has suffered from for a very long time now. Very uncomfortable for her and can be very random when the pain starts. She has been in and out of the hospital trying to get to the bottom of it and has found that exercise is the only thing that gives her some relief for it.

    1. Hey CarlM. Thanks for stopping by my website. As a Physical Therapist I do really believe that exercise is a natural medicine of all. In fact, there are a lot of research that indicate exercises and surgery produce the same benefits. Regarding your wife, if you dont mind If I can ask was she diagnosed by a doctor recently? I am saying that because the exercises depends on the patients condition. However, if she has only non-specific low back pain with normal X-ray or MRI. Then probably she has excessive lumbar lordosis or weak core muscle and this might cause chronic low back pain. You can check in my website on how to perform them. If you have any questions regarding the exercises or back pain, I will be gladly to answer them. Thank You.

  2. Hey Saif, this has been an eye opener for me. It’s funny I actually get more back pain from standing at work then I do sitting on my computer. But If I sit to long like at a movie I can get some back pain. I know exacltly why too. ONe I have a weak abdominal structure and Two I need to stretch my hamstrings. I have been letting all this go recently. Trust me it feels bad and I can’t really sleep at night. What should I do to get back into things? I hate this back pain.

    1. Hi Billy, well in that case you probably have weak core muscles and you need to strengthen them, you can check it in my site on how to strengthen the core muscles. Also do you have excessive lumbar curve at your back? If I am right, then having an excessive lumbar curve known as Lordosis is caused by weak abdominal muscles. In addition, you need to stretch your hip flexors muscle. You should strengthen your hamstring muscles instead. I hope it gave you a great ideas.

  3. Absolutely useful information all across the board. I see a chiropractor every two weeks and the information you provided is accurate to a tee, at least based off what my doctor is always saying! I am glad that you included the need for stretching those hamstrings. Upon my first chiro appointment, Dr. Johnson stretched out my legs and looked at me saying, “You have less than 50% flexibility in your hamstrings, and you need to do something about that.” I have since with a strong flexibility machine at the gym and my lower back pain has resided. Do you have working knowledge on today’s movement with standing desks in the working environment, or even at home?

    Curtis J. Pratt

    1. Hi curtis. Well I must say that using a “Standing desk” doesnt actually put a lot of stress in your back compare to sitting down. Just remember that the disc pressure is greatest when sitting compare to standing. If your concern is low back pain, standing desk would not be a burden, as long as your not having an awkward posture. However, despite of this you must be aware that standing for long time can increase risk of Varicose Vein, so it is still important to sit down for a few minutes to avoid putting a lot of soreness in your feet and leg. In the clinic, I see some patients who were diagnosed with Varicose Vein and their reason are usually standing for long time. I hope this give you an idea.

  4. Saif, really nice information here. The only problem I am having is the exclusion of pictures/diagrams in the exercise section. I learn these best from diagrams and videos, so may be you could include some for similar learners.

    I am promising to try some of these today. I went to a chiropractor some years ago and he stretched and twisted me until I thought I would break, but, all the back pain is gone. Nice job. Looking forward to more articles.

    1. Hi Josephine. Since you asked for the picture, I am going to upload today about me demonstrating these exercises. I will let you know as soon as possible. Thank you and it really means a lot.

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