Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. is founder of Better Health Chiropractic in Anchorage. Below is a guest post he has written on How to Prevent Lower Back Pain.
Back pain is terrible to deal with. Especially in the lower back.
If it is bad enough it will hurt to walk, stand, sit, lie down, stretch, lean, reach, roll over, carry things or set things down.
Low back pain can impair your mobility. This type of back pain is the leading cause of disability. Worldwide, more than half a billion people have lower back pain.
With this problem being so ubiquitous, you may wonder if you can do something to prevent it. Or if you will inevitably be condemned to suffer with it at some point in the near or distant future (assuming you do not have it now).
In terms of what you can do about it, first and foremost, you need to take action to attack it. Do not take it laying down.
The Complete Guide To Prevent Lower Back Pain
If you have lower back pain, you may be inclined to lie down. However, lying down is terrible for idopathic back pain (back pain of unknown origin.)
You may think that lying down takes pressure off of your back. But, in reality, you don’t know what hurts. It could be muscles, joints, nerves or some combination thereof.
Lying down, especially for long periods of time at frequently repeated intervals will unfortunately weaken the muscles in your back – which will probably only further exacerbate the underlying condition.
Is Walking Good for Lower Back Pain?
Instead of lying down, get active by taking a walk. Do not overdo it. You are not trying to prepare for a marathon.
Wear shoes that support your arches, that are comfortable and not worn down.
Also, go walking with someone else.This helps in two ways. You are more likely to walk more when walking with someone else. Also, in case of emergency, there is someone there to help.
Keep to relatively flat paths. Try to avoid stairs. If walking with your dog, make sure Fido is not tugging too hard on the leash.
Emotional Stress and Back Pain
To help you remain active, find a purpose. Lying in bed, in pain and staring at the wall or ceiling, is a great way to lose a sense of value and purpose.
This opens up the door to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, all of which could further complicate and worsen your existing pain.
Some people derive a great deal of joy, fulfillment and purpose from their work. If that describes you, stay at work as best you can.
Do things there that can help mitigate your pain. Invest in comfortable chairs and standing desks. Take a walk during your break.
Maintain friendships and workplace relationships. If work does not do it for you then cultivate relationships, activities and time outside of work.
Find a hobby or further invest in a hobby that you enjoy. Spend time with friends and family. Volunteer, reach out to those less fortunate. Join a support group for back pain sufferers.
Do something or many things that you enjoy and draw purpose from.
Core Strengthening Exercises for Lower Back Pain
To help you lower back pain, you may also need to focus on exercise, specifically to strengthen your core.
Now, you may be thinking you do not want to exercise because of the pain.
However, a poorly toned core could be what is causing your pain in the first place. For best outcomes, you should be within 10 pounds of your ideal body weight.
To exercise effectively, lie down on the floor or mattress. Pull up your legs by bending your knees, and resting your feet flat on the floor.
Use your hands to slowly pull one knee up towards your chest until your lifted foot can rest against the other knee.
Slowly release, letting the leg go back to the initial resting position. Repeat 5 to 10 times with both legs. Then try it with both legs simultaneously. Do this 5 to 10 times.
Finally, go back to the resting position, and flex your back so that your lower back makes full contact with the bed or the floor. Do this 5 to 10 times.
Stop if at any time you experience shooting pain in your lower back, hips or legs, or a burning sensation in your back.
Do these exercises every day, slowly increasing the number of repetitions.
Lifestyle Changes for Back Pain
Attend to your general health. There are a few others things you can do to help with your overall health, which will also reduce your lower back pain.
- Lift with your legs, not with your back
- Stand upright. Correct posture is crucial for back and spine health
- Breathe using your gut.
- Modify your wardrobe. Skinny jeans can pinch and cause neuromuscular irritation. High heels can strain your legs and thus your back.
- A fat wallet in your back pocket can cause you to sit awkwardly.
- Switch to a messenger bag that can be worn over an opposite shoulder. (This will reduce lower back strain.)
When To See A Doctor for Back Pain
As always, before following Internet advice, check with your doctor first. If you have any of the following symptoms, along with back pain, definitely seek medical help right away.
- Pain with fever, especially if it is recurrent or relapses
- Pain that is constant, but does not get better or worse
- Numbness or tingling in your groin
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Weakness in your legs or hips
An Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Back Pain
(Here’s what Dr. Wells says about clean eating, and following an anti-inflammatory diet.)
“An anti-inflammatory diet is highly recommended for those suffering from back pain. Back pain is a complex condition caused by a variety of reasons. While your doctor or chiropractor will know what care plan is best for you, an anti-inflammatory diet can only help in the long run.”
Here are his tips for an anti-inflammatory food plan:
- The typical anti-inflammatory diet cuts back on processed foods and instead focuses on fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and olive oil.
- Studies show this diet has significant impact on reducing back and joint pain.
- He suggests reading the following link. https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory-diet.php
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
More About Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic in Anchorage to help clients live pain-free and quality lives. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada and received his doctorate from the Western States Chiropractic College located in Portland, Oregon. When not with his family, continuing his professional education, or helping at the clinic, he can usually be found doing something community-centered or playing blues/rock guitar.