Top Tips To Help Your Lower Back Pain
Lower Back Pain Sucks
If it’s chronic, it can colour your whole life, affect your sleep, work, what you do, and even something simple like going out. If this affects you, here are some simple tips from our massage therapists on how to reduce the pain.
Ouch! Lower back pain can really hurt, from a constant dull ache to shooting pain.
If you have it for more than 24 hours your first stop is your local doctor to get it checked out. It could be something as simple as pulled muscle or something more serious.
So, don’t dodge your doc! Go sit in the waiting room with the ten-year-old copies of National Geographic and get some advice on what could be causing the pain.
2. Flat Earth
Lifted something heavy? Muscle strain is a probable cause of the pain. The most obvious thing to do is lie flat on your back on a firm surface, and pull your knees up to your chest … this will take the pressure off your back and give you some temporary relief.
3. Be like a cat yoga pose
This is one we loved when we were pregnant to reduce the stress on the lower back. On all fours, stretch your back up like a cat, and then curl it back down so your back arches. Fantastic way to gently stretch the muscles. Repeat five times and usually your back will stop complaining.
4. Hot Stuff
Sore backs love heat! So, load it up with hot water bottles, heat packs, standing under a hot shower, baths with Epsom Salts. Anything to get the heat into the muscles to relax them and help take away the pain. The heat will increase blood flow and promote healing, things your back will love.
A common cause of back pain is a bulging disk that pushes against the sciatic nerve that runs from the back down the leg. You will often feel not only radial pain in your back but also in your legs as well. See your doc if you think this might be the cause.
This is a muscle that stretches across your buttock and the sciatic nerve runs underneath it. These two can sometimes tag team WWE style to cause you have pain that radiates from across your lower back.
If your piriformis is tight and presses on the sciatic nerve, it can cause your back to spasm and send general “not happy” signals to your brain. There is a very simple stretch you can do to help loosen this muscle, massage is also a way that we can loosen it and give your sciatic nerve the room it needs to function normally.
So, whilst you might not be a yoga junkie, stretching this each morning might help keep it loose enough to break up the happy romance between your piriformis and sciatic pain.
A common cause of back pain may not necessarily be the disks or muscle pain, it could be your kidneys. If you generally abuse your body with alcohol, cigarettes, soda drinks and junk food, the source of your problem could be sore kidneys.
This may be the cue for your body to be not-so-gently asking you to take a little more care of it.
Again, consult the doc if you are unsure, but maybe a week with no booze and instead a diet of water and healthy veg may be just what your body needs to reduce the “please help” pain signals your back is sending to you.
Smoking can also add to osteoporosis which can cause general back pain. This might be the push you need to quit (plus save all that money on then indulging your body with some pampering .. win/win).
Well you knew we were going to mention this, but only because it is one of the best things to help muscles relax and stop spasming.
Not great if the cause of the problem is a slipped or bulging disk (we won’t massage those) but sensational for pulled muscles or for those who have just generally been abusing their bodies (motorbike riders who ride hunched over the handle bars are prime culprits).
Also, great for Mums-To-Be who have sore backs from the stress the bub puts on the lumbar muscles. Massage is one of the most powerful things you can do to your body, it increases blood flow to the muscles, help loosen those that are knotted up and it also releases those natural feel good drugs, endorphins, that reduces pain the natural way (as opposed to the wine way).
9. Awesome posture
Remember your Mum nagging “sit up straight”? Sometimes Mums are not right, but in this case, she was. Even something as simple as stretching each hour at your desk and straightening your spine can help back pain.
Also, the way you walk and determine how the rest of your body feels. Try to walk with your feet straight (turned out feet like ballet dancers will twist your hips and can cause pain). Remember that old trick to standing tall by imagining a thread connected to the top of your head and stretching you up? Pull yourself up from your abdominals and try to lengthen your body to the sky.
So as a chick I love my heels. But these can play havoc with your back and calf muscles, as much as they make your legs look like they go one forever. So where possible, ditch the heels and go bare foot or in flats.
11. Build Muscle
Once you have your pain under control, think about generally strengthening your core and back muscles with some exercise. Avoid crunches as these can strain the back .. maybe invest in a session with a qualified trainer to show you the best ones (your body might just love you back for it.)
Possibly the last resort, but ibuprofen and other drugs can help give you some temporary relief.