Chronic lower back pain can be caused by quite a few different factors. The problem is, the lower back (lumbar region) is the main support for the weight bearing motions we all go through every day and is particularly susceptible to injury.
Your back is a powerful, intricately designed support system for your body that is made up of bone, muscular tissues, tendons, ligaments and discs. They have to all be in balance and work together or injury and chronic lower back pain is the result.
If we try to lift something incorrectly or take part in a strenuous physical activity (like sports) without an adequate stretch and warm-up, we could pull, strain or tear a muscle. Or, an the worst end of the spectrum, could even cause bone fractures.
Chronic Lower Back Pain – The Disc...
These same types of activities could create a bulging, slipped or herniated disc. The discs are made up of cartilage pads that act like shock absorbers between the vertebrae. They cushion the area in between the different segments of the spine.
Daily gravity, wear and tear on the discs makes the fluids seep out of them – making them less effective as shock absorbers as the day wears on. This loss of fluid can cause us to lose as much as 3/4 of an inch in height throughout the day! This is normal and the liquids are reabsorbed at night (if you get a good nights rest) but as we age, the ability to reabsorb the liquids lessens. This is commonly known as degenerative disc disease.
And these are only a few of the problems that could cause chronic lower back pain and have us searching for some severe back pain relief. There is sciatica, osteoporosis, arthritis, rheumatism, just to name a couple others.
In many cases, it is difficult to determine – even for medical professionals – what the root cause of lower back pain is. It could be something as simple as bad posture!
Chronic Lower Back Pain – Muscle Strain
But, more often than not, chronic lower back pain is caused by a soft tissue muscle strain. These can be notoriously difficult to recover from – thus the chronic lower back pain.
Research has shown that muscle strain can lead to eventual total imbalance of the spine and its structure… which in turn leads to a relentless strain on the muscle groups, ligaments, skeletal frame (bones), as well as discs, causing the lower back to be even more vulnerable to further injuries.
Whatever is causing the chronic lower back pain can eventually lead to other problems as we compensate for our injuries. For example, if you have strained a muscle you will more than likely begin to carry yourself differently to avoid the pain. In doing so, you end up over using muscles groups that weren’t sore to begin with, and end up with more pain in new areas.
Stress and depression can also cause chronic lower back pain. An individual’s state of mind can have a powerful impact on the height of your pain as well as whether or not it results in long lasting, chronic lower back pain. Individuals that suffer from depression, are under a huge amount of stress, or are generally unhappy will often experience symptoms and seek lower back pain relief.
Are you scared yet? You should be, I certainly am! Chronic lower back pain is nothing to fool around with.
Chronic Lower Back Pain Prevention…
If you are healthy now, get started on a daily regimen of back and abdominal exercises. These should include both stretches and strengthening. Don’t forget your abdominal muscles! They help support your back more than you may imagine. And yes, if you are overweight, you need to change that.
These preventative type exercises can be done in only a few minutes a day, but can easily save you a lifetime of pain and suffering. According to CNN.com “More than 50 million Americans deal with chronic pain, at a cost of more than $100 billion annually.” It is one of the leading causes of missed work! Chronic Lower Back Pain Recovery… If you are already injured…
As always, it is best to check with your doctor to be certain of the cause, but it is likely a muscle strain. In that case, take an anti-inflammatory medication (a systemic enzyme) and apply ice for the first 48 hours. Stay away from the prescription and OTC medications, they all have well documented side effects that can literally kill you!
Our bodies naturally produce anti-inflammatory enzymes. As we age and/or when we are injured, we need to boost our systemic enzymes. As pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication, they work better than anything you are likely to be taking OTC and they have no known side effects!
Next, apply heat to get the blood flowing into the area. If there is someone that can give you a massage that is a great option. A massage will not only get the blood flowing, but will help to release our body’s natural pain killing endorphins.
While injured, though the desire will be to rest, current research shows that inactivity will weaken the muscles and make the problem worse. You need to stay active… Start with some – gentle – stretches and gradually (as your back gets better) work your way into muscle strengthening routines. The good news is… You don’t need to live with chronic lower back pain.
Once you become aware of some of the causes of chronic lower back pain, you can start working on the solution. Whether it is just making simple lifestyle changes or requires medical attention, you can find the help you need.