A Closer Look at Lower Back Pain

According to some estimates, lower back pain is responsible for over $100 billion in health care costs, lost wages and lost productivity each and every year. Some people might alleviate this problem with the aid of certain exercises and stretches.

Common Causes

Lower back pain can often be blamed on injuries or accidents. In turn, such incidents can result in strains, sprains and herniated discs.

Strains and Sprains: If your lower back acts up, chances are that you’ve suffered either a strain or a sprain. A strain is simply when a particular muscle has been overstretched. In contrast, a sprain is the result of a torn tendon. Both of these injuries often occur due to improper form when lifting, or from lifting an especially heavy object.

Herniated/Ruptured Discs: Spinal discs effectively serve as shock absorbers between the vertebrae of our spine. Due to falls or sports related injuries, a part of a disc can become ruptured, meaning that it has been pushed into the spinal canal. In contrast, a ruptured disc occurs when a disc pushes outward and onto a nearby spinal nerve, causing significant pain.

Sciatica: Sciatica is a type of lower back pain that shoots down from the buttocks through the legs. It is often the result of ruptured or herniated discs.

Finding Relief

Back pain is not to be taken lightly; you should consult with your healthcare provider if you’ve recently experienced an accident, fall or injury. For something more minor, such as a sore back you may benefit from certain stretches.

One such example of a lower back stretch are bridges; these are performed with your back on the ground, knees bent and feet on the floor. Simply raise your hips to the point that they form a straight line with your shoulders and knees. After holding this position for six seconds, bring your hips back towards the ground. Try to perform eight to twelve repetitions of this exercise.

Partial crunches are another useful exercise, as they can strengthen your body’s core muscles. As with bridges, start by laying on your back; your knees should be bent, your hands should be behind your back and your feet flat on the floor. As you raise your shoulders off the floor, exhale and tighten your abdominal muscles for a full second. If possible, try to repeat this exercise a total of eight to twelve times.

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