LOW BACK PAIN? POSSIBLE CULPRITS AND WAYS TO ALLEVIATE
By Christine Oakes
Find yourself resting your hand on your aching lower back? We’ve all been there. Maybe you sat on an airplane for hours or at your desk working all day. Potentially, you tried a new exercise. Or maybe you haven’t stretched or exercised in awhile. Whatever the case may be you would love to have some relief. So here it is. There are 3 things that I have seen to have the biggest impact on releasing low back discomfort: stretching, strengthening, and relaxation.
First, we are going to focus on stretches that you will feel right away. While it can help to release noticeable tension, you will also find out as you read that it’s not the only part of the solution. Only if it were that easy right? Your body is complex so there are multiple components that play into taking care of it. In the video, you will notice that we not only stretch your lower back, but also the surrounding muscles that attach to your pelvic girdle such as your glutes and hip flexors. On top of that, I’m going to have you twisting in different directions because our bodies move in a multitude of ways. I promise it won’t be as weird as it sounds, but the video will be an excellent visual aid so you don’t feel like a confused pretzel.
Once you’re all stretched out, we’ll shift our focus to strengthening. As you felt your tight muscles through the stretches, you will now discover muscles that need more strengthening. While not all low back discomfort comes from sitting all day, our society that includes working for hours in front of a computer or behind the wheel on your long commute to work will definitely promote a position in your pelvis where some muscles become weaker. Your back tends to rely on those muscles for support. When that support goes, you put more pressure on your lower back to do all of the work. The exercises in the video do not require any equipment so you can do them any time, any place.
The final piece is relaxation. You are probably thinking, “What the hell does relaxing have to do with releasing tension in my lower back?” Mind-body connection! It’s not just a trending buzz word. It’s a reality. A study done right here at Stanford University uncovered that psychological test scores were a far better predictor of back problems than any structural abnormality on an MRI. My recommendation is self-care. Do things that make you happy daily even if it is only for 10 minutes. Exercise, meditate, get a massage, read, listen to music, dance. Just do something that has you grinning from ear to ear every damn day! Your back depends on it.