Low back pain, otherwise known as lumbago is a very common symptom that can result from several underlying causes including bad posture, trauma or accident, infections, tumours or age-related degenerative changes of the spine. In the majority of cases, it is due to a problem or an irritation of the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, spinal nerves or back muscles. Furthermore, low back pain can be of a sudden onset following an accident or attempt to lift a heavy object. In the same vein, it may also develop over a long time in the case of age-related changes involving the spine.
Statistically, research has shown that about 80% of adults would suffer from low back pain at some point in their lifetime and this condition is a major cause of job-related disability worldwide. If you are presently experiencing low back pain, here are some beneficial health tips in treating or providing considerable relief from this condition:
Avoid sitting for too long
Whenever you sit for hours on end at a desk or watching TV, you are keeping your low back flexed and your back muscles are strained. Researchers at a Norwegian University discovered that teenagers who sat in front of TV or computer for 15 hours or more in a week were three times more likely to suffer from low back pain.
Moreover, the way out if you must sit for long is to stretch your body or walk around at intervals to relax your muscles.
Numerous studies have shown that smokers are more likely to suffer from low back pain than nonsmokers. Cigarette contains a substance, nicotine which disrupts blood supply to intervertebral discs of the spine leading to a crack or rupture of the discs. Also, smoking slows the healing process and depletes the oxygen supply to the muscles and tendons in the back.
Indulge in exercise
Numerous evidences have revealed that stretching and strengthening exercises including Yoga often help to speed recovery from chronic low back pain by enhancing the flexibility and strength of the muscle groups that support the lower back. Similarly, studies have shown that low-impact aerobic exercises are good in maintaining the integrity of intervertebral discs. The implication of this is that if you are experiencing low back pain, you need to resist the temptation of confining yourself to prolonged bedrest or avoiding all forms of exercise.
Take more Calcium and Vitamin D
Arguably, the role of calcium and vitamin D in the formation of strong, healthy bones cannot be overemphasised. When your bones are strong, the possibility of suffering from low back pain due to osteoporosis is ruled out. Dietary sources that are rich in calcium and vitamin D include milk, fresh green vegetables, sardines, cheese, oranges, egg yolk and so on.
Mind your Diet
Research has shown that the same diets that are good for your heart, weight and blood sugar are also good for your back and vice-versa. A study that was conducted in Finland discovered that individuals who experienced low back pain were more likely to have clogged the arteries supplying the spine. Furthermore, shortage of nutrient supply to the spine triggers inflammatory responses that may lead to back pain.
In view of the foregoing, it’s better to stick to a healthy diet of whole grains, proteins, fresh vegetables and fruits while avoiding excess caffeine and processed fatty diets.
Avoid heavy loads
The nature of the jobs a lot of people do is such that they often have to lift, pull or push heavy loads, all of which put a considerable strain on your spine and ultimately set the stage for lower back pain. If you must carry a heavy load, make sure you distribute the weight evenly on both shoulders or arms to avoid tilting to one side and twisting your spine. Preferrably, if you can get your hands on a bag with wheels or a rolling cart, it is better for the health of your back.
Change your shoes
For the ladies, this may not be a really good news. High heels compel you to arch your back and this places a strain on your spinal muscles leading to avoidable back aches.
At Lehigh University, 80% of low-back patients who were given lightweight, cushioned and flexible shoes experienced significant relief from their back pain. However, occasional use of those high-heeled shoes is not likely to cause serious harm.
Sleep with a Pillow under your knees
It’s been discovered that when you sleep on your back, an estimated 55 pounds of pressure is put on your spine. However, with a pillow under your knees, you reduce that pressure by 50% and decrease your risk of low back pain.