Up to 80 percent of adults will experience back pain at some time in their lives. It is a leading reason for physician office visits, hospitalization and surgery. When asked about common types of pain, respondents to a National Health Interview survey indicated that low back pain was the most common.
It’s likely that you are one of those millions who will, at some point, experience lower back pain or discomfort. So please read on and learn what can be done about it.
First of all, let me state that the cause of the majority of lower back pain is plain and simple: too much sitting. The inordinate amount of time we spend sitting in a chair, car or couch these days is like nothing else the human body has experienced. Sitting at a desk for 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week is all too common. Even children are affected, as there is more sitting at school and less physical education. And on top of all that, in general, their posture is, well, terrible.
So basically, the problem is two-fold: extensive sitting coupled with postural misalignment, which is all too common. (Check your posture right now and you’ll understand what I mean.)
Having said all that, here’s the good news. In my experience the nature of most lower back cases is that they resolve quickly and easily by loosening up the muscles and changing the sitting position. And here’s why.
When considering the lower back from an anatomical perspective it is clear that the muscles are controlling the environment. If the muscles aren’t stressed, and the alignment is correct, it’s very unusual to have lower back issues. As we say in anatomical terms, we’re dealing with very few points of articulation, those places at the joint where a bone meets another bone. We have 5 lumbar vertebrae, a sacrum and pelvic bones, very few bones for such a large and powerful area. And the rest of the material is muscle.
The benefit with muscles is that they heal quickly. Bones do not. A hairline fracture in a bone is very painful and takes much longer to heal than a torn muscle. In addition, inflammation and the resulting pain is typically a problem of the joints. And again, in the lower back, there are very few of these places.
Still, lower back issues can be present in many variations. For example, some people have lower back pain that is primarily in the hips, while others experience discomfort across their whole back, in the kidney/adrenal area or on the sacrum. The pain can be localized on the spine or can be experienced as shooting down into the leg. Yet, despite the different manifestations and locations of pain, the majority of problems stem from too much sitting, with postural misalignment. In 99% of these cases muscle tension is the root cause of the symptoms.
As follows, the majority of lower back cases resolve easily through self massage, correct sitting alignment and exercise/stretching. This 3-pronged approach seems to work across the board. No other injury responds as rapidly and consistently to such common-sense care as the lower back.
To start you on your way to a healthy, happy back, here’s a short video detailing common misalignments along with a guide for discovering your best sitting posture.
In addition, my Lower Back Basics material is extremely simple yet offers users significant relief for the different types of lower back discomfort. Almost anyone can do these exercises and experience positive results.
It is obvious to me that the American Medical Association’s methodology for lower back care is basically a failure. Of course, if there is a high impact injury to the back and a disk is ruptured, or worse, than surgery is the best option. Otherwise it is not. The significant expense, risk of complication and failure to address the root cause of the problem makes surgery a poor option in most instances. In addition, the idea that regular use of pain medication and injections are a remedy for lower back pain is a joke. It’s just not acceptable. And the side effects of the medication is a real concern.
If you are experiencing lower back pain or discomfort, schedule an appointment with Dorfman Kinesiology and experience first hand how an alternative approach can work for you. And stay tuned. Our next blog will include more information and short videos on stretches that your lower back will love. Fix your lower back pain with proper sitting alignment, stretching and massage and feel better forever.