, I'll have to start off with the standard
; I'm not a medical doctor; my only expertise about lower
back pain is from personal experience. However, the following advise was
given by a chiropractor
, and helped me relieve the pain of a
after several years of playing basketball
. If you
have persistent lower back pain, see a doctor.
First of all, prolonged bed rest may not be the best solution to
resolve lower back pain. If the pain is caused by a herniated disc,
bed rest for a long period can weaken the lower back and stomach
muscles. These muscles support the spine, and they will result in
increased back pain when weakened. It may be better to
remain active, but you have to be careful with activities that
put a lot of stress on your back. On the other hand, if the pain is
caused by a strained muscle, bed rest could solve the problem.
Footwear: Wear sneakers, or shoes that have a lot of cushioning.
Alternate pairs every day. Also, high-cut shoes (like basketball shoes
and hiking boots) are not so good for everyday use, since they may
weaken your ankles, and hinder proper foot motion.
Seating: if you have a desk job, make sure you have a chair
that forces you to sit in a proper position. You could try one of those
kneeling-chairs. I have had some positive results with these chairs,
but it takes a while getting used to. Also, don't try these if you also
have bad knees. Always be aware of your seating position.
Pain-killers: I don't know exactly what to tell you, since I
try to avoid these as much as possible. If the pain becomes unbearable,
I guess you could try them. On the other hand, pain killers may obscure
the signals of your body that you should change your seating position,
take a break from what you're doing, and/or lie down.
are essential to beat chronic back pain:
Strength and Flexibility
Both strength and flexibility are equally important. You need to gain
strength in the lower back and stomach muscles to give better support
to your spine. Flexibility is needed to relieve the tension of
impinged nerves in your spine (sciatica is a common problem with
chronic back pain).
Ask a chiropractor about a good exercise program. Personally, I had
positive results with the following exercises that give strength and
flexibility to the target muscles. All these exercises are done while
lying flat on your back.
- Hamstring Stretching
With both hands clasped
around one thigh, slowly straighten knee to feel a stretch in back of
thigh. Hold for a fixed count and release. Repeat.
- Low Back Stretching
Clasp one hand around each knee.
Spread legs apart slightly. Pull knees towards armpits. Hold for a fixed
time and release, but do not release knees. Repeat. This exercise can
also be done with each leg individually.
Slowly come to a half-sitting position. Hold
for a fixed count and relax. Repeat. Keep head straight to avoid strain
on the neck.
With knees flexed and arms across chest, lift
hips from floor. Hold for a fixed count and relax. Repeat.
- Pelvic Tilt
Flatten back, and then arch back. Repeat.
There are several machines in a fitness center that can help with
chronic back pain. These machines target the muscles of the legs,
stomach, and the upper and lower back. I recommend talking to your
doctor first before attempting these.
And finally, the exercise that helped me the most: SWIMMING.
I started swimming on a regular basis (4 times per week), and I
instantly felt the benefits. After a while almost all the complaints
disappeared. Swimming is a low-impact exercise that strengthens
all the muscle groups in your entire body. Give it a try.