How To Prevent & Treat Lower-Back Pain

The lower back, or lumbar region, is vulnerable to injury because of its complex mix of vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, and nerves that engage when you squat, twist, lift, sit, or stand.

Posted March 3,2018 in Lifestyle.

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How To Prevent & Treat Lower-Back Pain

84 percentage of  the world population that experiences lower-back  pain at some point in life.

Overstretching muscle fibers can cause pain, as can nerve compression due to soft material bulging from inside disks separating vertebrae (herniated disk), degeneration of those disks (osteoarthritis), or narrowing of space around the spinal cord (spinal stenosis). “Back pain can be frightening but in most cases isn’t serious,” says Raj Rao, an orthopedic surgeon in Washington, DC. Up to 90% of cases resolve within 6 weeks.

PREVENT  IT

GOOD POSTURE “A straight back helps prevent problems with muscles and vertebrae,” says Jack Ende, an internist in Philadelphia. Sit in a chair that has an inward- curving back, which provides lumbar support, or place a pillow in the small of your back; remember to stand every 30 minutes.

EXERCISE Studies suggest that exercise cuts the risk of lower-back pain; one found it does so by more than a third. Low-intensity activities like walking, swimming, and yoga and exercises like planks  stabilize the spine and keep muscles and ligaments supple so they’re less likely to overstretch.

HEALTHY WEIGHT Excess weight puts more stress on the lower back’s muscles, ligaments, nerves, and vertebrae. “Keeping an eye on weight is one of the best ways to prevent the back’s mechanical structure from wearing out too quickly,” Rao says.

SUPPORTIVE SLEEP POSITION Sleeping on your back distributes weight evenly and aligns the spine in the position least likely to cause pain. You can also sleep on your side, but avoid lying facedown, which exerts the most spinal pressure.

TREAT  IT

ICE Cold reduces inflammation and pain. Wrap a bag of ice cubes or frozen vegetables in a cloth to protect skin, then apply to the area for 15 minutes two or three times a day during the first 48 hours after injury. Move as much as possible between icing sessions.

NSAIDS OTC anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can ease pain and improve movement. Start with one pill and increase to a full dose if you’re still in pain.

HANDS-ON THERAPIES Physical therapists use specific stretches  to improve joint and spinal mobility. Chiropractors manipulate the spine to decrease pain and improve function. If those options fail, alternative therapies like massage or acupuncture may ease discomfort.

MEDICAL TREATMENTS If pain radiates down your leg due to sciatica (caused by injured or irritated nerves), an injection of anti-inflammatory corticosteroids may help. For pain due to problems with spinal vertebrae or disks, surgical procedures such as a spinal fusion, diskectomy, or laminectomy may provide relief by correcting the structural problems.