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Defend yourself against Low back pain

Updated: May 18, 2023

Today's topic is how to “defend yourself against” low back pain, which is a special one because it is something Dr. Will helps to remedy on a daily basis in his practice as a Doctor of Chiropractic.

As you may have experienced, low back pain isn’t fun and over 31 million Americans are suffering from back pain at this very moment. An unfortunate fact, about 80% of the population will experience low back pain at some point in their lives.

So, if you are lucky enough to not be experiencing back pain right now, we want to teach you how to keep it that way and in the event you have low back pain, how to overcome it.

The first step in preventing and overcoming low back pain is easy, make sure your spine is in the proper alignment. Think of your body as a machine with thousands of moving parts, if any one of them are out of alignment, this can create friction and result in pain.

As a Chiropractor, the biggest issue Dr. Will sees with low back pain is improper alignment of the bones of the lower spine, specifically the sacrum. This bone sits at the base of the spine and bears the full weight of the upper body and is commonly called the “tailbone”.

Many folks are walking around with twisted sacrums due to things like sports, most notably golf, baseball, tennis, and any sport with a rotational component to it. Other things like a fall on the butt, whether new or old, improper posture, crossing legs, slouching, and anything that usually has a twisting motion on the lower spine can cause a shift in the sacrum.

If the sacrum is out of place, it can cause all sorts of issues, from pain in the low back to sciatica, knee pain, foot and ankle pain and even pain up the spine as well.

The first key step is to get the sacrum checked and adjusted if needed. Make sure you see a Chiropractor, like Dr. Will, that is fluent in sacral adjusting.

The next thing you want to do is make sure you are focusing on your posture. Sitting tall at all times is crucial to keeping the bones in the proper alignment and protecting your ligaments, which hold your bones together.

Posture is important in all situations, whether sitting, standing, lifting, working and even sleeping. A great rule of thumb is to always keep your chest up tall and when sleeping, support your pelvis by putting a pillow between your legs when sleeping on your side and when sleeping on your back, put a pillow under your knees.

When you get your spine aligned and you focus on your posture, the next phase would be to tend to the muscles. This starts with breaking up any adhesions in the tissue. I usually see these in the glute muscles, specifically the gluteus medius as well as the iliopsoas which connects from the lumbar vertebra and ilium to the hip.

The glutes are super important at stabilizing the low back and the pelvis and if the muscles are bound up and not functioning properly, they can become tight and painful.

The way I teach to break up the muscles is to use a simple tool, which is just a super dense ball, we use a lacrosse ball.

How you use this is either by utilizing it against a wall or the floor. Place the ball so it puts direct pressure on the muscle and hold it there for about 60 seconds or so. Repeat every other day to break up any adhesions and release the muscle. We usually heat the area up with a heating pad or hot shower and then ice it down after.

Next phase of prevention and healing is to build up the muscles to support the lower back. As we stated earlier, the glutes are super important so we will focus our attention there first.

The best way to work the glutes at home is to utilize bands. Our favorite bands are booty bands, which are circular bands that we utilize around the thighs for strengthening the glutes.

The first exercise is what we call a kickback. This exercise focuses on the gluteus medius muscle which is at the top of the glutes. This muscle helps to stabilize the pelvis and is an extender and external rotator of the hip.

The key here is to keep your chest up tall, remembering posture is key. Position the booty band about mid thigh. If you need to hold onto a wall or chair, please do so. Next, bring the arch of one foot into the back of the heel of the other foot. Then extend the foot and leg at about a 45 degree angle up and back. You should feel your glute medius and glute tightening up if done correctly. We recommend doing 12-15 reps on both sides, 3-5 sets, 3-4 times per week.

Another exercise to do with the booty band around the thighs is the traditional squat. You’ll start in a standing position with your feet a slightly wider than shoulder width apart, keeping the chest up tall, you will squat down to a comfortable level and then push back up. Moving slowly on the way down and slightly exploding upward when coming back up. All the while squeezing the glutes. We recommend 10-12 reps, 3-5 sets, 3-4 times per week.

Lastly, focusing on eating a diet that is plentiful in anti-inflammatory foods and plenty of water will help to keep inflammation low which will help the gut from becoming inflamed which can refer pain to the low back.

If you can manage to get to a good chiropractor to assess the spine and specifically the sacrum, focus on your posture, do your muscle work and build up those muscles, you will be well on your way to preventing and eliminating back pain for good.

Back pain is tough but with these tips, you certainly have a better opportunity at overcoming it than you did before.

If you have any questions, message us, we would love to help.

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Beth & Will

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