How to fight lower back pain

by Phil Lowe
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One of the most common injuries in the modern world is lower back pain. Over 80% of people say that they have suffered from lower back pain at some point in their lives. This injury can range from mild to incredibly painful and can vary in length from a couple of days to years. While the underlying causes are different and each cause must be treated differently a number of remedies have proved popular for the majority of cases.

The first solution to stopping lower back from developing is to plan for it. If you are sitting at a desk you are already a likely target for lower back pain. Ensure you are sitting at your desk correctly. There are many online tutorials for how to set up your desk ergonomically but the basic approach is to ensure that your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle, that your feet are on the floor (or a footstool if you are a little shorter). You should ensure that your gaze is below 90 degrees and that your elbows and lower back are supported. While many office chairs offer no lower back support you can usually purchase lumbar support and place it on your chair at a low cost (your office will often foot the bill too). You should also stand up and go for a short walk every thirty minutes.

For most of us that will not be enough though. There are so many causes of lower back pain that at some point in your life you will likely encounter it.  Studies are increasingly showing that mind-body exercise is the best way to tackle it. Mind-body exercises are forms of exercise that work the body but also benefit the mind. Yoga and Tai Chi are two famous examples but if you are able to practice mindfulness during a run or gym session they could work well too. 

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Yoga is ideal for tackling lower back pain for a number of reasons. There is a wide variety of yoga classes available so there is something for every level of fitness and every goal. If the stress and anxiety of your day-to-day life are a leading cause of your stress then a relaxing yoga class is a fantastic cure. If you are sitting in a weird position all day (e.g. architects and tattoo artists) then a more intense yoga class will untangle any knots that have developed. Tai chi is very useful because it is an incredibly relaxing way to get the body moving and practice a conscious mind. Studies are increasingly showing that the mind and body are tightly linked. A happy body leads to a happy mind, and vice versa.

Running can also be an excellent remedy for back pain as long as you stretch properly beforehand. Tight hamstrings and glutes can cause back pain so if you fail to stretch properly you may just add new aspects to your lower back issues.

While surgery and physio visits can also help, these should not be your go-to solution. Before you try any method of recovery you should check it with a professional to see if it is suitable for you. However, you should try a program to get your body back in order before you resort to something more radical. 

Back pain is a strange injury because it impacts those who do a lot of exercises and those who down. It impacts those who sit down all day and those who have a more active work-life. In short back pain is not picky and it will target most of us in our lives. Start exercising and sitting properly to ensure you are in a good position to fend it off.

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