How to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common complaint experienced by almost everyone at some stage in life.  It can come on suddenly like from a sprained muscle while exercising, from poor posture or from lifting a heavy object.  It is so easy to suffer from lower back pain it is a leading cause of disability worldwide.  Back pain accounts for huge employee absenteeism at work and it also keeps the doctors busy with appointments.

How to avoid back pain:

5 Easy Steps:

Cycling Exercise

  • Make physical activity a part of your daily routine.  A brisk walk, or a bike ride done on a regular basis is a good form of physical exercise.  Walking and swimming are full body workout in which all the muscles in your body are engaged.  Daily exercises done on a regular basis will firm up your back muscles, strengthen your core, minimize stress on your back and help in maintaining a healthy body weight

Proper body alignment

  • Your posture.  Your body should be properly aligned while standing and sitting.  As you stand your weight should be well balanced on your feet.   When you sit, you should rest both feet flat on the floor and keep your knees level with your hips.  Keep your back straight, shoulders back and your core muscles tight.


  • Lift properly.  When you lift, your knees should be bent as you lift.  Lift with your legs and keep your core muscles tight.  Hold the object close to your body and maintain the natural curve of your back.   If an object is too heavy to lift safely, do not lift it alone, get some help.

Lifting Tips to prevent lower back pain

  • When possible, use lifting devices to help you lift loads.  Mix it up and alternate physically demanding tasks with less demanding ones. When you work at a computer, ensure that your monitor, keyboard, mouse and chair are properly positioned.  When you are on the phone for extended periods of time, use a headset.  If you must carry a heavy briefcase, purse and bag, use a rolling suitcase, avoid having to lift these heavy objects.  Avoid unnecessary bending, twisting and reaching.  Overuse of your muscles will cause    muscle fatigue and potential injury.

lower back stretches at work

  • Listen to your body.   When you are required to sit for a prolonged period of time, you should do some stretches to relieve constant pressure on your muscles.  You should change your position occasionally and stand up and walk around.

Back pain can become much of an aggravation if ignored for too long.  Over time, it might get worse.   Be prudent, examine your work environment and address situations that might aggravate your back.  By taking simple steps to ease your back pain you are moving in the right direction to improve your health.

Most back pain will gradually improve with home treatment and proper body mechanics usually within a few weeks.  If not, you should see your doctor.  In cases where your back pain is as a result of a fall, a blow to your back or other injury, contact your doctor.

How to Strengthen Your Core Muscles

To truly benefit from any form of exercises you should start with proper posture and strong core muscles.  A strong core will improve your overall balance and your stability making it easier to walk, stand,  and to be in better control of your exercise routine.

 Bosu Ball Core training

By doing core exercises you are training the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony.   A strong core is the foundation for everything we do with our body.  It enables the body to have a better balance and stability in carrying out our physical activities in daily life .




core strength using stability ball

Any exercise that involves the use of your abdominal and back muscles in a coordinated fashion counts as a core exercise. For example, using free weights in a manner that involves maintaining a stable trunk can train and strengthen several of your muscles, including your core muscles. You may also try several specific core exercises to stabilize and strengthen your core.

plank exercise

A bridge is a classic core exercise. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Keep your back in a neutral position, not arched and not pressed into the floor. Avoid tilting your hips. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Raise your hips off the floor until your hips are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Hold the position for as long as you can without breaking your form.

The following article published by the Mayo Clinic speaks of the importance of maintaining physical exercise in our daily lives.

  • By stheimer
 “Should Doctors Treat Lack of Exercise as a Medical Condition? Mayo Expert Says ‘Yes'”

ROCHESTER, Minn. — August 13, 2012.  A sedentary lifestyle is a common cause of obesity, and excessive body weight and fat in turn are considered catalysts for diabetes, high blood pressure,joint damage and other serious health problems. But what if lack of exercise itself were treated as a medical condition? Mayo Clinic physiologist Michael Joyner, M.D., argues that it should be. His commentary is published this month in The Journal of Physiology.

Two seniors jogging

VIDEO ALERT: A video interview with Dr. Joyner is available for journalists to download on the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Physical inactivity affects the health not only of many obese patients, but also people of normal weight, such as workers with desk jobs, patients immobilized for long periods after injuries or surgery, and women on extended bed rest during pregnancies, among others, Dr. Joyner says. Prolonged lack of exercise can cause the body to become deconditioned, with wide-ranging structural and metabolic changes: the heart rate may rise excessively during physical activity, bones and muscles atrophy, physical endurance wane, and blood volume decline.

When deconditioned people try to exercise, they may tire quickly and experience dizziness or other discomfort, then give up trying to exercise and find the problem gets worse rather than better.

“I would argue that physical inactivity is the root cause of many of the common problems that we have,” Dr. Joyner says. “If we were to medicalize it, we could then develop a way, just like we’ve done for addiction, cigarettes and other things, to give people treatments, and lifelong treatments, that focus on behavioral modifications and physical activity. And then we can take public health measures, like we did for smoking, drunken driving and other things, to limit physical inactivity and promote physical activity.”

Several chronic medical conditions are associated with poor capacity to exercise, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, better known as POTS, a syndrome marked by an excessive heart rate and flu-like symptoms when standing or a given level of exercise. Too often, medication rather than progressive exercise is prescribed, Dr. Joyner says.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researchers found that three months of exercise training can reverse or improve many POTS symptoms, Dr. Joyner notes. That study offers hope for such patients and shows that physicians should consider prescribing carefully monitored exercise before medication, he says.

If physical inactivity were treated as a medical condition itself rather than simply a cause or byproduct of other medical conditions, physicians may become more aware of the value of prescribing supported exercise, and more formal rehabilitation programs that include cognitive and behavioral therapy would develop, Dr. Joyner says.

For those who have been sedentary and are trying to get into exercise, Dr. Joyner advises doing it slowly and progressively.

“You just don’t jump right back into it and try to train for a marathon,” he says. “Start off with achievable goals and do it in small bites.”

There’s no need to join a gym or get a personal trainer: build as much activity as possible into daily life. Even walking just 10 minutes three times a day can go a long way toward working up to the 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity the typical adult needs, Dr. Joyner says”.

Dr. Joyner is an anesthesiologist and the Frank R. and Shari Caywood Professor at Mayo Clinic.


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