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Lower Back Pain - what's causing it and how can we fix it?

According to the studies, low back pain is one of the most frequent problems that people complain of and one of the biggest reasons that people miss work. Many factors can cause low back pain, and many of these can be controlled by your own understanding and change in habits.

Here are a few examples:

How many times did your mother tell you to sit or stand up straight when you were growing up? Well, this is still the case…your spine is meant to be erect! For example, leaning forward for long periods of time, such as reaching to type on your computer (which might not be positioned correctly), bending down to do gardening, or lifting heavy objects (without bending your knees), can all cause gravity to pull your body forward. This results in your back muscles straining from being in a stretched position to hold your trunk upright. Expecting your back muscles to hold you for a prolonged period while gravity is pulling you forward and down will probably eventually result in pain. As you sit at your desk, are you looking down at your computer screen? Immediately that is putting your neck in a bad position. You might think it is just working muscles, but over time, it will actually cause bony changes in your cervical spine (neck area).

Then there is sitting….do you like to get cozy and slouch, especially on that nice comfortable couch while watching TV or working on your computer? Slouching puts your back in a rounded position which also causes your muscles to be stretched. So with that being said, what can we do to fix it?

  • If your chair or couch is too deep, making it so you can’t touch the back while sitting up straight, put a pillow behind your low back.

  • When you are sitting, do your feet rest flat on the floor or are they hanging? If they are hanging, then your chair is too high which is putting those back muscles, once again, on a stretch. Instead, put a book or small stool under your feet.

  • If your knees are higher than your hips when you are sitting, then your chair is too low…try sitting on a pillow.

As you think about your back pain, have you ever noticed that your grandparents or other older people seem to be shorter when they age? Well, losing height is something that can be minimized with most people, because some of the factors causing this can be controlled. One of the big ones is lifestyle… eating healthy, exercising and maintaining good posture will help prevent some of these changes. If you wait until you are 50 or so, it is much harder to correct the postural changes and to start exercising. If you develop good habits when you are younger, you will definitely reap the benefits when you are older.

Posture and muscle weakness are two major factors causing low back pain which can be controlled. Working on strengthening your CORE muscles (no, not just doing 50 sit-ups) can make a significant difference. Does your workout include stretching? It seems like people think they don’t have time to stretch or know what to stretch. So make it easy on yourself and check out the Premium version of FitTime5… it has stretches for your full body or specific exercises for your lower back, including a foam roller series.

If you don’t find relief with these suggestions, send us a message for some other recommendations and check in with your doctor to make sure there isn’t something more serious causing this pain.


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