The #1 diagnosed condition and cause for missed days at work as of 2018 is lower back pain. Over 80% of the worldwide population will of experienced a lower back pain at least once in their lives, with just slightly over 22% of acute cases turning into chronic pain. But what is more surprising is how its label doesn’t proceed it.
Back pain is a miss understood phenomenon to put it lightly. There are way too many resources,tools, support, and not enough answers. If you go to your doctors or physical therapist, you’re told that you will be treated and well taken care of. That’s it though…
You’re advised to take doses of painkillers, told to follow your physical therapist as a do or die situation, and even persuaded by ridiculous infomercials that claim to be the last thing you’ll ever need.
Although conservative treatments do work and have a solid place in your health and wellness, should you be limiting yourself to only one form and source of treatment?
Over the years, I’ve learned to better manage my own lower back pain, whether it was acute, chronic, or sciatica. At first, I limited myself to a doctor, a physical therapist every other day, and I was looking for the “next best thing”.
But were these all likely to help me in the short term or long term?
Quitting to the chase, you have to nurture your back, like as if you were nurturing and cradling a baby. Your back is delicate, and it rewards you with 3 key things:
Treating your lower back pain doesn’t have to be difficult nor frustrating, rather a learning process that you can take it with a grain of salt. In this article, I will help your understand the vast forms of lower back pain, and how to get rid of a lower back pain on your own time conditions both safely and effectively. To do so, you’ll need a plan:
- What are the types of lower back pain?
- What you shouldn’t do in them
- What you can do right now
- What will work best
Along the way, you will be hearing about some of my own experiences, and how that can translate and help you. So let’s go right into it!
What Are The Types Of Lower Back Pain?
“You can’t treat what you can’t see, but you can treat what you do know.”
What is meant by this is that there are so many structures of your lower back that are the makeup of your lower back pain. There are 4 types of main lower back pains, and they are:
- Acute. Pain that usually gets better in two weeks or less
- Sub-acute. Past the two week stage, acute pain becomes sub-acute. Usually last for 4 weeks or more.
- Chronic. Over 4 weeks and sometimes 3 months ahead, your pain turns chronic
- Sciatica. Sharp nerve pains shooting down one side of your body.
Associated with your acute and sub-acute pain is what is known as “inflammation“. Inflammation is the result of of you having a minor strain, muscle spasm, sore or bruised muscle tissue, and from an awkward push, pull, and bend(we’ll talk more about how you can treat this in the treatment section below).
And then there is chronic and sciatica…
This is where it can get a bit trickier, and that’s because there’s mild and severe chronic pain. Both of which are more similar than they are distinguished.
With chronic pain, you have a higher risk of the type of pain you feel being both “inflammation” and “mechanical”. What you are feeling can be both specific(referred) and non-specific pain in your lower back.
The reason you continuously experience sharp shooting aches and pains has more to do with inflammation then it is mechanical. A relief?
Consider it a small relief for a larger on going issue. The Mechanical aspects of your back to consider are:
- your ligaments
There’s so many, but lets decipher which ones actually are specifically coming from a “mechanical issue” and which ones are merely non specific pain.
Your Spine Is Amazing!
Let’s take a closer look at your formidable spine. If you ran your hands from your upper ribs to just above the line of your shorts, or pants, you’d feel your Lumbar(lower back). From what is the L1-L5 section(lumbar) you have about 32 vertebrae, 15 jelly like disc in between, and right behind them are your nerves, and facet joints.
When one of these components wears down or beaks down, they trigger a mechanical alert, and are the triggers responsible for firing at your inflammation. But that’s not why its such a phenomenon.
What If I told you your pain was not solely or not at all coming from your spine? We’re our on victims…
We are quick to point the finger at our spine, when in fact your spine is pleading that you look elsewhere. Besides an injury or hereditary, the two primary reasons have to do with:
- Your lower trunk
- Lifestyle choices
Below your spine are ligaments, muscles, more joints and tissue, and these sections can be exhausted. Your buttocks are there to give support to your spine, your hips are there to help you stabilize your posture, your hamstrings support supply posture to your spine, and stability.
When these factors don’t work in sync like a band in a parade, usually one band member takes the pressure and full authority.
You’re quickly to blame your spine for that reason, but that’s only because it takes on all the pressure. Since your muscles, joints, and ligaments are out of wack, and weak, your spine says “Fine I’ll handle it”.
That doesn’t help your case because now you’re relying on your spine to bail you out. Its time for you to speak up.
Working around your spine will help you to strengthen, gain more flexibility, and most importantly, treat your root of the cause.
First let’s look at what you shouldn’t do with your bad back.
You Don’t Want To Make Matters Worse
You’ve got places to go, places to be, people to see, it never feels like you have enough time in the day! Sounds stressful enough to just think about right? Your pain is not all physical, it shares an unhealthy relationship with your emotions.
1. Stress. Have you felt down because you couldn’t go back to exercising, enjoying the things you love, or being productive? The last thing you want to hear from your doctor is that you need to lay off certain activities, and to stick to low impact exercises. The problem that you have is not the ability that you can’t do them, it’s just that you are sold on the idea that you will not be able to do what you once used to do, or that you can’t handle it to the same of your capabilities.
Therefore,a cloud of depression rains on your parade, signs of depression and anxiety arise, and that all leads to stress.
2. Do it yourself(DIY). You shouldn’t assume, and be a lone wolf. What you need to do with all types of lower back pain is to use resources around you. Your doctor, physical therapist, chiropractors, friends and family are there for you(we’ll speak more on that in the treatment section below). If your pain is not getting any better, it’s time to stop what you’re doing and seek further assistance. As an example when it comes to stretching and exercising:
A variation of the hamstring stretch can hurt your disc. Normally in the case of chronic lower back pain, you shouldn’t do the reach down hamstring stretch. Doing it can overstretch your disc, and cause nerve pressure on your spine.
Another example is jogging. A higher impact activity like jogging can be both health detrimental in the sub-acute, chronic and sciatica threshold level. As you jog, the impact of your joints begin to hurt, and your spine can worsen. Although great for your muscle growth there are better ways to go about it(more later on that).
3. Alcohol. Alcohol is going to cut off proper blood flow to your area of pain, and it adds more CO2 to deplete your oxygen levels.
4. Drugs. Similar to alcohol, smoking will create blood clots, thin your vessels and bloodstream, not providing you with proper oxygen and water to your disc.
5.Movements. Bending, twisting, pulling and pushing will aggravate your spine and pelvis. It could lead to worsening your pain, and cause anterior pelvic pulls.
6. Foods. Eating high trans fat and fatty acids will only cause your inflammation to spike.
This is Your Goldmine
Now that we’ve talked about how to distinguish between the types of lower back pain, and what you shouldn’t do to make your health worse, now its time for the bread and butter of why you’re here.
There are 1,000’s of ways to treat a lower back pain and that’s in part of all the conservative and surgical treatments. Technology and medical advances have come a long way from where it was a couple decades ago. You have every fix from exercising to getting fusions and epidural injections. It can be easy to get lost in a world of trial and experiment. But that’s about to change.
Through my experiences in treating my own lower back you’re not just going to hear about the quick fixes your so used to, but you’ll finally get to see why natural treatments are the most effective to keep you away from your current lower back pain, and to further prevent future cases. You’re going to hear about the 4 categories of management:
- Healing foods
- Cognitive Behavior
- Natural remedies
So lets start off with how to treat your acute lower back pain.
The result of acute pain is always inflammation, and so you’d benefit from short term relief to start. If you have an NSAIDs on you, whip out your bottle of ibuprofen, naproxen, aleve, etc, and use as directed. What I used to do is carry a bottle of ibuprofen with me wherever I went and used it three times in my day.
2. Use cold and heat therapy
As soon as inflammation forms, you need to fight it, or else it can get worse. Using a cold pack for reducing swelling, and heat for promoting better blood circulation and reducing muscle stiffness.
3. Turmeric with curcumin
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it’ gaining more exposure in natural medicine. If you’re like me and you prefer a more natural remedy enter your body, you can’t go wrong with turmeric. Curcumin in turmeric promotes healing, and pushing back your inflammation.
4. Muscle Relaxants
Consider taking a muscle relaxant on the severity of your pain. If you have a sore muscle, or if its aching, a painkiller or more natural one can be used.
5. Keep Moving
You first though might be to rest, but that in fact can worsen your pain. Your muscles and joints need to strengthen. Resume normal activities, but stop if you can’t continue.
6. Seek professional help
If this is not your first episode of acute lower back pain, seeing a physical therapist for the McKenzie method or spine stabilization can be required.
Most cases don’t resolve themselves within 2-4 weeks, and if that’s the case see your doctor. Your pain could be an underlying one like:
- rheumatoid arthritis
If you encounter your that your lower back pain has lasted longer than 4 weeks, don’t be alarmed, it’s common. If your case doesn’t have to do with any of the underlying issues above, your doctor will help you with more hands on options such as:
- chiropractic care
- physical therapy
Your muscles that run from your lumbar and down to your legs are stiff and they need release. One effective way to loosen your muscle stiffness and knots is to get a massage. You’ll feel relaxed and your breathing will strengthen. Although massages hold very little evidence to improve your pain, they do offer a quick alternative to harmful muscle relaxants.
Like a massage, heat will loosen your muscle stiffness, but what it does better is it promotes better bloodlflow throughout your whole body, it gives your muscles and disc more oxygen, and relaxes your pain both physically and mentally(a better meta cognition).
3. Chiropractic care
If you want to avoid popping another pill of your NSAID, heading to your chiropractor will be much better. What you get out of it is spinal manipulation, and these professionals put your muscles, joints, and ligaments back in better position.
4. Physical therapy
It might be time to visit your physical therapist. At physical therapy you’ll learn stretches and exercises to help you strengthen your weak muscles. In my opinion, physical therapy is great because you learn more effectively how to stretch and exercise so that your muscles get stronger.
A leading reason to chronic pain is because you have a weak muscle imbalance.
As you grow and get more familiar and comfortable with your lower back pain, you can think about how to treat it at home.
Chronic Lower Back Pain:
Inflammation is good for you, it gives you a better immune system, but if it appears consistently, its likely to lead you to chronic lower back pain. Add on the mechanical side of it(lumbar) and now you have a recipe you’ll want to change.
Most of us are looking at chronic lower back pain the wrong way. Rather than treating the root of the cause, we begin with treating the symptoms. And that’s not your fault, its simply that you were taught to work in the short fixes first.
You have a chance to change that though…It’s not all on you, I’m here too.
What begins as little gadgets, and drugs quickly turn into a problematic one. You grow dependent on getting quick relief and get comfortable with that. Your goal should be to find long lasting relief that will lead you to gold instead. In chronic pain, there is both non-specific and specific chronic pain that you’ll learn more about.
From top to bottom I’m going to draw you the ideal way to get rid of your lower back pain, and while it should be followed, you can follow it from bottom up or start where you feel most comfortable. So let me firs reverse engineer.
Are you sitting around accepting what you have, or are you trying to resolve it? Exercising is the number one and my most recommended way to get rid of chronic lower back pain. It’s free, plus it can be done from almost anywhere!
When you exercise, your muscles and joints become stronger, more flexible, and you get your endorphins rolling…which helps create a clear mind.
Stick to lower-impact exercises from the start. You’ll want to take it easy on your spine, and the lower trunk of your body. Too much force and impact will cause your pain to worsen. You have the choices of walking, water exercises out from the gates.
Your strength, flexibility, mobility, and movements will begin to show there true spirit once you stretch. If you want to gain better mobility and movements, you need to make sure taking care of the basics. Here’s on stretch for example that is great for a herniated disc.
What the cobra stretch does is it releases the pressure on your spinal disc and stretching out your facet joints. It’s great if you have a herniated disc, due to it creating space amid taking pressure off of it.
How to do:
- Find a flat surface to lay down on your belly, a mat works great.
- Extend your legs behind you, and place your arms straight below your shoulders
- Put your hands face down.
- pinch in your buttocks just a bit
- Now, slightly push up with your hands inhaling, and arching your back to at least 45 degrees
- Hold it for at least 5 seconds
- Slowly go back down vertebrae by vertebrae, exhaling as you do
- Repeat 2 more times
As you increase your ability to do this exercise, raise your time to another 5 seconds. And do it at least 3 times a day to begin until you begin feeling better. Continue to stretch every day and make it the main part of your program.
3. Healing foods
I’m constantly a victim of choosing delicious foods to eat, and eating a quick meal. I’m human like you are. You can still eat the tasty food you love without sacrificing them. At first, begin with cutting:
- processed foods
- alcoholic rinks
- caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea
What do you get when you mix these in your day to day life? You get a volcano ready to explode. Avoid eating high inflammatory meals in these categories and opt for more nutritious ones like:
- whole grains and oats
- vegetables(not nightshade)
- omega 3 and omega 6
I remember about 2 years ago when I was diagnosed with a chronic condition, and I just ate and ate. It didn’t help at all. I couldn’t accept why things were the way they were. But thanks to my nutritionist, I was able to get back on track. To learn more about healing foods and your very own cookbook, go here.
4. Mindfullness Techniques
The road to dealing with a degenerative disc, bulging disc, herniated disc, and your more non-specific cases will greatly benefit from a peaceful and conscious mind. Practice Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates. What these styles of stretching do are they promote you a stronger lower back with the addition of breathing and meditation techniques.
As you start with chronic lower back pain, a style of yoga like Ashtanga is perfect, and as you grow into the latter months, Vinyasa yoga therapy is the way to go. I did Vinyasa on a daily basis, and now i do less and less stretches as my back has gotten stronger.
Even a ruptured disc can heal on its own, so don’t neglect the power of using mindful techniques.
When you walk, or sit down, do you hunch and slump forward? That’s due to your poor posture. To get rid of your lower back pain, you should work on keeping your spine as straight as it can. Hunching forward will cause your pelvis to move forward into the anterior pelvic tilt position.
In result, it leads to sacroiliac joint pain, and weaker muscles on the whole bottom trunk of your lower back.
One thing to do right now is continuously stretch. As you stretch, your muscles will grow stronger, and your back will learn to align itself. So the next time you go to take your walk, or get after it at work, there will be no stopping you.
6. Cognitive Behavior
It’s one thing to use stretching as a mindful techniques and its another to control the way your mind behaves. When you’re not stretching or exercising, focus your attention away from your pain. What you can do to achieve this is tell yourself that things will work out, and that you must remain calm.
Accept that you are in the situation given, but you will not give up. Look at the brighter side, and trust your process. Besides focusing on all the positives, reading helps. I’ve adopted reading into my life more, and learning about how to better manage and get rid of my pain.
One book that helped me perceive pain differently and end the rut that I was in was Healing Back Pain By MD John E. Sarno
It’s a popular book, and at the time I really didn’t look into the hype. Come to reading it, I learned that emotions are a major factor for why you hurt. Of-course you feel things physically as you move, but your emotions trigger it much greater. Putting a halt to these receptors in your brain will help you for life!
7. Natural Remedies
This applies to any type of lower back pain, but since we’re on the matter of chronic pain; if you rely on alternative medicine, you will be in great shape. Let me repeat that, You will be in great shape.
The pharmaceutical industry has been around forever, and it’s only getting stronger. I’m not against opioids, or NSAIDs, but these can cause harmful side effects if you’re using them regularly. Big Pharma is to blame.
The common way to treat lower back pain is not working now, and never will. Drugs give you restrictions. The label on your bottle of Oxycodin, naproxen, or baclofen don’t tell you that you’ll need more and more of it. Will you accept the invitation to addiction?
If you’re having trouble staying off opioids and want a better opportunity, you can always go here, and continue to read on.
Natural Remedy #1. Kratom. Staying off the beaten path of strong painkillers is ideal. It’s not as easy to just withdrawal and detox. You’ll want a way to replace the cravings of opioids. Treating your neuropathy(mind) comes with a transition to kratom. With kratom, you’ll use less and less of it each time, allowing you to safely and effectively come down from your chronic pain, and use more natural options.
Natural Remedy #2. CBDs. Another natural medicine that doesn’t get the credit it deserves is CBD oil. Based off the plant extract of a cannabis plant, it delivers analgesic properties that help you heal neurpathically. There is no high feeling, like you’d get from a THC compound, so you are sure to decrease your anxiety, pain, and feel more relaxed.
Natural Remedy #3. Herbs. Have you heard about the healing power herbs have? You’re probably familiar with:
These are all helpful in helping you get rid of treating the root of you cause….inflammation.
One great thing about herbs is that they are immediately pain relieving, and easy to consume.
If you’re having troubles with your joint pain(which is a huge cause of your lower back pain), herbs are essential.
Natural way #4. Essential Oils. There’s nothing more potent in natural medicine than essential oils. These concentrated extracted compounds in a bottle, will keep away your disc, joint, and emotional properties.What I enjoy about essential oils are that they are versatile. I can choose to use them during my night routine by consuming them by moth, or inhale them with aromatherapy.
8. Massage. The most accessible relief, and most used might just be a massage. With chronic lower back pain, you might want a quick relief so you can get up and do the things you need to do. If you choose to massage, make sure you’re doing it right.
9. Acupuncture. For centuries now, Asian customs like acupuncture have provided great relief. In acupuncture, a professional places needles in your skin, as a way to release the toxins from your body. It’s sure effective!
10. Chiropractor. You could seek a chiropractor if your back is just not doing it for you. If you can’t twist, bend, or pull, a chiropractor is useful. What you’ll get is pressure relief, and proper alignment(also known as spinal manipulation). If you suffer with getting your posture right, this is a quick alternative.
What About Sciatica?:
Sciatica is a whole other lower back pain of its own. It deals with both a bad lower back and your nerves. One of the many effective ways to relieving your lower back pain and sciatica is through exercise. If you’d like to see more on sciatica, head on over there by going here.
What Options Work Best For You?
There’s not one way and one answer, I’m sorry to break it to you. With acute pain I can see how you don’t have to accommodate for everything, but even then, practicing all these habits layed out above will not only prevent your next episodes, but help you overcome your pain much better.
With chronic lower back pain, things like a herniated disc can go away on its own naturally, while more degenerative disc and spine curving conditions take added support. When you have chronic lower back pain, you can go about exercising and stretching, taking the right medicines, eating, and your cognitive behavior.
Really, you want to maximize all these for a fruitful lifestyle. If you’d like to learn more about chronic lower back pain treatment options, go here.
Sciatica can be controlled if you exercise regularly, and you work around the pain. Start by exercising, and then integrating supplements, and devices if need be. To learn more about sciatica, go here.
In The End You Are Your Maker
Bottom line, you’re only going to get better if you put the effort in. If I could sit around and heal without a problem, I’d likely still not be happy with that; in part because I like to move around.
Whether you’re struggling with degenerative disc, thinning disc, bulging disc, a herniated disc, facet joint syndrome, or any other non-specific internal structure, you’re not going to let up now. If your pain is inflammation, you’e learned how to put the fire out, if it’s mechanical, you’ve learned how to fix it.
In each, the acute, sub-acute, chronic, and sciatica stage, there’s more than one way to go about treating your lower back pain, but not all are productive, If you can learn to stick to treating your root, you’ve just landed on the MECHA of grand prizes.
If you have any questions, concerns, or if you want to offer me your opinion, please leave it in the comments below. I’ll get back to you right away!