Lower back pain is a massive issue for many, including its impact on healthcare and the workforce. Its prevalence is widespread, and the pain can be a minor annoyance or completely debilitating.
We don’t often think about our lower back until it is in pain.
As muscles go, those that act on the lower back aren't particularly “showy so they are often neglected.
Many individuals spend little time performing focused lower back strengthening exercises. That is, until it is too late.
Those of you that have injured your lower back and then gone through rehabilitation training know exactly how focused lower back training can and should be.
When Should I Be Worried About Lower Back Pain
- If your lower back pain has come on suddenly, or if it is the result of a fall or trauma, seek medical attention immediately.
- If you are unsure how your lower back pain started it's critical that you get an accurate diagnosis.
There are many reasons, some of them very serious, for lower back pain, so it's imperative that you get an accurate diagnosis right away.
Understanding Lower Back Anatomy
The lower back, or lumbar area, is that part of your back that curves slightly inward.
If this curve is exaggerated inward or outward, that is an issue that needs to be addressed by your doctor.
- Our lower back supports our upper body, and also transfers loads from our upper body to our legs.
- Our lower back also acts in moving the trunk from side to side, and in a twisting motion.
There are several muscles acting on the lower back, which serve to hold up our spine, bend our trunk backwards and forwards, arch, twist, and also to maintain our posture.
Tips How to Get a Stronger Lower Back
Here are some key steps toward getting a stronger lower back, starting right now!
- Your lower back training should focus on several elements of fitness: flexibility, strength, and endurance. In terms of flexibility, there is a relatively narrow range of motion occurring in the lumbar spine.
- Many lower back exercises can be done with just your body weight. Take up yoga and pilates. Both of these fitness modalities are focused on total body strength and endurance, and they spend time on the trunk as our center of power and stability for all of our movement. Yoga is of particular value as it challenges us to work through our tension and stiffness gently, and improve our flexibility while also increasing our muscular strength and endurance. Many well intentioned exercisers devote all of their precious time to more mainstream muscles, such as biceps, triceps, chest and legs. This leaves one with strong limbs, but a weak core and trunk which increases the risk for a back injury.
- If your workout routine doesn’t already, include exercises for your lower back. Redesign it by adding in some bridges, side bridges, planks, pointing dog with stick, supermans, and cobras.
- Check out your BMI or Body Mass Index, and your hip to waist ratio. Excess weight is known to cause lower back pain, so evaluate your body composition, and if necessary, start on the path to a healthier body by lowering your BMI and improving on your hip/waist ratio.
- When lifting any object, plan for the lift ahead of time and lift according to the plan. Rushing into picking anything up, or twisting your trunk as you lift, or not using the legs when you are lifting are actions that can injure your lower back.
- Lose the high heels. High heels serve no real function, and they are tough on your body. Just think of how much more comfortable you can be all day! Try an orthotic insole or energizing compression socks in your new flat shoes for even more comfort, stability, and endurance.
Give your lower back some love through targeted recovery and relief!
How to Use a Muscle Roller Stick for Lower Back Pain
- Take a quality muscle roller stick and place it on your lower back, grasping the ends of the stick in each hand.
- Pull the stick inward, applying as much pressure to your lower back as is comfortable, not painful.
- Now, roll the stick up and down your lower back for a self massage that will release tension, improve circulation and increase blood flow.
How to Use a Massage Ball to Relieve Lower Back Pain
- Try a smooth or spiky massage ball; place it under the small of your back as you lie on the floor, and gently roll back and forth.
- This soothing self massage can also be accomplished while sitting in a chair with a solid back.
Your lower back will feel amazing and ready for action.