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Tips for Lower Back Pain

The lower back is a problem area for so many people today. We are constantly bending, lifting, twisting and putting tension on our lower back. For many people there isn’t a single certain cure for their back pain but a series of trial and error to see what works best for them. Traditional medical approaches will usually focus on addressing the anatomical problems in your lower back, but for many people more of a multifaceted approach will do a better job at keeping the pain at bay. Below are some tips/remedies to lessen that pesky lower back pain:

  1. Be Happy, Release Your Endorphins Endorphins are a hormone created naturally by the body that act just as strongly as a high level pain medication. The release of endorphins is triggered in the brain by exercising, smiling, gossiping, eating certain foods, and many other things that lead us to that euphoric feeling. When endorphins are released in your body, they help block pain signals from registering with your brain. Endorphins also help alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression, which are all associated with chronic back pain and often make the pain worse.

  2. Sleep, Sleep, and More Sleep Pain is a leading cause of insomnia (difficulty with falling asleep and/or staying asleep). Approximately two-thirds of people with chronic back pain suffer from some type of sleep disorder. Perplexingly, inadequate sleep can make your back pain worse. This vicious cycle makes it ineffective to treat just the pain. If you have sleep problems, you need to get the sleep problems addressed too. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep a night.

  3. Pillows- Thick vs Thin Determining which pillow you should use depends on each unique individual:If you happen to sleep on your side then you should select a pillow that is about the thickness of your shoulder. If your head and spine are straight, then you have found the correct size. If your head tilts toward the bed, then the pillow is too thin. If it tilts away from the bed, your pillow is too thick.

If you sleep on your back, you want a thin pillow. You want your head tilting directly toward the ceiling not the wall or your feet.

  1. Best Positions for Sleeping Sleeping on your back with a pillow under your neck and a pillow under your knees.

Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees.Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as this causes you to twist your head to the side thus placing stress on the lower back.

  1. Ice, Ice, Ice and Heat Be sure to ice 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off as many times a day as you can. Cold application has two primary benefits: It reduces inflammation, which is usually a culprit in any type of back pain and It acts as a local anesthetic by slowing down nerve impulses, which keeps the nerves from spasming and causing pain.

Heat application has two primary benefits: It stimulates blood flow, which brings healing nutrients to the affected area of the low back. It inhibits the pain messages being sent to the brain. Heat can come in many forms, and it's best to try several to find what works best for you. Taking a hot bath or shower, soaking in a hot tub, or using a heating pad, hot water bottle, or heat wrap that provides continuous, low-level heat are all ways to bring healing warmth to your lower back.

  1. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch One often overlooked contributor to lower back pain is tight hamstrings. If your hamstring muscles—located in the back of your thighs—are too tight your lower back and sacroiliac joints will be stressed, leading to more pain. Hamstring stretching should be done carefully and at least twice per day. Throw in some glute stretches, IT band, and groin stretches to really loosen up that lower back.

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