I know that sounds like a strange title for an article concerning something as significant as lower back pain. For those of you who suffer from it you might be thinking “there is nothing easy when it comes to lower back pain.” That is true and for the 80% of you that will suffer from lower back pain I do not take it lightly.
What I am referring is how easy it often is to injure our lower backs and bring on those muscle spasms and sciatic type pains. I have heard many stories from both men and women from all different occupations from heavy mechanics to secretaries to truck drivers about all the heavy lifting and twisting they do day in and day out. Yet some of the most common injuries are reported when an individual bends over to tie their shoe, step off a curb or bend down to pick up their toddler.
Why is this? The answer has to do with awareness. When most of us go to lift a heavy object or some other task we know will put a strain on our lower backs we tighten our core muscles and get in an optimum lifting position. On the other hand when we perform a task we see as simple or easy we often get careless in our position and bracing and that is precisely when we hurt ourselves.
Without thinking, or bracing we bend over to tie our shoe or pick up our toddler and all the awareness goes out the window. In that moment of carelessness all of the stress we have been carrying for days, weeks, or months catches up with us and our bodies decide to rebel. You see it takes about 70% of a nerve to get pinched before you feel it, if you have a normal pain tolerance. Most people operate just below that so it does not take much to push it over the edge. That is when pain and muscle spasms show up.
You may now be wondering “if it is so easy to injure your back then what do I do?” You may not like the answer. It involves exercising your core muscles and always being mindful of body position. Edmund Burke, an Irish statesman once said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” To put that in chiropractic and lower back pain terms we could say “All that is necessary for the triumph of lower back pain is that good chiropractors do not teach and adjust.”
On a practical note here are some tips on core strengthening:
1. If you already workout your core, good for you, make sure you alternate exercises.
2. If you work out and do not do core work, please add it in. It will increase the effectiveness of all your other muscles.
3. If you do not work out at all, start slow. There is nothing more discouraging than starting a workout and being too sore to work out again for several days.
4. There are lots of good core work outs out there. If your gym has pilates that is excellent and there are lots of home pilates courses. You can find many of these on youtube for free.
The other piece of advice I have is to see a chiropractor regularly. They have the skills and tools needed to make a proper diagnosis, treat pain if you have it and keep you from getting it if you do not.