Did you know that one of the most common complaints or concerns that we see in the clinic is lower back pain? millions of people suffer from lower back pain every single day but of just determined that they either need to live with it or there’s nothing else they can do.
however, there are things that people can do every single day to improve their lower back pain and possibly even alleviate it. here are some surprising causes of lower back pain that people may not consider as the root cause or have been told that they don’t matter.
1. Poor standing posture
2. Weak Hips
3. Systemic inflammation
Wondering if you might struggle with one or more of these causes and want to learn more? Keep reading below on how to work on these issues at home.
Our Physical Therapist’s top tips for alleviating lower back pain…
Correct your standing posture, not just your sitting posture.
It’s not just your sitting posture.
Do you think the way you stand affects your back pain?
More often than not, we hear “no” as the common response when people come in to see our physical therapist, Phillip.
But guess what… it does! Posture when sitting AND standing can lead to causes of lower back pain.
Stand with your feet no more than a fist-width apart.
Move the majority of your pressure to the balls of your feet and keep the arches of your feet raised.
Keep your bottom behind your rib cage (in terms of alignment).
Interested in learning more about great standing posture to help alleviate back pain? Check out GOATA Movement: https://goatamovement.com/
Strengthen Your Hips
Another common cause of lower back pain that we see in the clinic that is also surprising to hear is weak hips.
Due to the sedentary lifestyle of many Americans, people develop weak hips over the years. Poor sitting and standing posture also contributes to weak hips as well. By having stronger hips and actively engaging your hips through activity, you can decompress the lower back and load the energy throughout the hip. So, that means you have less force going through your back, which means it is better supported.
Ways to strengthen your hips:
Work on your core strength. This doesn’t mean sit-ups and crunches. Think about engaging your core through exercises like planks, resistance training, or bodyweight squats and lunges.
Another way to strengthen your hips is to move your body throughout the day. If you have a sedentary job, take breaks when you can and get up and walk around so to actively engage your hip muscles.
Not able to take breaks at work as much? Walk on your lunch.
Cold outside? Try walking up and down stairs in your office building or home.
Movement is a powerful tool in strengthening your hips, which then in turn strengthens your core, and helps alleviate lower back pain.
Decrease Systemic Inflammation
Did you know that as of 2018, nearly half of the population in the United States had a chronic disease, and that the large majority of these chronic diseases were lifestyle diseases? When we say lifestyle diseases, we are referring to chronic conditions that come about as a result of lifestyle choices (diet, sleep, movement) but also are conditions that can be improved if lifestyle choices are changed.
And what’s the root of chronic disease? Chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation, while being a top leader in chronic disease, can also cause everyday pain like lower back pain. We see it all the time in our clinic.
So, what are some recommendations for decreasing inflammation in the body naturally?
Focus on your nutrition. The Standard American Diet is typically filled with processed, quick grab-and-go foods that only lead to higher inflammation and ultimately pain in the body – be it lower back pain, joint pain, etc. When focusing on what you’re eating, pain can start to decrease because it’s not being fed inflammatory foods that keep it in that constant state of inflammation.
Start slow and gradually work in whole foods at snack and meal time. If it’s easier to start with your snacks, substitute chips or sweets for fruits or vegetables. Then when it’s time to start working on meal time, make a plan and find meals that incorporate whole foods. Our personal go-tos are a simple meal that consists of a meat/protein source, fiber in the form of vegetables, a healthy fat source (we cook a lot with ghee, avocado oil, or coconut oil), and a healthy carbohydrate (think about a potato or a whole grain). Starting to introduce whole foods can make a world of a difference in your lower back pain because the systemic inflammation in your body will decrease, too.
Hydration is also a great way to decrease inflammation in your body and ultimately help with your lower back pain. Many of us don’t get near enough water in each day, which can lead to inflammation in the body and ultimately pain throughout the body. While there are varying suggestions out there on how much water, we personally aim for half of our body weight in ounces per day in water. Do we meet that goal every day? No, not always, and the goal will change if we’re sweating more, etc. But making sure you’re getting adequate water intake each day can help decrease inflammation in your body, which overall can help with lower back pain.
Have you tried these tips and still struggle with lower back pain? Then it might be time to come see us in the clinic and get an opinion from Phillip (our physical therapist) regarding what’s going on! Call us today at 608-313-5252 and schedule your appointment.
**None of the information in this post is to be taken as medical advice. Before making any adjustments, please consult your physician or care provider.