By far, one of the most common types of chronic pain has to be lower back pain. It affects just about all of us at one time or another. And anyone who's had it can attest to the fact that it affects just about every movement you do. Walking, bending, squatting, lifting anything, even bending down to tie your shoes can be a nightmare!
So what do we do about it? First we have to understand the causes of lower back pain. In short, there are three primary causes of lower back pain. Here they are:
1) TIGHT HAMSTRINGS
2) WEAK CORE
3) TIGHT HIP FLEXORS
So let's start with the first one. Tight Hamstrings are a major cause of not only lower back pain, but knee pain as well. To remedy this, make sure to regularly stretch your hamstrings. How do we do this. One of the best stretches is done by placing your leg on a raised surface and bending forward to try and touch your toes. However there are a few things that must be understood for any type of stretch.
First, make sure that your leg is NOT locked. It should be straight, but not totally locked. Second, hold the stretch for about 20 to 30 seconds. Less than 20 seconds is pretty much useless and more than 30 seconds, while not harmful, will offer no significant benefit over stretching for 30 seconds. Above all, there must be no tension! Just stay relaxed and go as far as you can. You should never stretch to the point of pain. Gradually over time, try to stretch further and increase your flexibility.
Next we have the Weak Core. Anyone who knows me or has trained with me is well aware of the fact that I emphasize core training a lot! In my mind, this is an absolute must. All your strength and vitality comes from your core (Think of your Dan Tien in Chinese medicine and martial arts). and in addition, strengthening it will help prevent back pain. Planks, Mountain Climbers, and other variations are excellent for this.
Finally we have Tight Hip Flexors. This is lesser known than the other two, but extremely important. I once had a man who had pretty much written off 2 years of his life because he believed he was doomed to a life of lower back pain and nothing could be done about it. But after addressing the other two issues and particularly with this one, his back pain has now been almost completely eliminated! Weak hip flexors are rarely a problem since we use them every time we take a step. However tight hip flexors are extremely common, at least as common as having a weak core and tight hamstrings. To help with this, get on one knee in a lunging position. Then stretch by moving yourself forward stretching that supporting leg and hip flexor.
So there you have it. The three causes of lower back pain and the ways to deal with them. By understanding the causes of lower back pain, it is far easier to figure out a plan to rehabilitate it and/or prevent it. After all, you know the old saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
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