Warning Signs for Lower Back Pain
Go, go, and go!
Where are you going to go if your body is in constant pain?
We are all living in a world where “on the go” has become normal - rushing from work, school, social commitments, and everything in between. Oftentimes, keeping up the busy schedule takes priority over tuning into our bodies and making healthy decisions.
The side effect of a busy lifestyle is often ignoring our health completely and the little messages from our bodies. These messages may not immediately take us out of the game. They will, however, persistently show up, often in the form of pain.
Lower back pain is common and more commonly ignored until the pain is unbearable. This message from your body is a symptom that millions of people live with day in and day out, often forcing lifestyle changes to accommodate chronic pain and discomfort.
Let’s take a look at lower back pain, the warning signs (aka messages) that should not be ignored, and how to get pain relief from chiropractic care.
What causes lower back pain?
And there it is, all of a sudden, you feel pain in your lower back. Maybe it’s a sharp pinch with every step or a dull pain you’ve been ignoring for weeks, that you now feel in your bottom. You might be asking yourself, where did this pain come from, or why is this happening again?
Lower back pain can arise from many things. Your back muscles are essential to your body’s movement – standing, sitting, breathing, and stabilizing the spine and torso.
Think about how you move throughout your day. Your back is right in the middle of everything in your world - literally. Your back supports the weight of the upper body, so any action your body makes could be causing and contributing to your lower back pain.
The three muscle types supporting the spine function are the extensor, flexor, and oblique.
Every bend, twist, and move throughout the spine starts and ends with these muscles.
Did you Throw Out Your Back?
The most common cause of lower back pain is injury.
A back injury is common for athletes putting repetitive strain on the muscles supporting the spine and anyone doing the heavy lifting and positioning their body in the wrong way to support the movement.
At some point in your life, someone may have told you, “Lift with your legs, not your back”.
This smart advice has proven to be true. When people go into an activity without stretching or knowing their own physical limitations, an injury is likely to occur.
Our bodies are made up of complex systems and function somewhat mechanically. After reading this article, you might second guess jumping into an afternoon of extensive yard work or carrying that extra bag of groceries without a proper stretch or body tune-up first!
Strain, Sprain, or pinched nerve in the lower back?
Low back pain can show up as a result of a sprain or a strain on the muscles supporting the spine. And also from a pinched nerve. The lower back is actually one of the most susceptible areas for a sprain, strain, and pinched nerve to occur.
Most of us just know pain and discomfort. Understanding the difference between the causes of your lower back pain can help reduce your risk and choose activities that are safe for your body.
Understand the type of lower back injury.
A sprain is an injury that occurs when ligaments are torn and are often the result of lifting heavy objects. This is dull, achy pain.
A strain is an injury that occurs when a muscle overstretched or tears. This is also a dull, achy pain.
A pinched nerve occurs when there is too much pressure applied to the surrounding tissues causing a herniated disc in your spinal cord. This is often a sharp, burning pain that radiates outward.
Both sprains and strains cause pain, swelling, loss of mobility, and tightening of the lower back muscles. These symptoms are pretty good indicators that you have indeed thrown out your back.
Let’s take a look at how these injuries can happen in real life.
Everyday Activities Causing Lower Back Pain
Some of the most common and unavoidable daily activities can lead to injury-causing lower back pain. It’s not always an instant, but the daily, repetitive motion can cause significant pain if left untreated.
Cleaning is a love, hate task that is unavoidable to most people. There’s lifting, bending, scrubbing, and squatting. These actions can cause serious strain on the lower back. If you’ve ever felt physically exhausted from cleaning, it’s for a good reason. There is significant stress put on the spine.
Grocery Shopping seems harmless. Are you a cart or basket shopper? We have all seen the person with the overflowing basket walking around the store. This low-risk activity can actually cause quite a bit of pain with all of the reaching, lifting, and bending. Especially if your shopping habits involve carrying a basket instead of pushing around all those grocery list items!
Lifting Heavy Objects can sneak up on the best of us. Carrying that oversized Amazon delivery box upstairs seems like a reasonable option. Even when there’s a will, it may not always be the right way. People with jobs that require moderate to heavy lifting are at even greater risk with the daily strain on the back muscles.
Playing with Children or Pets is inevitable and necessary! Bending down, and lifting especially if you are lifting with your back and not your legs, will put you in the risk zone for potential lower back injury and pain.
Driving can cause poor posture, and, depending on your daily commute, can keep you in the same sitting position for hours. We’ll get to this later, but immobility is a sure way to end up with a back injury and low back pain.
Lifestyle Risk Factors Causing Lower Back Pain
We all have choices, and how we live can greatly impact our health. Some of the risk is unavoidable and a part of your lifestyle. The difference is understanding where you can make small adjustments for the greatest long-term impact on your health and mobility.
Common high-risk lifestyle factors include
Underlying medical issues like osteoarthritis
Poor standing and sitting posture
Working habits - sitting at a desk or physically demanding occupation
Lack of exercise
Excess body weight
Overuse - commonly seen in athletes
The lack of awareness and acceptance to our body limits is the greatest risk factor. It’s the reason why people may choose to ignore a back injury and professional help, especially when issues arise from everyday life.
How lower back pain affects your life and wellness.
Living with lower back pain is not easy, and can lead to a devastating cycle of worsening pain and decreasing physical function, with a profound impact on your life and wellness.
It can cause discomfort and limit your physical mobility, making it difficult to get through those simple daily tasks and, in some cases, cause work disability and weight gain.
Remember that your body is made up of systems all working together for optimal health.
Constant pain can also have a significant impact on your mental well-being and energy, leading to stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep loss. Learn about chiropractic care to reduce stress here.
5 Warning Signs you need treatment for low back pain
Increasing pain that lasts longer than 4 weeks
Progressive numbness or weakness in legs
Inability to urinate or produce a bowel movement
Sharp pain worsens with sitting and movement
It’s important to acknowledge these warning signs and seek out professional help to evaluate the underlying cause. A chiropractor can help with diagnosis and develop a tailored treatment plan to alleviate your lower back pain.
What happens when lower back pain is ignored?
Ignoring lower back pain and nerve irritation can lead to more serious issues, including long-term restricted mobility, permanent disabilities, spinal stenosis, and radiculopathy (severe nerve pain).
It’s easy to stay on the wheel and keep living our lives with lower back pain. Especially when the pain goes away. It can and will come back with even greater pain on the next strain, sprain, or pinched nerve.
Know your options with chiropractic care and the faster way for lower back pain relief.
How can a Chiropractor Relieve My Back Pain?
Seeking chiropractic care for your lower back pain is the first step to getting long-term relief.
Unlike other doctors, a chiropractor focuses on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. So, generally speaking, they are dedicated to any pain and dysfunction in your muscles, bones, and joints. They will develop treatment plans to actually target and fix the source of pain with a series of treatments.
At Geaux Chiro, you can expect your first appointment for lower back pain to consist of questions regarding your medical history and current state of pain, paired with a physical examination that may include tests.
Every treatment plan for lower back pain is focused on restoring joint mobility, pain relief, and preventative care. The following treatments can be expected for lower back pain.
Active Release Therapy (ART)
Therapeutic & Rehabilitation
Do you need treatment for lower back pain?
Preventive Care for Lower back pain
Any great chiropractor will offer treatment, and provide guidance on preventative adjustments in your everyday life to help reduce the risk of developing lower back pain. Geaux Chiro is all about pairing the treatment with lifestyle tips and
Keep it moving and stretching. Regular exercise can help strengthen the muscles in the back and improve posture. Activities such as yoga, pilates, or strength training can be beneficial.
Lift with your legs, Superhuman! When lifting heavy objects, be sure to bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back. This will help reduce the strain on your lower back and prevent injury.
Watch your weight. Excess weight can put extra strain on your back and contribute to lower back pain. Maintaining a healthy weight with a balance of nutrition and exercise can help reduce the risk of injuries causing lower back pain.
Don’t let pain restrict your life in any way. Whether you are an athlete at the peak of your career, or someone with a grueling job, ignoring lower back pain will lead to restrictions that you are not ready for. Take a few minutes out of your day and imagine your life in 5 years. Do you see yourself living to the fullest or saying “No” to participating in activities that you love?
Discover a pain-free life with Geaux Chiro Services