• Lower Back Pain: Explained

    lower-back-pain1While the benefits of building outweigh the risks, going hard at the gym can take a toll on the body. The reality is that pain can be a serious side effect of working out, ranging from acute to chronic discomfort. Lower back pain is among the most common ailments affecting adults today and isn’t always caused by injuries sustained during workouts. Even everyday activities can provoke pain, including prolonged sitting, postural issues, and psychological stress. Read through the comprehensive guide below for tips on how to push through the throes of lower back pain so you can return to the gym ASAP. POSSIBLE PROBLEMS [caption id="attachment_15155" align="alignright" width="300"]scar2 Muscle Strain[/caption] Muscle Strain and Lumbar Strain: Often referred to as a pulled muscle, muscle strain occurs as a result of muscle tearing, whereas lumbar strain results from overstretched ligaments. These are common injuries often caused by heavy lifting or a sudden movement, and sufferers often experience pain accompanied by spasms. While the pain level can diminish relatively quickly, occasional flare-ups are likely to ensue. And although acute lower back pain usually subsides by itself, chronic lower back pain is a more serious issue and should be addressed by a professional. [caption id="attachment_15156" align="alignleft" width="154"]Sciatica3-resized-600.jpg Sciatica[/caption] Sciatica: Sciatica affects the lower back and can cause a radiating pain down the legs. A common chronic condition, sciatica often affects only one side of the body and can cause numbness or tingling in addition to pain. Sciatica is usually provoked by injury-induced pressure on the sciatic nerve. Treatment varies depending on severity: hot/cold packs, OTC pain relievers, stretching, physical therapy, and, in extreme cases, surgery. [caption id="attachment_15154" align="alignright" width="299"]herniated-disc-image Herniated Disc[/caption] Herniated Disc: The lumbar region of the spine contains five vertebrae, classified as L1 through L5. L5 is the lowest vertebrae of the spine, and therefore supports the most weight, making it extra susceptible to injury. These vertebrae are separated by intervertebral disks that provide essential cushioning but are also prone to rupture, which can trigger pain. Herniated discs are often treated with oral painkillers and physical therapy. In more serious, treatment-resistant cases surgery may be necessary. WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW Alternate Between Hot and Cold: Switching between hot and cold packs can help reduce inflammation and in turn relieve pain. Begin by applying cold immediately after an injury and follow with heat to relax the area. Strike a Healthy Balance Between Movement and Rest: Movement is actually more helpful to alleviating pain than staying bedridden. Slow stretches and exercises that don’t aggravate the pain are encouraged, but be sure to rest, too. Hitting the gym immediately after injury is not advisable, as placing further pressure on muscles, vertebrae, and ligaments will only exacerbate pain. Medicate: Use an over the counter painkiller for immediate relief and consider applying a heating balm to soothe sore muscles. Seek Professional Help: Consider visiting a physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist, or acupuncturist. Diversify your Core Exercises: Remember that the core includes not just the abdominals but the lower back, buttocks, and pelvic region as well. Get out of your sit-up rut by adding planks and squats to your abdominal routine. Invest in a Different Mattress: Make sure the firmness of your mattress supports your sleep style - be it back, stomach, or side - and consider replacing your mattress every 10 years or so.
    Above all, know your limits and avoid pushing your body too far in pursuit of more immediate results. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
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