Do you suffer from lower back pain? If so, you’re certainly not alone.
Lower back pain affects 72.3 million people, or three out of 10 adults in the U.S., according to a survey from The Harris Poll. The survey, which collected responses from 5,020 adults, found that 48% of people with lower back pain describe it as mild. However, more than one-third (36%) say their back pain is “severe,” “very severe” or “the worst pain possible.”
Lower back pain may range from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing sensation. Pain may be more severe when situated in certain positions like bending over, standing, lifting, twisting, or walking, and may improve when lying down. Pain can also radiate to the buttocks or down the backs of your legs. Most lower back pain resolves within two to four weeks.
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
There are several factors that can cause lower back pain.
It can be triggered by tasks that involve heavy lifting, pulling or any activity that twists the spine. This is especially the case for individuals who work in manual labor or are required to lift and transport heavier objects as part of their job.
It can also be triggered by slouching, especially if your day-to-day routine entails sitting for longer periods. Having poor posture creates an imbalance in the weight distributed by the spine, and place stress on the muscles, tissues, joints, and discs in the spine.
Carrying overstuffed bags, backpacks and purses can also cause back pain, especially if done repeatedly.
Overexerting yourself during workouts, especially if your body isn’t accustomed to the movement, can also cause lower back pain. This is why it’s especially important to ensure you are performing workouts using the correct posture and stance.
Lower back pain can also be caused by certain conditions. Having a herniated disc, or a weakened spinal disc that may move or bulge, is a common culprit of intense lower back pain. Other conditions include spinal stenosis, ankylosing spondylitis, and fibromyalgia.
Stretches To Help Lower Back Pain
You can help to ease the pain of lower back pain and prevent its occurrence by performing a few stretches. All you’ll need is your CanDo® Exercise Mat to get started. Here are three of the most common stretches for lower back pain.
To perform this stretch, lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Starting with the right side, draw your right knee into your chest. You can keep your left leg bent or extend it straight. Clasp your hands behind your right thigh, atop your shinbone or atop your knee to hold the stretch. Avoid lifting your hips and keep your lower back pressed against the floor, but aim to keep the hips and legs as relaxed as possible. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. Then, repeat with the left leg.
Seated Spinal Twist
To perform a seated spinal twist, sit on the floor with both legs extended out in front of you. Then, bend your left knee and place your foot on the outside of your right thigh. Place your right arm on the outside of your left thigh, and your left hand on the mat behind you for support. Then, starting at the base of your spine, twist your body to the left side. Hold this position for up to 60 seconds before repeating on the other side.
To start, assume a tabletop position on all fours, with your hands and knees on the ground. Then, press your hands and feet into the floor as you inhale and look up towards the ceiling. When you exhale, tuck your chin into your chest, arch your spine toward the ceiling, and look down at the floor. Perform this movement for one to two minutes, moving your body with each breath.
To read more about The Harris Poll’s results on back pain, click here.
For more about our CanDo® Exercise Mat, click here.
Written by Danielle Renda