Back injuries are one of the most common aliments of modern time. From either acute injuries while lifting or twisting the wrong way, to chronic injuries ranging from strains to disc herniation – lower back pain is no fun.
Even if you don’t experience back pain now, it may only be a matter of time, or one wrong move while getting up out of your chair that causes you some real discomfort.
Chronic, general low back pain often comes from one of the biggest issues we face thanks to modern times – too much sitting. Think about it. You wake up, and sit down to read/watch tv/eat. Then you sit in your car, then at your desk, then in your car, then at home…the average American does a lot of sitting.
Now, before diving deeper into how to fix general chronic back pain, it is important that if your back pain persists or seems extreme that you see a medical professional for a closer look.
Whether it is soreness, acute injury or just a stiff back, it is important to use the following information:
After an issue shows up, the first thing we want to do is treat it with hot or cold therapy; but which one is appropriate?
As a rule of thumb, use ice for acute injuries or pain, along with inflammation and swelling. Use heat for muscle pain or stiffness. A good product to use is the Mueller Hot/Cold pack. Another option is to use a back brace with the hot/cold pack built in, such as the Mueller 4-in-1 Back Brace.
As far as the use of the brace for compression, it will help with acute injuries, and will assist in stabilizing the back – but this is only a temporary fix. In our everyday lives, the goal should be to strengthen our bodies – and not have to rely on an external aid. The lumbar back brace is a game changer for preventing further injury or extra support during lifting heavy objects, but the goal should always be to strengthen our body.
How do we fix chronic weak or tight back? Let’s dive deeper into that whole “sitting” issue.
By sitting for prolonged periods of time (at the office, on a plane, in the car, etc.) we are essentially keeping our entire core area in a shut off state. This can then lead to what is better known as “lower crossed syndrome”.
LCS consists of 4 dysfunctions: tight hip flexor muscles, tight lower back muscles, weak abdominal muscles, and weak gluteal muscles.
You may not notice all four of these in your everyday life, but chances are, if you suffer from one of the four dysfunctions stated above, you could use some work in all four areas. The following is a quick corrective circuit that can be done in a matter of minutes, every day, to improve your overall core health.
Complete the following 4 exercises for one round, once per day, as part of a general therapy session or warm up for a workout.
Tight Lower Back: foam roll the lower back slowly and with decent pressure on the muscles. Make sure to move slow, stop on a knot, and breathe deep – then move the roller another few millimeters. Complete for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on how tight the back is.
Weak abs: hold a front plank for 15-30 seconds. Focus on squeezing the belly button in, pinching the butt cheeks tight, and pulling your shoulders down, and back. Think about forcefully contracting all the muscles below your neck as hard as possible. If someone were to come and try to push you over, you shouldn’t budge. WATCH HERE.
Tight Hip Flexors:get in a half kneeling position. Which ever leg is back, squeeze that glute hard, and push your hips forward. Make sure you aren’t tilting forward with the hips, but rather tilting the hips slightly upward. Pretend like you have a belt buckle on and you are trying to tilt it towards your chest. Also, try pushing your front foot forward into the ground, and simulating dragging it back toward you. Reach overhead for a bigger stretch. VIEW HERE.
4: Weak Glutes: lay on your back and drive your hips toward the ceiling while pushing through your heels. The goal is to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze the glutes HARD, like you are trying to “crack some walnuts”. Hold the contraction for 1-5 seconds, for 10 repetitions. WATCH HERE.
There you have it, 4 quick things you can do TODAY to help improve posture, and relieve some chronic pain you may be experiencing.
As stated earlier, the severity of your lower back issue is something to be addressed by a medical professional before jumping into any exercise routine or using any sort of brace.
But, if you need to be able to provide compression, ice or heat to your low back for any reason, look no further than a product such as the 4-in-1 lumber support brace.