Grand mums walking slightly bent with hand on their hips may seem adorable but if you had to walk like that for life, you wouldn’t really enjoy it. Lower Back Pain (LBP) affects everyone at some point in life.
What causes LBP?
Back aches are caused by bending awkwardly, lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling incorrectly, slouching in chairs, standing or bending down for long periods, twisting or over-stretching, driving in a hunched position or for long periods without taking a break and overuse of the muscles, usually due to sport or repetitive movements. The pain develops suddenly without any apparent reason. You may wake up one morning with severe back pain and not be able to find any cause for it.
What to do?
Most LBPs disappear within few weeks whether they are treated or not. But you should know when the problem is serious it must get doctor’s attention rather than ignoring it by trying to use over the counter medication suggested by your local pharmacists.
If it is just a back pain and you know what caused it, say heavy weight lifting or a bad posture, then you can be your own doctor and treat yourself. Resting is good but not for more than 2 days. After the sharp pain has subsided, you can slowly increase your activity level and you will notice that it helps ease the pain and stiffness. Although it may be difficult but trying to increase activity as much as your body can take actually helps to make it better.
A hot bath or placing a hot water bottle over the affected area can help release the tension. if you can find some sea salt to add to your bath – it will help even more to relax those muscles.. Some find cold treatments, such as ice packs, more helpful but do not place ice directly over the area as it can cause cold burn. Alternate hot and cold compressions is also an option
Changing your sleeping position can take some strain off your back and ease the pain. Sleep on your side, draw your legs up towards your chest and put pillow between your legs. If you chose to sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees. This will help maintain the normal curve of your lower back.
To prevent recurrence
Unlike our arm and leg muscles, back muscles are not really used in our daily activities. If you regularly suffer from back pains, exercises that strengthen the back muscles can be helpful. You can try the following exercises:
Leg raising exercise. Lie flat on your back on the floor, lift each heel in turn just off the floor while keeping your legs straight. Repeat 5 times for each side.
You can also stand with your back against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slide down into a crouch so that your knees bent to about 90 degrees. Count to 5, then slide back up the wall.
Bottom lifting exercise. Lie flat on your back, bend your knees so that your feet flat on the floor. Then lift your bottom in the air by tightening your stomach muscles while keeping your back straight. Initially do the exercise once or twice a day and then gradually increase to 6 times, if your back allows. Always know your limits! Don’t push it if your body really cannot take it.
For those women in their 40s, who are not ready to accept that their bones are aging, be careful when you lift something up. Start in a good position, keep the object close to your body, your back straight as much as possible and avoid twisting or leaning sideways. If you are working in the office for long hours, change your posture because the body can tolerate being in one position for only a short period of time. While sitting down, make sure your back is properly supported and you feet are on the ground.
Women are prone to developing back pain as hormonal changes reduce calcium deposits in our bones. As a result our bones get thinner & weaker and subsequently more prone to fractures. The woman hormone, oestrogen, helps absorb calcium better from the gut and prevents calcium removal from bones. The lack of this hormone after menopause cause the bones to weaken. So if your doctor asks you to take , please do! Maintain an ideal weight, wear flat shoes, avoid sudden movements and stay active.