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Common causes of low back pain and what you can do about it

Acute or chronic lower back pain affects 80-85% of people at some stage in their lives and is a leading cause of people missing work.

Three of the most common causes of lower back pain include; Sprains, strains or disc injuries. All three can happen suddenly, or can develop slowly over time from repetitive movements. The most common mechanisms for these injuries are:

  • Twisting whilst lifting in a flexed/forward position
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Sudden movements that place too much stress on the low back
  • Poor posture over time
  • Prolonged periods of sitting or standing
  • Sports injuries, especially in sports that involve twisting or large forces of impact.

What can you do to reducing the risks?

There are some quick and easy steps that can provide short term relief for acute low back pain, like icing for 20 minutes every hour.

If however the pain has been present for a prolonged time or there is a recurrent history of the injury, then a preventative approach and management plan with your health practitioner will give better results.

Here are our tips to help reduce your pain and to help you get you moving better:

Exercise

The body is designed to move. Regular low-impact aerobic activities can increase strength and endurance in your back and allow your body to function better. Walking and swimming are great forms of low impact exercise.

Stay strong – Build muscle strength and flexibility

Abdominal, back and glute strengthening exercises is an essential component of the rehab program for a majority of lower back injuries. An exercise program is recommended under the guidance of a health professional.

Keep the weight off

Maintain a healthy weight reduces the pressure on the joints and muscles as well as improving postural curves.

Get moving

If your work environment is predominantly sitting, make a plan to get up off your chair every hour. Some tips may include – stand up while on the phone, go get a glass of water, do a lap of the office.

Stand tall

Don’t slouch, keep your shoulders back and down. This will help with your posture as well as help you breathe a little easier.

Sit smart

If you spend a majority of the day sitting, ensure you have a seat with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. Placing a small pillow or rolled towel in the low back arch of your back can help maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level. Remember don’t get caught sitting for longer than 1hr, set a reminder on your phone every hour to get up to get moving!

Lift smart

Avoid heavy lifting, if possible, but if you must lift something heavy, let your legs do the work. Keep your back straight, no twisting, and bend only at the knees. Hold the load close to your body. Find a lifting partner if the object is heavy or awkward.

Try these helpful tips to help ease your low back pain. If you are still experiencing low back pain, book in to see one of our friendly Osteopaths so they can help create a plan to manage and prevent your back pain.

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(03) 9561 1958

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