Understanding and Preventing Your Low Back Pain

low back pain, lumbar strain, lumbar sprain, low back pain prevention

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Understanding and Preventing Your Low Back Pain 

About 80% of Americans suffer debilitating low back pain at some point in their life. This fact is staggering, yet it doesn’t have to be this common. The key to staying out of this group of low back pain sufferers comes down to one word: Prevention. One common problem amongst nearly all low back pain sufferers is the wrong low back position during everyday activities such as brushing your teeth, bending over, picking up a small child, exercising and sitting.


The lumbar spine, which is the lower part of the spine, is meant to have a natural curve to it that displaces the forces of gravity, weight, etc. evenly and minimally. When this natural curve is straightened or reduced, the forces on the discs, muscles, and ligaments of the low back significantly increase. For example, sitting without maintaining the natural curve increases the forces on those structures by 30-40%!


The keys to prevention of low back pain are as follows: 

  • Understand your symptoms and risk factors 
  • Body Preparation and Positioning 
  • Proper Activities of Daily Living 
  • Corrective Exercises 
  • Treatment Considerations 


Lumbar strains and sprains 

A lumbar strain is when an injury occurs to the muscles of the low back. A sprain, on the other hand, is an injury to the ligaments or joints; both, however, have similar pain and symptom patterns. When these muscles or ligaments become injured, it can lead to dysfunctional movements, and cause instability in the spine. Patients suffering from this diagnosis often have pain when attempting to walk, sit, exercise, and can even occur during sleep. 


The leading physical causes of this condition are: 

  • Overexertion
  • Falls
  • Poor movement mechanics
  • Poor posture
  • Heavy lifting


However, with proper education, you can protect yourself from many of these causes. The primary sufferers of this condition, especially chronic cases, often are in poor physical condition with weak stabilizing muscles. A comorbid factor of this condition is often a desk job that involves sitting for most of the day. This type of patient usually has poor sitting posture, which can lead to a weakening of your spinal erectors and destabilize the spine, contributing to the condition. The importance of a strong core and training your spinal muscles cannot be overstated.


In cases where the injury stems from a problem related to overuse, poor posture, or improper exercise, you can take steps to help avoid these injuries from happening. Proper instruction about your postural habits can reduce the detrimental effects of sitting on the spine, as well as education about correct lifting form can reduce these episodes of low back pain and help you build a healthy spine. If you are ready to take the next steps to help prevent low back pain from a lumbar strain and sprain, give our office a call at 262-638-9999.