Eight out of ten of us—that’s right, a whopping 80%—will suffer lower back pain sometime in our life. Lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability, and Americans alone spend over 50 billion dollars each year trying to treat and manage it.
Why are those numbers so high? And more importantly, what can you do if you start to suffer from lower back pain yourself? Are there better options than opioids, spine injections, and surgery out there?
Common Causes of Low Back Pain
Often, low back pain comes from overuse or misuse of our body. If you think about how your spine is built, the upper and middle portion are supported by skeletal structure—your rib cage. Likewise, the very lowest portion is supported by your hipbones and sacrum. But your low back is only supported by muscles. This allows you to bend at the waist, but leaves a vulnerable point for injury.
There’s a small group of four muscles dedicated to protecting this vulnerable gap between ribs and hips. It’s called your Quadratus Lumborum, and it runs between your bottom rib and the edges of each vertebra and your hipbones (see picture).
Of course back pain can come from more complicated causes. Spinal malfunctions, compression fractures, herniations, and disease can cause all sorts of havoc along your spinal column. If you are suffering from low back pain you should have a doctor check it out to make sure nothing out of the ordinary is wrong with you.If you do lots of bending, twisting, lifting, or standing in one place for hours at a time, that vulnerable gap between ribs and hips is right where you’ll feel the tension the most. If you’re overweight and your belly pulls forward on your spine, the ongoing strain will often show up right in that area as well. If your core muscles are weak from sitting for hours on end, that area is right where you’ll feel the weakness. And do we even need to mention poor posture and the strain that puts on this same area?
If you’re in the majority though, and your back pain is from one of the earlier causes we mentioned, the good news is, there’s a lot you can do to help your lower back pain ease up.
The First Line of Defense
They say the best defense is a good offense. And in the case of the most common causes of lower back pain, that is certainly true.
Get a good mattress. Get a massage. Find a good chiropractor. Be respectful of your body’s needs by taking action to help heal or even prevent the development of lower back pain.
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