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Thread: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

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    Flashaholic* LED-holic's Avatar
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    Default lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    I helped a friend with moving into a new house this weekend, and my lower back hurts a little.

    What can I do to help relieve the pain and prevent the it from hurting in the future?

    Anyone here have good tips to share?
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Get a book on Pilates. It builds core strength that will protect your back and make good posture easier to maintain.

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    Flashaholic Taboot's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Short term - Aleve does a decent job. Advil is OK too, but it gives me a stomach ache.

    Long term - build stomach muscles and lose gut, if applicable.

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    Flashaholic* BIGIRON's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Been plagued by the "middleage male back syndrome" for 10+ years. Doc says strikes MAM's who've done lots of manual labor or been serious jocks. Normally begins in the 50's and lessens in the 60's. All nerves and muscles - no hard tissue involved so it doesn't show on the xrays, etc.

    The bible is "Treat Your Own Back" by Dr. Robin McKenzie. Old method, but works very well. Available at Amazon, etc. Often shows up at HalfPrice Books. Can't recommend it highly enough. -- but nothing works for everyone.

    Over the counter pain meds help some, but rest and theraputic exercise (per McKenzie) are the only real relief (for me). For serious episodes (such as I'm having now) I use hydrocodone and skelaxin for immediate relief . Then it's just rest and exercise.

    Other things help - good firm mattress, lumbar roll in chairs and vehicles, careful and controlled movements (no sudden twists or lifts, falling on your butt, etc).

    Good luck.

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    Flashaholic* PhantomPhoton's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Ditto to core strength. Weak abs, bad posture and tight hip flexors are all common contributers to typical back pain.
    In your case it sounds like you were doing some lifting; we've all heard the old advice of lift with your legs not your back. But it really is difficult to do, especially when dealing with awkwardly sized stuff. Even the best of us get a little sore after doing more work or lifting more than we usually do.
    Get it some rest, otc drugs if that's your thing, and/ or a massage.
    To prevent it in the future, when someone asks you to help move, just say "no." Or seek out some additional core strength and get your body used to using those muscles more. We carry things in the front usually so the back is under extra strain to keep us upright and balanced, even if we did lift with our legs. Build up the body's ability to take more punishment, practice the best way to use the body efficiently and with least impact. There are loads of great ways to do this, group exercise, personal attention form professionals, even some decent books out there as was just suggested above.
    Last edited by PhantomPhoton; 05-27-2008 at 08:28 AM.
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    When I used to own a condo I spent every weekend lugging home improvement stuff up three flights of stairs. Of course, the wife always liked the flooring tile and bamboo boards that seemed to be the heaviest the store had to offer!

    Since then I've become sensitive to back health. The current crop of cheap office chairs these days are absolute murder on the back. Mine has been fortified with a butt and lumbar cushion from Relax the Back. The good stuff isn't cheap, about $200 for the set, but really helps with fatigue. I also take several three-minute stretch breaks per day.

    My home office chair is a Herman Miller Aeron. Worth EVERY penny.

    I've also been doing core-strengthening exercise in the gym. Years of working as an auto mechanic (and working on the condo) probably have made my back permanently sensitive. What helps me the most are weighted squats, deadlifts and "Romanian" (e.g. stiff-legged) deadlifts.

    As soon as I stop working out, my back starts to hurt again. This will probably follow me the rest of my life, but on the upside, should keep me in the gym (and thus strong) through old age.

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    Flashaholic* BIGIRON's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Totally agree about the office chair. Get the best chair you can.

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    Flashaholic* xcel730's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    I think exercising your core muscles is one of the best, if not the best, solution. That includes working out your upper and lower abs, obliques, and your lower back. I work on my core muscles 3 times a week for about 30-45 minutes each workout. There are many books out there that could help you with this subject. One of the ones I've read that I like is "Body for Life".

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    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    I've tried several different routines, but I recently started doing these:
    http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/cm...?articleid=486

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    Flashaholic* xcel730's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Good link GreenLed!! I actually do several of the routines myself. I also do:

    (1) Reverse Crunch (lower abs)
    (2) Situp on an declined bench (upper abs)
    (3) Axe Chopping (obliques) - I'll hold a light dumbbell and make believe it's an axe and I'm chopping down a tree. I alternate between right and left side.
    (4) Hyperextension (lower back) - I have a situp/hyperextension combination bench at home. It looks kind of like this model: (http://www.buylifefitness.com/BODY-S...extension.html)




    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED View Post
    I've tried several different routines, but I recently started doing these:
    http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/cm...?articleid=486

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    I work at UPS and lift heavy stuff for a living, and have been dealing with back pain off and on for 8 years now. If you have problems with lower back pain and know you're going to be doing heavy lifting in the future, buy a good back brace and use it. It may help, but lifting properly (with your legs and not your back) is even more important. Most of my back pain is in my upper back and shoulders, so a brace doesn't do much for me. I've had other problems with my back going back more than 20 years, and have tried both chiropractic treatment and my family doctor for treatment (he prescribed several different drugs as well as R&R).

    For daily aches and pains I usually take 2-3 Advil (ibuprofen) now and then, but for when my back really flairs up I stick with Aleve. Usually two tablets at the onset of pain if it is severe, then one every 12 hours afterwards until the pain subsides, along with plenty of R&R. I don't like to overmedicate though, so I often just live with a little pain instead of popping pills all the time.
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    Flashaholic* HoopleHead's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    a very low impact exercise - lay on your stomach on the floor. touch your fingers to your shoulders. arch your back and pull your upper body off the floor as much as you can. to make it harder, arch and pull up both your upper body and lower legs. and to make it even harder, extend your arms straight out, past your head.

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    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Quote Originally Posted by xcel730 View Post
    Good link GreenLed!!
    You're welcome. Actually, this is the routine I used to do before:

    http://www.nismat.org/orthocor/progr...ackex.html#Ex1

    It worked great to keep my lower back pain in check (old logging injury) without much time or effort spent. However, I started doing some other physical stuff and I needed to move onto something that would strengthen my core a little more. Thus the triathlon core building routine.

    I usually combine both routines, and that seems to work for me.


    A word of caution, though... dealing with sore back muscles is one thing (for that I take Advil, or Aleve if it gets too bad), suffering from chronic back pain due to some sort of trauma (or even poor working posture) is a different animal.

    Make sure to check with a PT specialist before you start an exercise routine if what you have is chronic back pain. I was told some exercises might actually complicate an injury.

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Thanks everyone. I'll definitely be following the advice / exercise recommendations given here.

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    For me the combination of old age, arthritis, collapsed discs and damaged nerves means that Monday I will have a decompression/fusion on L4-5-S1. Do yourself a favor and don't get that bad.
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Good luck Glasstream. I've several acquaintences who've had very successful back surgeries recently.
    Last edited by BIGIRON; 05-28-2008 at 10:15 AM.

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Two Aleve and 500mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol) taken every 12 hours with a full glass of water. Do NOT take for more than 1 week.

    Abdominal and lower back exercises is the long term solution.

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glasstream15 View Post
    For me the combination of old age, arthritis, collapsed discs and damaged nerves means that Monday I will have a decompression/fusion on L4-5-S1. Do yourself a favor and don't get that bad.
    I have problems with the exact same disks. Best wishes for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.

    LED-holic, one of best 'treatments' that I've been given over the years has been pull-ups. It allows natural traction and you're developing your abs and obliques while your spine is in that decompressed stage to properly support your back. Do not drop or jump down from the bar - come down very softly or you can do serious damage.

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    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Quote Originally Posted by kitelights View Post
    IDo not drop or jump down from the bar - come down very softly or you can do serious damage.
    Been there, done that... not pleasant...

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Yoga. You'll strengthen and stretch things you didn't know you had.

    If you have the Oxygen channel, there's a good show on in the mornings around 6am (Or you might wanna record it for later in the day) called, Inhale with Steve Ross.

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Stretching my hamstrings always helps my lower back.

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    A knee replacement worked wonders for me.

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    Flashaholic* Crenshaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    there is this massive article in men's health (US edition) on back care. AFter reading it, i literally sat up straighter. Aparently,ANYTHING that flattens out the small of your back works toward making discs slip, stuff pop, ..etc...didnt sounds pretty.....
    office chairs are the worst badguys, cos you fit in them, and slouch, for as long as your working day is.


    Crenshaw

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Need to check out that article; doesn't sound right.

    One of the exercises for lower back problems is strengthening and re-programing the muscles that support the back while pushing the small of the back against a wall or the floor. The idea is to remove the curve so that pressure on the 'stack' of disks (your spine) is distributed over the whole area of the disk rather than just one edge.

    The herniations almost always take place at that one spot where all the pressure and support is concentrated. In fact, an immediate remedy for pain from bulging disks is often flattening the small of the back (cowboy squat or umbilical position) or even lifting that area of pressure by bending forward.

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    Flashaholic* Crenshaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    aparantly, the spine is lined up in such a way that thier "stright" when the small of the back is inward. its like, stacking up coins just slightly off center so that the stack leans, and then using a glue gun to glue them together like that. then if you try to straighten it, the glue will come apart....

    im not docter, just repeating what i read...anyone got mroe info?

    Crenshaw

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    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Thank you to everyone for all this great information.



    _

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Yoga will definitely help. When I was a teenager, I bought a book about the "Five Tibetan rites," which is a series of exercises that is supposed to rejuvenate the body. You can google search it and find lots of info. I think, the book I bought was called "The Fountain of Youth." The original book these come from and the story of the guy who "discovered" them (saw them being practiced) is interesting. The exercises really helped me with lower back pain I was having a few years back. After about a month of doing them, I noticed, that, activities that normally provided me with lots of pain and aches, were suddenly much easier and pain free.

    Here's a couple of links.

    http://home.acceleration.net/clark/C...ive.Rites.html
    http://www.mkprojects.com/pf_TibetanRites.htm

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    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Quote Originally Posted by kitelights View Post
    The herniations almost always take place at that one spot where all the pressure and support is concentrated. In fact, an immediate remedy for pain from bulging disks is often flattening the small of the back (cowboy squat or umbilical position) or even lifting that area of pressure by bending forward.
    This may be situation-specific (I'm guessing related to exactly where your hernia and how it came about). In my case, I worsen the pain if I do what you're suggesting. If I move in the opposite direction (arching backwards, not forward), then I get pain relief.

    That's why it's best to consult a doctor if you're suffering from chronic back pain.

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    Default Re: lower back hurts a little, how can I improve it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crenshaw View Post
    aparantly, the spine is lined up in such a way that thier "stright" when the small of the back is inward. its like, stacking up coins just slightly off center so that the stack leans, and then using a glue gun to glue them together like that. then if you try to straighten it, the glue will come apart....

    im not docter, just repeating what i read...anyone got mroe info?

    Crenshaw
    Think of the stack of coins with an O ring in between each coin and visualize the curve. If you place downward pressure on the stack (gravity and body weight on the spine), the coins (more importantly, the O rings) that are inward and off center from the top ones now have most of the pressure on just one edge.

    The problem is poor posture with most of us where the sway is over exaggerated and it's now like fanning the coins where the front surfaces of the vertebrae and disks are supporting nothing - all the pressure is on the rear edge of the disk, which is also where the disk is the weakest.

    The O rings are really more like inner tubes, but they are filled with a semi solid jelly like substance to inflate them. When too much pressure is exerted the inner tube at its thinnest or weakest point (the inside rear), can herniate or bulge and that bulge creates pressure on the spinal cord that runs through the vertebrae. The damage can be so severe that the disk actually ruptures and the substance is no longer contained, but escapes creating even more pressure on the cord.

    As disks age, they flatten or decompress. If they are injured (herniated or ruptured), the decompression is more pronounced which means less space between the disks. Another common problem is where the sciatic nerve leaves the spine to your leg. It is routed in between two disks and if there is no longer sufficient space, portions of the vertebrae now create pressure on the sciatic nerve.

    The disks are shock absorbers for when we walk, sit, etc. Conservative treatment for herniated disks is to take pressure off the disks by laying down (no downward gravity), traction, etc. If you can get rid of the pressure long enough so that the bulge or herniation isn't filled out, that area can heal itself similar to a cut. The area is weakened and can easily be re-injured which is why it's so important to understand your back and what to do to strengthen it and precautions to take to prevent further or future damage.

    GreenLED – excellent advice, as expected. There are always exceptions. I had a series of injections in my back a few years ago as a more conservative treatment to surgery and the area that was treated for pain was the opposite side that my MRI showed was actually affected.

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