Lower back pain is one of the most common medical complaints from individuals in the United States. Approximately 80 percent of Americans will experience some lower back pain in their lifetime, and collectively, they spend around $50 million trying to get rid of lower back pain each year. It’s so prevalent, in fact, that it’s the second most common reason to see a doctor. Each year, about 3-4 percent of the U.S. population experiences temporary disability due to lower back pain.
If you’ve ever experienced lower back pain, you’re not alone. However, it’s not always clear what the cause is. Doctors can only determine the cause about 15 percent of the time, but even then, the conditions in those cases are rare, such as cancer and infection. More common causes include:
- Accidents and trauma
- Poor muscle strength
- Obesity, which adds strain to the muscles
- Herniated disks
- Degeneration of the vertebra
You’ll never truly know when pack pain will flare or when an injury will occur, and it can happen to anyone at any time. Aging, genetics, and occupational hazards can, however, increase your risk of back injury as can poor posture, pregnancy, and a sedentary lifestyle.
There are many different types of lower back pain, so it can feel different for different individuals. The most common type of lower back pain is a localized pain that can be either sharp or dull. Sometimes, however, that pain can travel around the buttocks, groin, and thighs, though it rarely travels below the knee. In this case, individuals typically feel pain on only one side of the buttocks. This is typically caused by compressed roots of the sciatic nerve, and the pain may feel more severe.
Lower back pain is typically ongoing, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to dull the pain or treat it completely. Some short-term solutions involve medication, but to truly cure your lower back pain, you’ll want to seek out a lifestyle change. This can be as simple as buying a new mattress — 95 percent of orthopedic surgeons agree a good mattress plays a role in pain management!
However, the treatment solution that will help the most is simple exercises for lower back pain. This can include stretching and low-impact aerobic exercises. Exercise is a long-term solution that helps increase back strength and flexibility to minimize back pain and reduce the chance of future injury.
Some stretches and exercises can offer immediate relief, but the real trick is to stick with it over time to build up your strength, even when your back starts feeling better. If you remain consistent, you’ll have an easier time managing or completely eliminating your pain in the long-run. Exercise is also the best way to avoid future injury. Even if you do injure yourself later, you may be able to reduce the severity and duration of the pain by taking precautionary measures.
The following infographic highlights some of the best exercises for lower back pain. If at any time you feel pain, stop your workout! If you’re unsure of what exercises to try, consult a doctor or professional physical therapist so they can assess your injury and determine the right exercises for it.
Ready to start reducing lower back pain? Read on to learn more about the stretches and exercises that are good for back pain.
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