Let’s talk a little about lower back pain causes.
“Why does my lower back hurt?”
That’s a question our trainers hear far too often.
Not only does lower back pain HURT, it can keep you from going to the gym, running, or keeping up with your regular exercise program.
Much of the time, though, the gym is exactly where you need to be to stop lower back pain.
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Lower Back Pain Statistics
It would be rare to find someone who has never experienced the agony: One day you reach over to lift something that’s a bit heavier than you figured. You feel a little tinge of protest, but don’t think much about it.
The next day it’s difficult to get out of bed or even brush your teeth.
It may have been a while since something like that happened to you, and we hope it never does again… but the statistics aren’t in your favor.
Consider these findings from the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study:
- Lower back pain (LBP) disables more people annually than any other condition
- As the population ages, LBP becomes even more of a problem
- Americans spend over $50 billion each year on treatment for LBP
- Half of all working Americans experience back pain each year
- Most back pain cases are from strains and mechanical reasons, not from serious conditions like arthritis, fractures, or cancer
Before we talk about low back pain exercises and how you can prevent lower back pain, we’ll start by taking a look at the most common reasons so many people have to miss work, fall behind in their fitness program, and suffer the consequences of this nagging (but usually preventable) ailment.
Lower Back Pain Causes
The human body is an intricate system with complicated structural connections between muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments.
More people go to the M.D. to get help for back pain than for any condition except upper-respiratory infections.
Most of the time, though, the doctor can’t tell you why your back hurts… you have to tell the doctor.
That said, there are some conditions that will require surgery or other types of hospital care. It’s true that the most common causes of lower back pain are things like over-exertion, lack of exercise, and lifting improperly, but there’s a potential for a serious underlying cause.
Here are some of the conditions that must be ruled out:
- Breakdown of a spinal disc
- Ruptured spinal disc
- Kidney stones
- Spinal stenosis
Once your physician has eliminated the presence of those serious conditions, though, the diagnosis will come down to whether you remember lifting anything that caused a strain or bending in a way that caused pain.
Depending on the physician, the treatment recommendation is likely to be some combination of medications, injections, hot or cold packs, and lower back pain exercises.
That’s where the gym comes in. A qualified trainer can help you get back on your feet quicker and stay there longer — usually without the need for pills or shots.
You’ll learn how to modify the way you lift, push, and pull. You’ll find out which exercises for lower back pain work best, and you’ll get instructed on how to go beyond recovery to back-strengthening exercises that can be combined with behavior modification to keep you from getting hurt again.
The next article in this series will spell out a set of lower back pain stretches that get results. We’ll show you exactly how to perform those movements, then, we’ll talk about bringing weights and machines back into the picture, then we’ll discuss lower back pain prevention.
Remember: We’re not claiming to be physicians, nor should this article be taken as medical advice. It’s best to go to your doctor first. Chances are high that the recommended lower back pain treatment protocol will include stretching and exercising. That’s where we can come alongside and help you feel better faster and learn to avoid another episode of lower back pain.