How To Ease Lower Back Pain

It can happen to anyone at anytime. You will be sitting at your desk working away when suddenly; you feel a dull ache spreading across in your lower back. What do you do? More often than not, you will probably keep working and try to ignore it. Or if it gets worse, you may get up for a quick stretch and a quick walk around ? hoping that will do the trick.

It is highly likely that in our lifetime, we will all experience some degree of lower back pain. About 70 per cent of adults have back pain at some stage of their lives. Unfortunately there is no magic pill to cure lower back pain but exercising for a strong healthy back can be a preventative measure, which makes it a must for all adults.

What causes the pain?

Because there are so many factors and things which can be the culprit of lower back pain, it is not always easy to diagnose the cause. Most cases however, tend to be triggered by a combination of overuse, muscle strain and injury to ligaments, discs and muscle tissue.

Sitting for prolonged periods of time as is common in our modern day lives can cause lower back pain, too. When you sit at your desk, for example, your pelvis rotates backwards which flattens your normally curved lumbar sine and increases the load through your vertebrae. And as you hunch forward towards the computer screen, the muscles deep in your back shrink, your abdominal muscles shorten and your outer back muscles overstretch, weaken and become vulnerable to injury.
Small wonder many experts believe that spending long stretches of time sitting at a desk or any type of chair for that matter can have a big impact on the spine's normal structure and the development of lower back pain. Sitting for hours each day is a recipe for a troublesome lower back unless you take action and get it strong.

How to get pain relief?

When you have a stiff and aching back, bed rest may seem to be the most attractive option, but research has shown this isn't the case. In fact, staying immobile may lead to a longer period of rehabilitation, a higher intensity of pain and a stronger likelihood of disability.

The best way to relieve back pain is the opposite of bed rest: proper exercise!
But a healthy lower back requires more than just strong back muscles ? you need strong muscles in your torso and pelvis as well. When you have good core strength, muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen work together in harmony, helping to protect and stabilize the spine.

If you have back pain see a fitness professional who can work with you to strengthen your whole body so your back is strong and resilient and can handle a seated work situation. Sitting in a chair for long period does nothing to keep your back strong so you need to perform your strength training program 2-3 times each week for a pain free back.

Natural Remedies For Back Pain

It is impossible to avoid back pain completely, as it will inevitably be a factor for everyone at some point in life. The National Studies of Health claim that back-pain is one of the most common neurological issues in the United States. The best thing you can do if you're experiencing back pain is to have the proper assessment made by a health care professional. Only a doctor can determine the root cause of your symptoms - whether your back pain comes from a simple strain or a more serious disorder such as a tumor, herniated disc, osteoporosis, or many other possible factors.

1. Get Regular Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is often the chosen method of treatment for relieving back-pain naturally. Using spinal manipulation, a chiropractor can restore proper alignment of the joints. For instance, where joint function has been limited due to strain, pain, or inflammation, your doctor might apply controlled force to return them to optimal health. Tightness, soreness, and tingling are often lessened to unnoticeable level with regular chiropractic treatments. Acute back-pain and sciatica are two chronic conditions that can benefit the most from a reputable chiropractor.

2. Start With a Massage

For many people without serious back issues, a therapeutic massage can be a pleasant way to improve back pain. During massage, toxins are released from the precisely applied pressure and rubbing on the back. There are many studies that claim massage is useful for chronic pain, depression, and other ailments in addition to back-pain. Women that deal with extreme lower back-pain during pregnancy often choose massage as the first choice, as it proves to be a healthy method for lessening the suffering.

3. Let Acupuncture Relieve the Pain

Recent studies from Sheffield University claim that lower back-pain relief can be attributed to acupuncture. Not only do patients experience less back-pain in general, the overall stress and worry that accompanies the pain is relieved as well. Some believe that blocked energy is the cause of back-pain, Acupuncture needles enter the blocked pathways, and release the energy. Scientifically, the needles help the body release opioids to soothe the nervous system.

4. Regular Exercise

Strengthening, stretching, and other forms of physical therapy can help back-pain sufferers develop stronger muscles and prevent further pain issues. Physical therapy trains the back and spine to function at its highest level. A strong core and healthy back are the key to pain prevention. Of course with more serious back issues, physical therapy may only be one part natural treatment plan that includes chiropractic care or massage. Low-impact aerobics are very effective, as the muscles become strengthened as a result; typically forty minutes three times a week is the standard, depending on the particular circumstances and the severity of the pain.

Although there is no clear evidence that it is possible to completely prevent back-pain, there are a variety of methods that can lessen its severity and the frequency of occurrence. Through exercises that focus on conditioning and strengthening the core of the back, it is possible to postpone the time that it takes before back-pain becomes an issue. Trying different sleep positions, staying at a healthy weight, and adhering to a proper diet can greatly improve current back-pain, and postpone as well as lessen future pain.

Patients that have chronic back pain should see a doctor of chiropractic who can determine the causal factors of their pain and layout a plan of treatment using natural methods.

Why Is Conventional Medicine So Bad At Treating Back Pain?

Back pain treatment is a hotly debated topic. Every week you can read a least one research study that claims a popular, conventional treatment is ineffective. Even the most established treatments such as physical therapy do not escape the headlines. Only recently researchers at Warwick University (UK) found that one session just offering advice to back pain sufferers achieved the same results as six weeks of physiotherapy!

Of course, conducting such a large study is difficult as there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. What sort of treatment was given? What was the quality and experience of the therapists used? Did the subject all have the same cause of back pain? Did they carry out the exercises or advice as instructed?

This last question is the big one in my view. All courses of back pain treatment usually involve some sort of exercise or instruction on how to sit, stand or move to reduce the stress on the back. But are we capable of following this advice? Most therapists in conventional medicine make the assumption that we can.

However, if back pain is not due to a specific medical condition is it usually a muscular problem. The human body is perfectly capable of supporting itself with minimal muscular effort. Postural muscles are ‘designed’ to provide long periods of sustained activity to keep us upright and balanced. The phasic muscles (or movement muscles) are for short bursts of activity such as lifting your arm or turning your head. This is a bit of a simplification because all muscles provide a mixture of both functions but it will do for this example.
In my opinion, back pain and other muscular-skeletal problems can occur when we ‘misuse’ our body, or in other words use the wrong muscles to sit, stand and move. If we’re not moving correctly I our daily activities we’re going to do the same when trying to perform corrective exercises.

I see many people who tighten their lower back muscles to sit and stand up straight - these are the wrong muscles! They should not be active to keep you upright, this should be a function performed by muscles higher up that will balance your upper body on your spine.

So if someone suffering with their back is not ‘using’ themselves correctly how are they suddenly supposed to know how to use it right for exercising or trying to correct their posture? This is why I believe conventional back pain treatment does not offer the best solution.

Physical therapy, osteopathic, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments do get results and I recommend people to get a diagnosis and initial help from a qualified practitioner. In the short-term, manipulative treatment will help to get you moving and back onto your feet. However, I do not see these therapies as a long-term solution because they rarely get to the cause of ‘misuse’ and you could find yourself returning to your therapist on a regular basis.

If you are looking to address the cause of neck, back or shoulder pain you’ll need to go deeper. Your muscles are only doing what you tell them to do, but, and here is the big question, do you know what you are telling them to do? In place of exercise I believe a course of re-education will achieve far more by removing your bad habits that are causing your discomfort.

Get relief from back, neck & shoulder pain in just 7 seconds at . . . HERE

Roy Palmer is a teacher of movement re-education and author of 7 Seconds to Pain Relief, secrets of lasting relief from back, neck & shoulder pain. He has helped back pain
sufferers, sports people and performing artists over the last 12 years. He is also the author of three books on the subject of performance enhancement, injury prevention and rehabilitation for athletes.

Are You The Cause Of Your Lower Back Pain

Although eighty percent of adults will suffer at some stage with lower back pain it still remains very much a mystery to the medical world. Are we missing something? Is the answer a little closer to home?

If you have had a medical examination for your lower back pain and no specific cause has been diagnosed what can you do? You may have been told that it is either ‘all in your mind’ or, worse still, be suspected of faking it to get time off work. The problem is that if medical tests cannot find a probable cause it is assumed there is nothing wrong with you. Now this isn’t much use to you is it!

The problem as I see it is that medical science does not yet recognize what could be a major factor in back pain. This factor, in my opinion, is that most adults, due to stress and the pressures of modern living, have lost ‘the art of natural movement’.

How often are we stuck behind a desk, the wheel of a car or clued to the couch in front of the TV? What is this doing to our backs? We all know that we should be more active but when we exercise can we move as freely and efficiently as we did as young children?

Has your doctor advised exercise? Yes it is true that activity is better than bed rest for your back, but how do you know if you are moving correctly? If posture and the way we move are a cause of lower back pain, are we not making it worse by using our bodies more vigorously?

I would suggest that before you start on an exercise program to help your lower back you should assess how you stand, sit, walk and run. If you can learn to reduce the unnecessary stress many of us place on our lower backs this can go a long way to resolving the problem for many sufferers.

One of the best ways to improve your lower back is muscle re-education to reduce the stresses and strains you unknowingly place upon your body. Learning how to use your body as nature intended can help eliminate or drastically reduce lower back pain. As a teacher of movement and posture re-education I see many people who, once shown a few simple ‘tricks’, are amazed at just how much unnecessary effort they have been using for even the easiest, everyday tasks. Once this has been removed they feel lighter, their movement is freer and the pain just melts away.

Get relief from back, neck & shoulder pain in just 7 seconds at . . . HERE

Roy Palmer is a teacher of movement re-education and author of 7 Seconds to Pain Relief, secrets of lasting relief from back, neck & shoulder pain. He has helped back pain
sufferers, sports people and performing artists over the last 12 years. He is also the author of three books on the subject of performance enhancement, injury prevention and rehabilitation for athletes.

An Alternative Approach to Treating a Stiff Neck

A stiff neck is a condition that many will experience at some stage of their life. Stress, poor posture and injury are the most common causes. In the majority of cases the symptoms will ease with a gentle massage or a period of rest. However, for others a stiff neck becomes a daily concern leading to discomfort and inconvenience. If the condition persists it is advisable to get a thorough medical examination because a stiff neck may be the first sign of a serious illness.

If the stiffness is due to muscular tension the first course of action is generally painkillers. These should not be seen as a long-term solution as they will mask the problem and not address the cause. Massage, either self-administered, by a partner or professional, is another option. This does bring some much needed relief for the sufferer but again if the cause is not addressed this will only be temporary.

The most popular treatment is to prescribe neck exercises. The conventional view is muscle weakness or imbalance is the cause. Neck exercises will be given to the sufferer in an attempt to correct the perceived problem.

However, even this approach has its limitations and does not go far enough to address the root causes of a stiff neck. In my experience as teacher of movement and posture  the most useful course of action for a long-term sufferer is re-education. If there is a muscle imbalance or weakness, poor habits are usually the culprit. These habits can develop whilst compensating for an injury by holding the neck in the least painful position; long periods of sitting at desks or the common stress response of holding tension in the neck and shoulders. Once a habit is learnt it is difficult for the patient to do anything differently because the habit will feel right.

Exercises may make the condition worse because the patient will do the exercises with their poor habits. The best intentions of the therapist are undone once the patient returns home and performs the exercises unsupervised. Repetition of these exercises performed poorly will only re-enforce the bad habit.

Re-education involves taking the patient back the basics of movement. These movements will initially feel wrong because they are very different from their everyday feelings associated with turning their head or even just holding their neck. The tension has become a habit and they unknowingly hold this tension just to sit. Until the patient can relearn how their body can be naturally poised again all attempts to strengthen or rebalance muscles will complicate their existing habitual movement patterns.

In place of using exercise, a stiff neck sufferer can learn how to move and balance with less tension and condition their muscles by performing everyday tasks without the need to exercise. I have seen this approach work time and time again whilst conventional exercises have failed the individual.

Get relief from back, neck & shoulder pain in just 7 seconds at . . .   HERE

Roy Palmer is a teacher of movement re-education and author of 7 Seconds to Pain Relief, secrets of lasting relief from back, neck & shoulder pain.  He has helped back pain
sufferers, sports people and performing artists over the last 12 years. He is also the author of three books on the subject of performance enhancement, injury prevention and rehabilitation for athletes.

You Can’t Get A Better Posture By Trying Harder

Do you think your posture is poor? Have you tried a course of posture exercises to correct it? Most people would say they feel their posture could be better but why does it become poor and what is the best way to improve it?

Modern living means we probably are not as active as previous generations. We spend long hours sitting at desks, in cars or when relaxing, slumping in front of the TV. In these situations you are not using your muscles as nature originally intended. Parts of your body get overworked such as your neck and shoulders whilst others will get weaker, invariably the lower back. Poor posture has been recognized as a factor in health for years and is a major factor in many cases of neck, back and shoulder pain.

The conventional approach to addressing poor posture is exercise. However, this approach may be misguided as the focus on specific muscles for improving posture could affect your body's natural support reflexes and make matters worse.

Your body has built-in postural reflexes to coordinate muscular activity for support and movement. If your posture has deteriorated it is likely these reflexes are not being allowed to work properly. Stress may be causing you to stiffen your neck, tighten your shoulders and tense your lower back. These actions will override your natural mechanisms for balance and movement. Constant inappropriate use of these muscles will eventually corrupt how you move. It becomes a catch-22 problem. The more you move in a poor way, the better you get at moving this way until it feels right.

Whilst I appreciate the popularity of exercises to improve posture, including core stability routines, I believe they result in unnecessary tension in the body. Should we have to work core muscles individually to get our body to stand tall? Did nature intend this as the best way to stand?

In my role as a teacher of movement re-education I see many people who suffer from muscle pain as a result of poor posture. I also see just as many who are suffering as a result of their attempts to correct it! Adding a little extra tension in order to stand properly will not improve your posture - it just adds to the strain on your muscles and joints. Rather than trying to stand and sit in a way you feel is correct, you can learn how to remove the unnecessary stress in your body and allow your postural reflexes to work as nature intended.

So forget about posture and learn about Poise.

Poise is a lost skill from our youth. When you have poise you use far less effort and your body will support itself with ease allowing you to move, breathe and function more freely. Poise is evident in top athletes and performers. Think of Muhammad Ali or Fred Astaire in their prime and that gives you a great example of freedom in movement. I doubt if they used exercises to improve their posture!

Poise can only be regained by first taking out the tension in your body and appreciating the push you get from the ground. When you’re on top of the world and walk with a spring in your step, you’re poised. When you can sit at your desk and feel no tension in your neck, shoulders and back – you are poised. Trying to improve your posture by trying harder will take you further away from your natural poised state. So don’t try – let whatever is beneath you push up and think of letting go to sit, stand and walk taller and you will be on your way to a return to poise.

Get relief from back, neck & shoulder pain in just 7 seconds at . . .   HERE

Roy Palmer is a teacher of movement re-education and author of 7 Seconds to Pain Relief, secrets of lasting relief from back, neck & shoulder pain. He has helped back pain
sufferers, sports people and performing artists over the last 12 years. He is also the author of three books on the subject of performance enhancement, injury prevention and rehabilitation for athletes.

Computer Posture: Are You Making Work Harder Than it Should be?

Is your computer posture correct? Do you suffer from neck pain, a burning between your shoulder blades, lower back pain, headaches, digestive problems, breathing difficulties, eye strain ... the list goes on. All of the above could be related to how you sit at your PC for hours at a time every day, barely moving, eyes fixed on the screen with deadlines to meet.

If you have adjusted the position of your chair, computer screen and mouse but still find you suffer from the conditions mentioned above? You’re not alone and for good reason. Whilst you can easily re-arrange your furniture it is not so simple to follow the instructions aimed at the human elements, that is, your body.

Following advice on sitting correctly, such as, sitting straight with the shoulders back etc, is not as easy as it sounds. This is because the majority of adults have developed a poor body concept. What does this mean? We have lost the art of natural poise and movement through our sedentary lifestyles. Your computer posture is just one situation where it can go wrong.

I have taught many people about movement and posture over the last 12 years and one issue that usually comes up is the matter of sitting at a computer. Many make the mistake of trying to sit up too straight and tighten their lower backs, causing more harm than good. As soon as people learn not to try and sit up straight, they find it so much easier!

Early warning signs that should not be ignored.

Any discomfort experienced at your computer is a sign you are doing something wrong. You may not be too concerned if the aches and pains you associate with your work disappear at weekends. But prolonged periods (and we could be talking years) of sitting in a poor position will alter your posture gradually until you begin to suffer all the time.

More serious signs that require you to take instant action are tightness or numbness in your fingers, hands, wrists, elbows or shoulders. This could soon lead to upper limb disorders, also known as repetitive strain injury (RSI). This is a difficult condition to treat successfully and in a many cases the sufferer has to change job completely to one not involving computers - not an easy career move to make in today's hi-tech world!

If you experience any of the above symptoms, talk to your Occupational Health Advisor or visit your doctor.

The longer these conditions persist the harder it will be to treat.

So your computer posture can have a huge influence on not only how productive you are at work, whether you get aches or pains, but also your body shape! You probably don't want to look old before your time, but if you pay little attention to how you sit at your PC you could be rapidly attaining the stoop normally associated with old age.

Remember, you don't have to sit up straight with your chin in, shoulders back will only cause more problems in the long-term. Just allow your body to be poised and let the chair and floor support your weight and remember to take breaks away from you computer.

Get relief from back, neck & shoulder pain in just 7 seconds at . . . HERE

Roy Palmer is a teacher of movement re-education and author of 7 Seconds to Pain Relief, secrets of lasting relief from back, neck & shoulder pain. He has helped back pain
sufferers, sports people and performing artists over the last 12 years. He is also the author of three books on the subject of performance enhancement, injury prevention and rehabilitation for athletes.