Low back pain is one of the most common ailments people suffer from and approximately 8 out of 10 people will deal with back pain at some point in their life. That’s a lot of people… are you one of them?
Out of all of the various forms of back pain, lower back pain is by far the most common and there’s a good explanation for this. Any idea why?
It’s not car accidents, it’s not work-related injuries, and it’s not a lack of prescription medications either. Lack of movement and use is the number one cause of back pain!
I bet your orthopedic specialist or chiropractor didn’t tell you that, did they?
It’s the lack of movement in various muscles over years that leads to muscle imbalances and uneven wear and tear on your body, especially the spine. For example, how many times a day are you bending, leaning, or twisting.
Here’s what the typical person’s day is like:
- Wake up
- Eat breakfast (hopefully)
- Drive or ride to work
- Sit at desk
- Eat lunch
- Sit at desk some more
- Drive or ride home
- Eat dinner
- Sit on couch and watch tv
- Go to bed
Notice the trend here? That’s an awful lot of sitting and not moving. Well, this is what leads to serious muscle imbalances and so what do we do, we go to the gym and perform exercises that only make the imbalances worse!
The key to eliminating back pain (nearly any ache, pain, or injury for that matter) is to identify the muscle imbalances that are pulling the spine, bones, and joints out of place and then stretch the tight muscles while strengthening the weak muscles.
How do I know this? Well, as certified personal fitness trainer and post-rehabilitation specialist, I have worked with hundreds of individuals with back pain and the conditions that ranged from sciatic pain, to bulging discs, to spinal fusion, and others. In working with these individuals I discovered some startling facts.
1. Many people who seek professional help are often mis-diagnosed and end up following a treatment plan that fails to eliminate the cause of their back pain.
2. Nearly all of the individuals I worked with were able to eliminate their back pain, or significantly improve their condition even though all of the traditional treatments failed them (physically therapy, chiropractic care, cortisone injections, anti-inflammatory medications, surgery, etc).
Even more amazing is the fact that most of these individuals were able to eliminate their back pain in a matter or days or weeks simply by performing a handful of exercises and stretches! These weren’t your basic exercises or the standard back stretches and stomach exercises most “experts” recommend – these were specific exercises and stretches prescribed based on the individual.
Many of these people had suffered for years and years with aches, pains, and stiffness and lived inactive lives because of their back pain.
3. Most treatment plans offered only address the symptoms and don’t address the cause, which usually delivers just temporary relief for the individual.
In addition to helping hundreds of others eliminate back pain, I also have had personal experiences with back pain and other various conditions such as tendonitis, muscle strains and sprains, and more. In every single situation the traditional treatments did nothing but treat the symptoms (often times not successfully) and the only approach that gave lasting improvements and relief was targeted stretches and exercises.
Have you tried traditional treatments and found little relief? I am not saying these treatments are not effective at temporarily reducing the pain or inflammation, but I am saying nearly all fail to get rid of the underlying cause of the problem.
So how do you identify these muscle imbalances? Well, it isn’t easy but with a basic understanding of how your body works you can at least start looking at your situation and find out which muscles are over worked and too strong and/or tight and which ones are too weak and stretched out.
It also helps if you can find a qualified health professional who specializes in identifying muscle imbalances. Unfortunately, there are still few professionals who use what I call the “common sense approach.” However, your best bet is to look for a personal fitness trainer that is trained and certified in post-rehabilitation, a manual physical therapist, or an osteopath. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions… you need to take charge of your health care and be sure to quiz them to find out what type of an approach they take in treating back pain.