It’s no secret that men are usually pretty hard on their backs and often experience lower back pain. Whether you work in a laboring industry, compete in sports or are very physically active, or if you work behind a desk, your spinal alignment can be in trouble and cause pain, aches, and numbness in your lower back and hips.
Luckily, there are plenty of treatments for lower back pain, and many of them are non-invasive so there is minimal interruption to your busy life and work schedule.
Step 1: See a chiropractor
While you may think your lower back pain is just a muscle issue, sometimes it is a muscle issue related to or caused by problems such as degenerative disc disease, degenerative scoliosis, arthritis, facet joint syndrome, osteoporosis, previous injuries, and other issues.
Any of these degenerative disorders can cause a change in the curvature of the spine and lead to nerve compression. These compressions can affect the muscles around them, causing them to spasm, ache, burn, or twinge.
A chiropractor will take x-rays and perform a series of diagnostic tests to determine what the underlying cause of your pain might be. If it is a simple muscular issue, an adjustment can still benefit you and help you recover from your pain even faster. If it’s an underlying degenerative issue, the sooner you begin to address it with your chiropractor, the better your prognosis will be. You may be able to stop or even reverse the degeneration process with the help of a good chiropractor.
Step 2: Exercises
After diagnosing the source of your lower back pain, you will likely need to strengthen certain muscle groups to help keep your spine straight and prevent further injuries.
Your chiropractor will likely give you exercises and stretches to do at home, but the next best thing you can do for your lower back is head to the gym. It’s important to retain proper posture throughout every exercise so that you don’t strain or twist your lower back. A trainer is a great resource for developing an exercise plan that will target your lower back while teaching you the proper posture for exercises.
Cardio exercises are important for increasing blood flow and oxygen throughout the body to promote healing and energy. After cardio, begin to focus on your core. A strong core will support your lumbar spine, and you’ll be less likely to re-injure it by twisting, turning, or bending. Core exercises are also a great way to improve stamina and lose stubborn belly fat, which can also contribute to lower back pain.
Upper back exercises are also excellent for stretching and strengthening muscles that support the lower back. A strong back from top to bottom will be less likely to fail you as you go about doing your favorite activities. Leg exercises, including those which target your hamstrings and glutes, also help support your lower back.
Finally, focus on your lower back, but do so carefully, and only after you have strengthened your core. Begin with exercises that stretch the muscles in your lower back; from there, you can gradually move on to weight and strengthening exercises. The lumbar spine can be finicky, and you can easily re-aggravate your lower back and hip pain.
If your lower back is in really rough shape, you can still exercise, just take it to the water! If you have a local pool, beach, or lake, you can still get crucial cardio and strength exercises done with minimal impact to your lower back. Take your time to build up strength, flexibility, and stamina for a successful recovery.
Step 3: Healing therapies
To promote healing and your new exercise routine, take advantage of the many therapies that are used to promote healing in the lower back and other areas of the body.
Massage therapy is an excellent way to relax tight muscles, increase blood flow, and improve a feeling of well-being which also contributes to faster healing times.
Other therapies include targeted cold laser therapy which uses low doses of laser technology to reduce inflammation and swelling in the muscles and nerves. It also helps promote tissue regeneration to affected areas.
Electric muscle stimulation (EMS) works in the same way that cold laser therapy does, except that it uses low-voltage electrical pulses to stimulate the muscles and increase blood flow to the affected area. It also reduces inflammation and swelling quickly.
Acupuncture, yoga, and meditation can also be useful when treating lower back pain. Consult with your chiropractor, who may offer many of these services in their office. When completed in conjunction with your chiropractor’s work, many of these therapies will relieve your lower back pain in half the normal amount of time.