How many times over the last several years have we heard that sitting causes low back pain? Most of these results are based on data from more than 30 years ago. Not all back pain is the same and there are a variety of reasons why someone may experience low back pain. Recent studies demonstrate that sitting for prolonged periods of time is not causal to low back pain. So, what is causing low back pain?
Causes of Low Back Pain
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of exercise
- Muscle or ligament strain and degradation
- Bulged or ruptured discs
- Joint Degeneration
- Poor posture
Symptoms of Low Back Pain
- Aching pain
- Shooting pain
- Burning pain
- Stabbing pain
- Pain that radiates down the leg
- Muscle weakness
Low back pain is a leading cause of disabilities worldwide. A study done in 2018 showed in excess of 500 million people globally suffered low back pain. When chronic, this puts considerable economic and psychological hardship on patients.
Studies published prior to 1990 show increased intradiscal pressure (IDP) with prolonged sitting versus standing. These studies also indicated increased low back pain upon prolonged sitting in both healthy and degenerated discs. Prior studies suggested that increased intradiscal pressure (IDP) may be responsible for disc degeneration. However, current analysis reveal that preceding viewpoint may not be true, given inconsistent findings of contemporary studies. Some studies indicate that increased intradiscal pressure (IDP) in sitting are unlikely to pose a threat to non-degenerative discs.
Sitting has not been shown in current studies to independently lead to peak low back pain intensity, suggesting other causal factors for risk of low back pain. Likewise, recent studies do not support standing places less pressure on healthy discs. Further analysis show no difference in degenerated intervertebral discs whether sitting or standing.
To sustain a well-functioning lumbar spine in addition to managing low back pain any prolonged posture should be prohibited.
Prevention of Low Back Pain
–Exercise: such as walking, bicycling and swimming are all good low-impact aerobic activities.
-Nutrition: A number of deficiencies can cause degeneration of the spine. Magnesium has been shown to be important to joint health and osteoarthritis. Essential fatty acid deficiency contributes to joint inflammation and damage to the joint. Calcium and Vitamin D are important to strengthen the bones. Weak, soft bones are more apt to become brittle and have micro and macro destruction in the joint. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen for the production of cartilage. Now this is a short list of items need for good spinal nutrition but these are crucial to the spine.
–Strengthen core muscles: this will aid in the prevention of low back pain. Core muscles provide support to the low back whether sitting standing or lying down. Core muscles include the muscles of the abdomen, back, sides, hips and buttocks. Here at Alta Mountain Chiropractic we provide patients with strengthening and stretching exercises to correct muscle imbalances and loosen tight muscles.
–Massage therapy: low back pain that is caused by stiff, tight muscles will benefit from massage therapy. Relaxing tight muscles that may be pulling on connective tissues and bone structures.
When should you see a doctor?
- pain does not resolve quickly and is reoccurring
- it is severe and doesn’t improve with rest
- pain that radiates down one or both legs, especially if it is below the knee
- weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs
- coincides with unexplained weight loss
Seek immediate medical attention if low back pain is associated with the following:
–new bowel or bladder problems
-is accompanied by a fever
-follows an injury, fall or blow to the back
If you are experiencing pain in the low back, don’t wait until it gets worse. Now, is the time to correct the problem. Give us a call at Alta Mountain Chiropractic (801) 523-2582.