3 Common Causes of Lower Back Pain, and 3 Things You Can Do At Home to Improve It

If there is something that can unite the young and the old, it’s back pain, especially in the lower area. It’s an almost universal experience, and it can get worse with age. For some people, it becomes crippling, reducing their mobility and keeping them from enjoying life. 

But while back pain might seem like an inevitable part of living and working on Earth, resigning yourself to discomfort is not a foregone conclusion. There are things you can do to prevent back pain from getting worse or to alleviate current pains that keep you up at night.

Today, we’ll have a look at some of the most common causes of lower back pain and what you can do at home without needing supervision from your healthcare provider.

Common Cases of Lower Back Pain

1. Bad Posture

Bad posture is a common cause of back pain and can contribute significantly to discomfort and musculoskeletal problems, particularly in the lower back. Poor posture places additional stress on the spine and alters the alignment of muscles, bones, and ligaments. 

Over time, this misalignment can lead to issues such as:

  • Muscle fatigue and strain: When you maintain an improper posture, your muscles have to work harder to keep you balanced. This extra effort can result in muscle fatigue, strain, and pain.
  • Increased spinal load: Slouching or other forms of poor posture increase the pressure on your intervertebral discs and joints. The added load can accelerate degenerative changes in the spine.
  • Altered spinal curvature: Chronic bad posture can permanently change the natural curves of your spine. This misalignment might lead to conditions such as kyphosis (excessive outward curvature), lordosis (excessive inward curvature of the lower back), or even scoliosis (sideways curvature).
  • Nerve compression: Poor posture can contribute to conditions that compress nerves exiting the spinal column, which may cause not only local pain but also radiating pain down an arm or leg (such as with sciatica).

And if this wasn’t enough, scientists discovered that bad posture can also promote heartburn, incontinence, and other health problems and discomforts.

2. Spinal Osteoarthritis

Also called spondylosis, spinal osteoarthritis is the gradual wear and tear of the cartilage and bones in the spine. While it can affect any part of the spine, it most commonly occurs in the neck (cervical) and lower back (lumbar) areas. 

While some people have a genetic predisposition toward this condition, it can also be caused by aging, obesity (due to excess body weight), previous injury or trauma, and lifestyle factors, such as jobs or activities that include heavy lifting, repeated bending or twisting motions, or prolonged periods of sitting in poor postures.

The most common symptom of spinal osteoarthritis is pain, which can range from mild discomfort to severe and disabling pain, depending on the extent of degeneration and its location on the spine. 

Additionally, inflammation and changes within the joints may limit movement, making your back feel stiff, especially after periods of rest or inactivity, such as waking up in the morning.

3. Degenerative Disc Disease

This is not actually a disease but rather a term used to describe the natural age-related degeneration of the intervertebral discs in the spine. These discs act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae and facilitate movement in the spine. 

With age, these discs can suffer from wear and tear that leads to pain and restricted movement. Routine physical activities and poor posture can also cause tears in the outer core of the disc. Over time, these tears can lead to further damage if they aren’t allowed proper healing time.

Sudden injuries such as falls or car accidents can cause swelling, soreness, and instability in the spine, which accelerates the degradation of the discs. Furthermore, certain lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity can also have a negative impact on spinal discs.

Symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease include localized pain in an affected area but may also radiate along nerve pathways if adjacent nerves are irritated by changes in nearby structures due to degenerated discs. 

Things You Can Do at Home

1. Workouts for the Lower Back 

When your back hurts, it seems impossible to think about working out or going to the gym. But, in reality, physical movement (as much as your back allows it) is the best remedy. Also, you don’t have to go to the gym to get your achy back into gear – there are plenty of exercises you can do at home.

For instance, check out this at home lower back workout designed to help reduce pain and stiffness in the joints and ligaments. Additionally, strengthening exercises and stretches are also helpful.

2. Get Proper Support for Your Back

Maintaining good back support at home is essential to prevent and manage back pain. Here are some strategies you can implement to ensure proper support for your back:

  • Ergonomic Furniture: Invest in chairs and desks that promote good posture, offering lower back (lumbar) support, adjustable height for proper alignment of your hips and knees, and armrests at the correct height to minimize shoulder strain.
  • Get a Supportive Mattress: Use a mattress that supports the natural curvature of your spine while sleeping. Whether firm or soft will depend on personal preference, but it should not sag under your weight.
  • Proper Pillow Use: Choose a pillow that keeps your head aligned with your spine. The right pillow will vary based on whether you’re a side, back, or stomach sleeper.

3. Alternative Therapies 

Alternative methods, like massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, or chiropractic care, can offer relief from back pain. This happens because many back issues involve muscle stiffness or spasms. 

Massage therapy and some chiropractic techniques directly target muscular tension, promoting relaxation and circulation to hasten healing. Also, increasing blood flow through manual therapies can deliver more oxygen and nutrients to affected areas, which aids in healing and reduces inflammation that can cause pain.

However, it’s important to consult with your health professional before starting any alternative therapies.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, back pain may be common, but it doesn’t have to be your norm as you age. Simple measures like mindful posture, regular stretching, and home ergonomic adjustments can make a world of difference. 

Take control of your comfort right where you are and reclaim the joy in every movement. Remember, relief is within reach, and living pain-free is a possibility worth exploring.