June 8, 2023
Lower back pain affects a significant number of people in the United States, with one in four individuals experiencing it at least once in their lifetime, as stated by the American Chiropractic Association. While the causes of low back pain can differ from person to person, including sciatica, herniated discs, lumbar stenosis, and muscle tightness, this blog will provide guidance on how to alleviate chronic lower back pain or tightness at home.
The human body has a central support structure called the spine, which is divided into four parts: cervicals, thoracics, lumbers, and sacrum. The spine acts as a pillar for the body and plays a crucial role when performing movements such as sitting, standing, and walking.
When viewed from the side, these curves naturally take an s-shape and the spines are linked together like chains. Any crookedness in the spine affects the whole chain. The sacrum serves as the foundation of the chain, making the angle of the sacrum critical in correcting posture.
Please stand up straight and squat, holding the position for 10 seconds. You may start to feel tightness in your lower back. When you squat, you change the angle of your sacrum, which can cause lordosis or swayback. Studies have found that African Americans tend to have more lordosis or swayback than Caucasian Americans.
However, slouching the back can compress internal organs, lungs, and the diaphragm, leading to shallow breathing and other potential issues.
It is imperative to take into account the placement of the neck and sacrum.
To correct your crooked spine, you must first fix the position of your neck. This will help to loosen up your abdominal muscles, allowing your spine to return to its normal curvature.
As previously discussed, when you arch your back, you may experience tightness in your lower back. This occurs when your sacrum shifts upward, which can be uncomfortable. However, specific hip muscles, known as the gluteus medium, maximum, and minimus, are connected to the hip and thigh bones. These muscles help maintain proper posture and externally rotate the thigh to open the pelvis and push down the sacrum. This can alleviate tension in the lower back and provide relief from pain.
Before attempting to correct your posture, it is important to assess your stance while standing. Follow the steps below to improve your posture.
Stand up against the wall. Make sure that your heel, hip, shoulder blade, and head back touch the wall. To relax, take a deep breath and hold it for three seconds. Then, tighten your shoulder blades and relax for three seconds. Do this ten more times.
I previously mentioned that strengthening the hip muscles can improve the curvature of the spine. Here is an exercise you can try.
To begin, start by lying down and bending your knees. Next, lift your hips without using your hands. Hold for 5 seconds and then release. Repeat this process five times.
Please sit down and place your hands and feet in a comfortable position. Lift your hips until they are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat this exercise five times.
To alleviate lower back pain, it’s important to maintain proper posture. This can be achieved by activating your hip muscles while standing, walking, and performing other activities. Consistently practicing exercises that promote good posture can help.
*Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before attempting new exercises to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your specific condition.
Yes. Acupuncture is very effective for low back pain and sciatica. We examined your low back and muscle tightness during the initial acupuncture session. You may be unable to bend forward or lean back due to pain. The treatments focused on reducing inflammation and swelling and restoring movement in the low back. Acupuncture has been shown in many studies to be incredibly practical in reducing pain and inflammation due to its ability to stimulate the body to release its natural painkillers. So, you start feeling relieved from the pain after each session.
Within six weeks to 3 months, most of our patients looked back to normal, and they were close to 80% recovered in terms of back mobility. Even then, recovery is not guaranteed.
As a general rule of thumb, the sooner one receives treatment, the better the prognosis.
Some patients come for low back pain treatment months or even years after the initial onset, and these chronic cases are often more complex and take a much longer time to achieve results. Even then, recovery is not guaranteed.
Regarding the frequency of treatments, Acupuncture follows a simple rule. Acute and relatively new conditions are most effectively treated with more frequent visits, whereas chronic and old conditions can benefit from more widespread treatments. In other words, if you just had an onset of low back pain, you will probably be prescribed 2-3 treatments per week in order to get the most effective results, and chronic cases will generally come in only once a week.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with a low back pain and want to learn more about Acupuncture and whether it’s appropriate for your case, send us a message through our contact page.
I hope it helps.
Satoru Ozawa, L.Ac, ATC
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