Lower back pain is one of the most common issues suffered by people globally, and it is one of the top causes of disability. If you suffer from lower back pain, you may realize that certain activities cause the pain to become worse or an episode to flare up. What are the most common lower back pain triggers? Here are some things to avoid along with a natural way to get some much-needed relief.
Trigger 1 – Nicotine
Recent research has revealed that smoking makes a person more likely to experience lower back problems, particularly chronic pain issues. Why may this be the case? Cigarettes and other sources of nicotine actually affect blood flow. The discs between the vertebrae, therefore, receive less oxygen and may begin to deteriorate. Nicotine also affects calcium absorption (think of this as the anti-vitamin D). Less calcium means weaker bones and an increased risk of fractures.
Trigger 2 – A Sedentary Lifestyle
In the modern technological world, people just don’t get as much exercise as they used to. A lack of exercise can increase lower back pain. Physical activity, on the other hand, may actually decrease the pain depending on the underlying cause of the problem. If you work in an office and have to sit all day, try to stretch throughout the day and find time in the evenings and on the weekends to get some cardiovascular exercise.
Trigger 3 – Stress
Stress can trigger just about any health issue. The body’s response to stress is to release certain hormones to help you deal with the difficult situation that is causing the additional anxiety. This increases tension in the muscles as well as inflammation throughout the body. If you are undergoing stress, it is even more important to stay active physically as this will help the muscles to stay loose.
Trigger 4 – Weight
Carrying extra weight is difficult on the muscles, joints, ligaments, and pretty much every structure of the body. Being obese can also cause a person to perform less physical activity on a daily basis. This compounds the situation as it leads to pain and more weight gain. It is important to pursue a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off in order to lessen lower back problems.
Trigger 5 – Pregnancy
Not only does pregnancy add additional weight, but there are two other reasons that being pregnant can increase lower back problems. First of all, it changes your center of gravity. This puts a strain on the spine. Second, hormones that are preparing your body for childbirth loosen the pelvic bones so the baby can come out naturally. Sometimes these hormones can also affect the vertebrae of the lower back.
Trigger 6 – Nerve Compression
Especially if you are dealing with tingling and numbness along with the pain, you may be experiencing nerve compression. Sometimes this occurs due to misalignments in the spine. At other times, it may be because a disc is bulging and pressing on a nerve. One particularly common form of nerve compression in the lower back is sciatica.
When the sciatic nerve is irritated, not only can it lead to lower back pain but also pain numbness and tingling in the hips, buttocks, and down the leg on the affected side of the body (sciatica only occurs on both sides in rare cases). In extremely severe cases of sciatica, even the bladder and bowels can be affected.
Trigger 7 – Depression
Some research has linked depression with a higher rate of lower back pain. In fact, you are about four times as likely to experience low back pain if you are also dealing with depression. Since both conditions are considered common and chronic in nature, it is not surprising to see the overlap.
Trigger 8 – Physical Strain
You can suffer strain or trauma to the back in a number of different ways. After a car accident or another type of injury, you may experience the onset of back pain. Lifting something that is too heavy for you or lifting the wrong way can also create a strain on the lower back.
Natural Relief from Lower Back Pain
If you suffer from chronic bouts of lower back pain, there is a subspecialty in the chiropractic field that you should know about – upper cervical chiropractic. Before you say, “Isn’t the cervical spine the neck?” let us explain to you why the top bone in the neck can have a powerful effect on the lower back.
The C1 vertebra is called the atlas. This is because it balances the head (like the mythical Atlas balanced the world on his back). Any time the atlas is even slightly out of the position the vertebrae throughout the back and the surrounding soft tissue all move to keep the head balanced. Correcting the atlas misalignment can give the body time to heal from the changes that have taken place along the spine. This can help to relieve sciatica and other sources of lower back pain.
If you are suffering from lower back pain on a chronic basis, upper cervical chiropractic care may be just what you need to get to the real source of the pain and to maximize your body’s ability to heal itself. To learn more, contact an upper cervical practitioner in your area. A consultation may be your first step on the path to living a life free from lower back pain.