Orthopedic Health

Understanding Low Back Pain

Written by Dr. Anuj Gupta and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Image: Understanding Low Back Pain

Low back pain is the second most common ailment with common cold being the first. Previously, low back pain was considered age-related, that is, mostly seen in older individuals. So, it was considered a pain due to weak muscles and weak bones. But nowadays, back pain is quite common in the young population and even in the small school-going children. There has been a lot of studies going on to reveal the exact cause of low back pain.

There have been studies about posture, daily physical activities, work ergonomics, etc. In this article, I have tried to convey the summary of such studies successfully completed and accepted worldwide in context to low back pain.

Going back in time, around 100 years back, when the world has fewer technologies, and there were no smart gadgets available, the lifestyle of a normal person was completely different as compared to nowadays. A young man used to go to his or her school, college, or workplace by foot. He used to walk for 10 km or more a day. He used to do farming or take care of pets which itself was a heavy job. Keeping in mind that picture, let us talk about the current situation.

These days, we have smart gadgets. With one click, one can have food or taxi or almost anything at his door. Physical activity has significantly reduced. Automobiles are easily available to everyone. We hardly need to walk in the whole day. We give more time to our mobile as compared to our friends. You must be wondering, we are all aware of this fact, but how is it connected to low back pain.

Our physical activity has reduced which is responsible for weak core muscles. Most of the time, we are on mobiles or laptops which is responsible for improper posture. Our spine is not made to bear weight in that posture. In one study, it was found that our spine has to bear 50 % more weight in slump sitting position as compared to standing position. Slump sitting position is the same as when we are working on computers. Our games are now restricted to mobile games or video games. With the above overview, let us look at the remedies for this.

To start, you should know your back pain first.

  • Is your pain confined to back or is it radiating to one or both of your lower limbs? You need to see your doctor if your pain is radiating.
  • Is your back pain associated with fever, weight loss or loss of appetite?
  • Is it associated with weakness in your lower limbs or loss of bladder and bowel control?

For others, what should you do in your daily routine:

1. Do regular core muscles strengthening exercises:

  • You need not waste money on gyms.
  • Just 5 to 10 minutes of strengthening exercises would be sufficient.

2. Maintain proper posture:

  • This is the most important part of treatment.
  • You should change your work ergonomics.
  • If you have a desk job, then use the desktop with a keyboard under the table.
  • Use slanting board for writing.
  • Do not slouch on your chair. You should not slump during prolonged sitting.
  • You should not recline more than 100 to 110 degree.
  • Avoid watching TV or read lying down in an improper posture.

3. Walk daily for 4 km at a stretch:

  • Studies have revealed that the person should walk a minimum of 4 km at one go in a day to keep his back muscles healthy.
  • If you are not used of walking, then you can start with shorter distances and increase it gradually up to 4 km.

Above are some points to keep your back healthy. There are a lot of other points, which are specific to each person.

Last reviewed at: 25.Jan.2019



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