The Truth About Back Pain
It’s estimated that anywhere from 60-85% or more of Americans suffer from back pain at some time in their lives. Many live with chronic back pain several days per week.
You’ve no doubt experienced back pain yourself at one time or another or you wouldn’t be reading this report right now.
It’s a common belief that there’s nothing you can do about back pain…it’s just a part of life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You can overcome back pain, or at the very least decrease it a great deal. But the biggest question is… WHAT can you do? The medical community usually prescribes some sort of pain medication such as:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Naprosin (Aleve)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorocet, Lorotab)
- Oxycodone (Percocet)
Unfortunately, besides the side effects and addictive potential of these medications, they don’t fix the problem that’s causing your back pain. They merely mask the pain, allowing you to continue doing what you normally do. And that usually just adds to the problem that’s causing your back pain to begin with because you feel less pain and continue to do all the things that further aggravate your injury/problem.
The other option many doctors will present to you is back surgery. Besides the risks, invasiveness, and pain associated with back surgery, many people are no better after the surgery than they were to begin with. I’m not completely against back surgery. I just feel that it should be used as the absolute last resort. Besides, what’s the point in going under the knife if you still suffer from the pain when it’s all said and done?
If you (or someone you care about) suffer from back pain, this may be the most important report you’ll ever read. I want you to know there are other options available to you that will greatly reduce or even eliminate your back pain without expensive doctor visits, dangerous (and often addictive drugs), or scalpel wielding surgeons.
In this report you’ll learn some of the major causes of back pain, and more importantly, what you can do about them.
Common Factors That Contribute to Back Pain
- Excess Weight and Body Fat
One of the main causes of back pain is simply being overweight. With America’s sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits it’s easy to add unwanted body fat, especially around your stomach. The “pot belly” or “Beer Gut”, as it’s sometimes affectionately referred to, is the leading cause of low back pain. For every pound of excess weight you carry in your stomach area you place an additional ten pounds of stress on your lower back. Now, ten pounds of pressure doesn’t sound like all that much, does it? But most people don’t just carry an extra pound of fat in their stomach. If you’re overweight, consider this and see if you don’t change your mind…
Ten pounds of fat on your midsection will add a whopping 100 pounds of extra stress on your lower back! Imagine lugging around a 100-pound backpack around with you all day long. Not only would it get pretty tiring really fast, it’s going to give you a hefty backache.
If you suffer from lower back pain, the first and most important thing you can do to help alleviate your pain is to maintain a healthy weight.
- Poor Posture
Another big cause of low back pain is the fact that almost everyone in our society has bad posture. We don’t stand up straight. We walk with slouched shoulders and a rounded upper back. When we sit, we round out our lower back, placing even more unnecessary strain on the lower back and hip region.
And to make matters worse, Americans spend a vast majority of the day sitting. If you fail to maintain the natural curve of your lower spine, you’re just adding to your problem. Be honest, do you consciously keep the natural arch in your lower back while you’re sitting at your desk at work? What about when you’re driving in your car or when you’re at home watching TV?
Make a conscious effort to keep your chest up, shoulders back, and your lower back arched the way it’s designed to be. This alone will do a lot for relieving your pain.
With our fast paced lifestyles, nagging bosses at work, bills piling up, kids that do anything and everything they can to push our buttons, and a spouse always reminding you to clean up around the house, it’s unavoidable that we’ll get stressed out from time to time.
And when you get stressed out where do you feel it first? Usually the stress and tension starts in your shoulders and in your upper back muscles, right?
It just so happens that when these muscles become tense, the other muscles in your back start doing more than their fair share of work trying to compensate. This will eventually cause them to tighten up due to exhaustion. Once they get too tired, it progresses up your neck (which can often lead to headaches) and all the way down the sides of your spine and into your lower back.
If this happens too often, you will experience low back pain. Do anything you can to reduce your amount of stress (short of killing your boss, of course).
- Your Mattress
We spend about 1/3 or our lives sleeping. It stands to reason that if your mattress is old or worn out, you’re not going to get a good night’s sleep. And with all those metal springs poking you in all the wrong places, it can be hard to get comfortable. A worn mattress will cause you to toss and turn all night long and can even cause your spine to become improperly aligned while you should be catching up on your beauty sleep.
Be sure to rotate (and/or replace) your mattress as recommended by the manufacturer to avoid creating divots from your hips. These divots will cause your spine to curve into an unnatural position.
And when you lay like that all night long, you can expect one thing in the morning…
…a stiff and aching back!
- Poor Physical Fitness
By far, the biggest cause of low back pain is not being in good physical shape. If your muscles aren’t capable of supporting your body the way they’re designed to, you will experience problems, with your back and almost everywhere else.
Here are some of the most common causes of low back pain associated with being out of shape…
- Weak abdominal muscles
- Weak spinal erectors
- Weak hip stabilizers
- Tight hamstrings
- Tight hip flexors
Since we spend most of our time sitting, the muscles in our hips and backs of our legs often become shortened. When these muscles shorten, they pull on your pelvis (hips) and cause an unnatural curve in the lower spine. This alone will lead to great amounts of stress placed on your lower back, leading to pain.
And if you don’t engage in much physical activity, the muscles in your stomach and lower back will become weakened. These muscles are directly responsible for stabilizing your spine and holding it in the proper alignment. Without strong abdominal and lower back muscles, your vertebrae will easily become misaligned, again, leading to back pain.
All the above factors I’ve listed will contribute to your back pain. That’s good information to have, but what do you do about it besides lose some of that extra weight and rotate your mattress? Glad you asked…
The 4 Most Important Things to Reduce or Eliminate Back Pain
- Start a Regular Exercise Program.
In the beginning, your fitness plan should not be overly aggressive. One of the biggest problems most people encounter when starting a fitness program is rapidly depleted motivation after only a few weeks due to an overly ambitious fitness plan.
Two days per week of 20-minute low-intensity cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, biking, swimming); and two days per week of 30-minute light resistance training (using weights or resistance machines) are adequate in the beginning.
As you become acclimated to the lifestyle “shift” you can add more days and get improved results. But beware: if you try to do too much too fast, you may end up quitting altogether. If you’ve tried and failed doing it alone, then I suggest you get a training partner or personal trainer who will help you sustain your motivation.
- Lose Weight.
If you are overweight by at least 20lbs., you need to lose some of the excess weight by eliminating the Standard American Diet (SAD) foods. It can be tough to put into practice, though, since these foods are staples for many.
Start by removing bad fats such as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and rancid vegetable oils with good fats like coconut oil, avocados, butter from grass fed cows, unheated organic nut oils.
Begin to purchase grass fed and free range meats. Commercially processed meats contain pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and hormones which can also lead to weight gain.
Lastly, remove all processed grains and sugars from your diet. This includes white rice, white pasta, and white bread. These are processed grains that are sugar, and they will raise glucose and insulin the same as sucrose, fructose, or any other “ose."
- Always, Always, Always Stretch.
The muscles that are associated with your lower back and hips are most likely too tight. That will lead to back pain. Stretching improves flexibility, blood flow, muscle recovery, low back pain, and a host of other things. Additionally, stretching can prevent injury, make you sleep better, and improve your performance in daily activities. Always stretch, but be certain not to stretch cold muscles. You should always warm up before stretching. However, it is very important that you know how to stretch. Never bounce!
- Schedule an Appointment with a Chiropractor.
Chiropractic care is a very safe and effective treatment for back pain. It reduces pain, decreases the need for medication, rapidly advances healing, and helps eliminate passive less effective forms of treatment, such as bed rest.
In fact, after an extensive study of all currently available care for low back problems, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research—a federal government research organization—recommended that low back pain sufferers choose the most conservative care first. And it recommended spinal manipulation as the only safe and effective, drugless form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems in adults.
A patient information article published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association also suggested chiropractic care as an option for people suffering from low back pain--and noted that surgery is usually not needed and should only be tried if other therapies fail.
There you have it. The 4 single most important things you can do to reduce or even completely eliminate your back pain.
Start Reducing or Eliminating Back Pain Now
I realize that starting (or re-starting) a productive and effective health program is not easy. That’s why I encourage you to get help. If your car breaks down you go to a mechanic. If you’ve got a tax problem, you see an accountant (or an attorney!). Have a toothache? You’re off to the dentist. Leaky pipes result in a call to the plumber.
Health is our most precious asset. So why is it that so many people attempt to solve their own health problems without consulting an expert? I don’t know exactly, but I encourage you to make the investment in yourself – in your quality of life – by hiring a qualified professional to educate you and help you get started. The hardest part is just that, getting started, and then sustaining your motivation until a healthy lifestyle becomes a habit. Once you develop the habit, which can take as little as thirty days, your back pain will lessen and your whole life will change for the better.
If I can be of any assistance to you in reducing your back pain without drugs or surgery, please don’t hesitate to call me. I would be happy to speak with you and give you my recommendations without any sales pressure (I hate it when people try to “sell” me, so I wouldn’t do that to you). Contact World Class Chiropractic at 410.461.3435 and arrange for a consultation with Dr. Silverston. Back pain is something we successfully help our patients on a daily basis. If you or someone you know is suffering from neck pain, please recommend this article.