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6 Ways to Manage Lower Back Pain Effectively

6 Ways to Manage Lower Back Pain Effectively

Lower back pain can stop you dead in your tracks, and I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. If you are over the age of 20, then you have suffered from lower back pain at one point in your life. We use our lower back for lifting, running, walking, and most of all, keeping our posture straight. Medical companies have made billions of dollars worth of prescription drugs and devices to help people with lower back pain. It’s amazing ,even with all these devices, you may still suffer from lower back pain, trying to find other effective ways to deal with it.

Here are effective ways to deal with lower back pain so it doesn’t stop you from living an enjoyable life.

But First, Find The Cause

To find an effective treatment for your lower back pain, you must know what is the cause. Did you know there can be several causes for your back pain and each one requires a custom treatment? Therefore, a doctor will always ask you what you were doing before the pain started. If you are suffering from lower back pain, think about what you were doing right before it started. If you are unsure about your activity, go through a list of reasons online which most likely resemble your day-to-day activities. For example, start by checking out these causes of lower back pain.

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Once you have determined the cause of your pain, you can start to find an effective solution. Here are 6 solutions.

Keep Moving

One of the best ways to manage your lower back pain is to keep moving and not let your back stiffen up. Here’s what a well-known back doctor has to say – Our spines are like the rest of our body — they’re meant to move,” says Reicherter. Have you noticed when you don’t use a certain part of your body it stiffens up? Then, when you try to use it after, you’ll be in pain until it gets back into its natural form.

It’s important you keep performing daily activities so you feel better. Start incorporating activities like swimming, aerobic exercises, and walking into your daily life.

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Pain Medication

Even though you should try to avoid medication as much as you can, it can be effective at reducing pain and getting you moving. As mentioned, you have to keep moving when you suffer from lower back pain so the area doesn’t stiffen up. Painkillers can help you manage the pain while you start moving. However, it’s important you take the proper doses and don’t get become dependent on them. The objective is to take them to help you get up and moving, not to reduce pain so you can be inactive.

Release Endorphins

Your body has its own natural painkillers and these can help with your lower back pain. If you’re able to move around and the pain isn’t that severe, then slowly start exercising. By doing this, you’ll be releasing your body’s natural painkillers lowering your back pain. Please know it’s important to take things slow and only do the exercises that don’t hurt your back even more. Perhaps google the best lower back “natural” exercises and get started in beginner mode.

Get Enough Sleep

Your body repairs itself while you’re sleeping so it’s important you get 6-8 hours each night. Approximately two thirds of people with chronic lower back pain suffer from some type of sleep disorder. In essence, lack of sleep will make your pain worse so it’s important to get adequate sleep every night. Not to mention, if you are exercising and not sleeping, your body will have no time to repair itself.

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Work Your Core

Your abdominal muscles are crucial for supporting your entire back. Your back pain might be caused by weak core muscles so you should focus on building them up. Implement core exercises like planks or, for an additional chest workout plank push-ups. If you have some extra money, enlist the help of a personal trainer who’ll be able to show you how to perform them correctly. You can also go to YouTube and do a quick search for “plank exercises” to learn the proper technique.

Physical Therapy

If your lower back pain is severe, you can go through physical therapy for 4-6 weeks. This is often the course of action or last resort right before any type of surgical procedure. The goal of this type of therapy is to decrease overall pain, increase function, and teach ways to prevent future lower back pain. There are two parts to physical therapy –

  1. Passive physical therapy: includes heat packs, ice packs, and electrical stimulation.
  2. Active physical therapy: this mainly focuses on specific exercises (as discussed above), and stretching.

Lower back pain can limit your daily activity and have a negative effect on your mental state. Many people become depressed knowing they are limited in what they can or cannot do. However, that doesn’t have to be you. With effective treatment through exercises, sleep, and pain medication, you can gain full functionality of your lower back and live a healthy, productive life.

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Featured photo credit: sunstonemassage.com via sunstonemassage.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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