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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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Rizvan Ullah

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss

8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss

When people think of cardio, usually a boring treadmill, elliptical machine, or other mundane activity comes to mind. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

When you’re short on time or easily distracted, there are a variety of fat-burning cardio alternatives that will increase your body’s metabolism, boost weight loss, and keep you interested.

Here’s a list of different types of cardio workouts:

  • Steady State (Burns less fat, but isn’t as demanding on the body)
  • Interval Training (Burns more fat)
  • HIIT
  • Spinning
  • Stairs
  • Weight Training (Supersets) short rest periods
  • Weight Training (Compound Sets) short rest periods
  • Machine Circuit Training

And I’m going to talk about each of them in detail:

1. Steady State

Steady state cardio involves working at a low to moderate intensity — around 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, for a sustained period of time. This type of cardio doesn’t burn a huge number of calories, but it does burn a high percentage of fat tissue for fuel, and it isn’t too draining.

An example of steady state cardio would be a long outdoor walk at a moderate pace. Interval training, on the other hand, is much more intense.

2. Interval Training

Similar to HIIT but with exercises that are slightly longer in duration, interval training alternates levels of intensity. For example, if you enjoy running, you would run or sprint for 30 seconds, then bring down your heart rate and walk for two minutes.

Pick two intensities per interval, usually one at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate and the other at 60 percent, and alternate between them. I find that 85% for 30 seconds and 60% for one minute, not only burns more calories but increases my energy level as well.

Another example would be jumping rope. Jump rope for two minutes, rest for one minute. Begin again, this time jumping rope for one minute and resting for one minute. On the third and final round, jump rope for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds. Repeat five sets of this routine.

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3. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

Have a busy schedule? Fifteen minutes a few times a week is all you need. HIIT is an extremely popular workout because it can be done quickly, burn calories in a short amount of time, and can even be done in your home or during a lunch break at work. And the best part – You don’t need any equipment.

With the use of your body weight, HIIT is typically 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of active rest which means your heart rate remains elevated for the entire 15-minute workout.

Check out this HIIT routine by Fitness Blender: 15 Minute HIIT Workout

4. Spinning

Spinning is a great way to get your heart up and keep it up in a 45-minute spin class. Our thighs and back are our largest muscles so they work the hardest.

To get the most out of spinning, try to stay out of the saddle throughout an entire spin class. That way, you are forced to hold up your body weight which burns more calories and increases intensity.

It’s also great for stabilizing and building strong core muscles, versus cycling outdoors, where most of the time you are sitting in the saddle and going for distance (steady-state cardio).

5. Stairs

One of my favorite places to get out of the gym for cardio and trim fat from my thighs and butt is the Santa Monica Stairs, near California’s most popular beach. Climbing 170 steps a few times builds the glutes, leans the thighs, strengthens the calves, and builds endurance.

So, if the gym is not your scene and you love the outdoors, climbing stairs is a great alternative. Find a place with multiple steps, do six or seven rounds, and you’ve easily burned around 600 calories.

6. Supersets

A superset is two exercises that work opposing muscle groups, such as biceps and triceps, quadriceps and hamstrings, or different body parts such as the lower and upper body with little to no recovery between sets.

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The superset may include two to five sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of each exercise or more.[1]

So, if you love to workout with weight-training but aren’t really feeling cardio, supersets with no more than 30-second rest periods between exercises will keep your heart rate up. Not only will you build muscle, you will burn fat!

For example, say you are doing a leg workout, five sets of exercises with high reps and low weight is all it takes to turn your weight-training into a cardio workout.

Here’s one of my leg training workouts:

i. Dumbbell Step-Ups on a secure bench or box (4×15, each leg)

ii. Front Squat (4×15)

iii. Wide Stance Dumbbell Goblet (4×15)

iv. Leg Extension (4×15)

v. Leg Curl (4×15)

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    Photo Credit: Shape Magazine

    vi. Front Squat


      Photo Credit: Stack

      vii. Wide Stance Dumbbell Goblet Squat

      viii. Leg Extension

      ix. Leg Curl

        Photo Credit: T Nation

        7. Compound Sets

        Compound exercises are exercises that recruit muscles in the entire body, such as pull-ups, squats, bench press, etc. However, a compound set simply means to “compound” the number of different exercises into a series of sets with little or no recovery between, similar to supersets.

          This may be accomplished by performing four to five exercises for the same muscle group, opposing muscle groups or total body exercises performed in succession such as full body extensions, followed by squat/cleans and complete the compound set of compound exercises with lunges with biceps curls.

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          Compound sets put stress on the body and are great for expending additional calories while strength-training.

          8. Machine Weight Training Circuit

          Like compound exercises, a machine circuit workout targets the entire body, upper body, lower body, or core. The difference is, with the use of machines instead of free weights, muscle strength is increased by by making your muscles work against weight.[2] By limiting rest periods between exercises to 30 seconds, your metabolism will go into over-drive!

          Machines also give you better control over the exercises, which decreases risk of injury.

          Here’s a machine circuit training example: Muscle and Strength Machine Workout

          The Bottom Line

          The above-mentioned workouts should be completed within 30 minutes, unless you’re taking a class which is typically 45 to 60 minutes, giving you time to get on with the rest of your day.

          By keeping your rest periods to a minimum between exercises, your heart rate will stay elevated and you will burn more calories, get lean, and have more energy.

          Don’t be a gym rat, spending unnecessary time doing lengthy workouts that give you minimum results. For efficient weight loss, perform these workouts three times a week and watch the fat melt away while achieving your fitness goals.

          More Resources About Weight Loss

          Featured photo credit: Spencer Dahl via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Mountain Life Fitness: Super sets, compound sets and giant sets
          [2] Better Health Channel: Resistance training – health benefits

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