Assessing Low Back Pain
Above all to stop low back pain you must begin assessing low back pain. It should be noted that assessment is much easier than you think. In this article I will outline way to help you assess the cause of your low back pain. By incorporating the suggestions here you will begin to gain a clearer understanding of the root cause of your low back pain.
Stop Saying My Back Hurts
The statement “Stop Saying my Back Hurts” may seem ridiculous however it is part of assessing low back pain. Albeit true, try being more specific with yourself. Replace the above statement with What Am I doing right now? Then assess your current activity. Are you sitting on one leg? Do you still have that bulky wallet? Are you sitting in a poor quality seat? Once you have an answer to the above questions there is yet another question.
What Can I Do To Correct It?
Take action immediately by asking yourself “What can I do to correct it?”. Then do it. For example, throw that wallet away and get a front pocket wallet. If you’re sitting in a poor quality, unsupportive seat, stand up or move to a different seat. While the pain may not immediately subside, identifying the contributing action and correcting it will put you on the correct path. Moreover try not to get angry when you feel your low back pain.
Anger Increases Your Low Back Pain
A common reaction to low back pain is anger. Unfortunately, pain does not correct itself because you are angry. Quite the opposite actually. When you are angry your muscles will naturally begin to tense up. Thus, anger increases your low back pain. Additionally, muscle has memory. So if you are angry at the low back pain you feel you are actually training your muscle to increase tension when you are angry.
How counterproductive is that!
Here is an example to help you get a clear picture. Think back to a repetitive motion job you did. It could be stuffing envelopes to filling jars. Any repetitive job in your past. Do you remember how the first couple times you fumbled around a bit? Then after 15- 20 minutes you seemed to be able to do the job without thinking? That experience was muscle memory at work. In that situation you literally programmed your muscles to know the exact distance to reach to grab the paper and stuff the envelope. Similarly, your back muscles can have this reaction.
My Process Of Assessing Low Back Pain (This really happened!)
Here is an example of my process for assessing low back pain when it creeps up on me. I’m on vacation in Thailand. We had just walked the better part of the afternoon around Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. The place is massive. Not only did we walk all afternoon but we took public transportation back to the hotel. That means more standing because the train was packed. Then my back pain started. Dull at first but began increasing pretty quick.
I paused and began to “feel” around for a cause. I know we had walked far but I had on Keen sandals which normally give me great support. Plus me feet didn’t hurt, neither did my knees. So I moved on to my hips. Ah ha! I could feel my hips were super tense. Being on the train I was able to hold onto a grab bar and stretch out my hips pretty nicely. I held the stretch on each side for a good 30 plus seconds and did that three times per side. I looked a little funny but whatever.
Again, the pain didn’t go away instantly but I was able to feel it subside rather quickly. When we stepped off the train I was able to walk easier. Also, while standing waiting for cross walks I stretched my hips again, however not as intense. By the time we hit the restaurant I was feeling much better. This is the power of assessing low back pain, without anger, at work.
Applying This Example To Your Self Assessment
In your case you may not stop at your hips. The cause of your pain may be a little higher. Regardless the assessment process is the same. “Feel” each part of your body and analyze what you are doing that is causing the pain. Refrain from anger if at all possible. Then incorporate a stretch to help alleviate the pain. The stretch can be something as simple as a Pelvic Tilt or standing up and taking a short walk using long strides. Whatever the fix is for you the goal is to identify it and take immediate corrective action.