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Lower Back Pain - The Cure

Updated on November 2, 2016
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Brian Gray, obtained his degree in Language from Lee University, and has been a published author and professional writer since 1985.

A Look At Our Posture

Lower Back Pain Is Intense

The pain is indescribable to those who have never experienced it, but those who have gone through the excruciating and never ending pain of a pinched sciatic nerve will tell you that they would not wish it off on their worst enemy. The pain is beyond equal, and having gone through a very long episode of it many years ago, I can attest to the severity of this debilitating injury. I had stupidly tried to move a refrigerator that was stuck in a rut in the floor, bent down to give it a harder tug, and I violated the cardinal rule of lifting motions - always face the load. Since I could not get a grip on the refrigerator by facing, I turned sideways and reached one hand under the bottom. I gave a strong, sharp tug, and instantly I felt as if someone had hit me in the back with a baseball bat. I sat down to see if it would pass, but the sudden pain was not going away. I immediately stepped across the room and sat in an armchair thinking that I just needed a moment’s rest, to simply take the weight off the spine. While sitting in the chair, I could feel throbbing in my lower back. I knew that I had taken the stress off the legs by sitting down, and I thought this would also take the stress off the spine, but still feeling this intense throbbing in my lower back, I began to think that it might be wiser to completely remove all weight from the spine, so I went into my bedroom and lay completely flat on my back on the floor. The throbbing did not go away, and after a few minutes of no progress, I thought I might as well try a stretch to loosen the lower back muscles, and I envisioned laying across the bed with my feet on the floor. At this point, I experienced the most frightening moment yet - I could not roll over to get up to the bed! I thought I was paralyzed.

What I was experiencing was the effects of the worst case of a pinched sciatic nerve, and from that moment, I would steadily descend into an abyss of never-ending and ever-increasing pain. Day after day, week after week, the pain intensified, becoming so severe that in order to stand from a sitting position, I had to endure a bout of tortuous pain that required that I stand perfectly still for several minutes before I could even think of walking, and the same pain episode would recur the moment I tried to sit back down. Any sudden jerking motion produced the same effect. After months of continued deterioration, I was so miserable that I literally considered going to the hospital and asking them to just inject me with morphine, this from a man who does not go to hospitals. At the six-month mark, I had had enough. I knew enough about the human body that I felt there was a cure that I was simply not putting into effect. I had stupidly expected this ordeal to eventually just gradually disappear on its own. It was time to plan deliverance from this horrible nightmare, so I analyzed the cause and a strategy to undo the damage. What I am about to share with you here is the cure that brought me completely back to normal, and I share this, because I have met countless people in my travels who have shared with me the ordeals they are undergoing with lower back pain. While I sympathize with them completely, there is no way in five minutes for me to teach them what I devised as my routine for curing lower back pain. So, with this article, I hope to help people regain their lives and help them put that life-interrupting pain behind them forever.

Where Lower Back Pain Begins

How Does Lower Back Pain Happen?

First things first, what brings on this intense pain? There are cases where a person has a spinal deterioration disease, and for these people, modern science may offer some alternative routes, such as fusing vertebrae. But, for most people experiencing this condition, the cause was avoidable, and the cure is attainable. We have to consider the culprit - the sciatic nerve located in the sacral plexus. To simplify things, this nerve provides feeling and motion for everything from the lower back down the back of the thigh all the way to the feet, and it begins right where you need to bend...at the waist. This is why, once the nerve route is pinched by dislocated vertebrae, pain sensations inhibit movement. There are multiple ways that this condition can be brought on, the most common is severe stress brought on by lifting too much weight while in a position that compromises the integrity of the spine, such as lifting a heavy load while turned perpendicular to the feet. This is why we are always told to “face the load.” Also, the same can happen by bending over and lifting a load without bending the knees and keeping the back straight up and down. The further you lean over, the weaker the lower back and the higher the stress on it. The ideal position for all lifting is, therefore, with the back straight up and down, as it is in the standing or sitting position. When a load is low to the ground, then the knees should be used to arrive at the point where you are then going to begin lifting.

Another way people arrive finally at the “great pain” is by years of spinal neglect. This is brought about by sitting in chairs, or on sofas, in a posture that is detrimental to the curvature of the spine. I see many young people at movie theaters wanting to slouch and prop their feet up on the seat in front of them. Beside being extremely rude, this seemingly comfortable position is gradually moving you, day by day, toward the cliff, weakening the strength and integrity of the lower back. Eventually, people who have practiced this type of bad posture will hit a moment where something as simple as a sneeze will finish the journey and bring on the first bout with sciatic pain. Look at the structure of the spine as viewed from the side, and you will see how it should look in healthy people. People who sit improperly are destined for problems with their lower backs, no matter how long it takes. I can assure you, they will have their destiny fulfilled...unless they take corrective action.

Your Spine's Weakest Point - The Pelvic Area

My Routine

Sudden impacts can also bring on this condition, such as playing football of being in an accident. In nearly all situations, I believe it is possible to reverse the condition and return to normal. Follow these steps: practice good posture at all times by respecting the correct curvature of the spine, especially watch for this when you are someone who sits at a desk all day. Avoid over-stressing the spine, either by lifting too heavy of a load, or by lifting from a position that jeopardizes the spine, and most of all...stretch. The muscles that hold your spine in correct posture and alignment need to be maintained so that they can keep your vertebrae aligned properly. To get the spine back to normal, practice the routines that I am showing you here. And one other thing, there is an old saying that the back muscles are friends of the stomach muscles. When I developed my routine, I decided to add pushups and sit ups into the mix. On the first day, trying to execute any form of a pushup was too painful, but what I did was to lower myself to the floor and simply try to push myself up to the pushup position. The next day, I pushed up, then lowered myself back down. On day three, I did two pushups, and on each following day, I added one more pushup, eventually doing a full set of fifty pushups. I have maintained that routine ever since. About a month into my pushups, I began to add sit ups, and I did it the same way...one sit up added each day. Do NOT race ahead. Follow patience and wisdom, and only add one push up and one sit up for each day. You do not want to set your progress back. Trust me, the first few days, you are going to think this is not working, but about a week into this routine, you are going to start seeing results, and after about a month, you are going to feel pain free. Do not stop. The entire recuperation takes about three months, and complete pain-free status takes about a year of consistently doing this routine, but do not stop. Remember the old Japanese saying, “When the rain stops, the rain hat is forgotten.” When the pain starts to subside, you might be tempted to think you don’t need to keep up the routine, but when you start thinking this, just remind yourself of how debilitating the pain was and ask yourself how soon you want it to come back.

Seated Stretch

My favorite posture. In this stretch, you can sit in any chair or on a sofa, as long as you are not too high or too low. Ideally, your upper thighs should be at a 90 degree angle with the feet. Begin this stretch with the back straight up and down. Curve in at the lower back as much as possible. Do not let the lower back round outward. Study the natural curvature of the spine and keep this in mind when you are doing this stretch. At first, you may not be able to do this. Don’t worry. Just do the stretch, With time, you will get better at this.

Slowly lower yourself forward, simply bending over. Go as far forward as you can and stop. Relax, and stay in this position. Mentally relax the muscles in the lower back. Just keep thinking relaxing thoughts, breathe in, breathe out, then try to lower yourself even further. With each second, you are stretching the spine to allow the vertebrae to re-align themselves to a healthier position. This is not a stressful position for the spine, so hold this for several minutes, but not more than fifteen minutes. When you are done, use the hands and arms to push yourself back upright. Do NOT simply lift back into position, as this will cause a tightening of the lower back muscles.

Seated Stretch Beginning Position

My friend, Scott Douglas, President of Guaranteed Results Training, is assisting me with each of these poses.
My friend, Scott Douglas, President of Guaranteed Results Training, is assisting me with each of these poses.

Seated Stretch Beginning Position Side View

Notice that the feet are more than shoulder width apart.
Notice that the feet are more than shoulder width apart.

Seated Stretch Position 2

Seated Stretch Position 2 Side View

Seated Stretch Position 3

Seated Stretch Position 3 Side View

Standing Stretch

Another posture I like to do is the standing stretch that has me placing my palms on the ground in front of my feet. In this posture, if you cannot do the advanced position of hands right at the feet, begin with the hands further forward and slowly work your way back toward the feet. Your feet should be placed about a foot apart, the knees should be locked, not bent, however, at first, you may need to bend the knees to be able to reach this position. As you relax, you will find that you can eventually lock the knees to get the full potential of this stretch.

Once you have relaxed for several minutes, bend the knees into a squatting position, place the hands on the knees, and straighten the back to an upright position. Once you are in this position, slowly raise yourself back to fully standing. If you want to, add a full arm stretch to finish by putting your arms up above your head and stretching for a couple of seconds.

Beginning Posture for Standing Stretch

Standing Stretch Position 2

Place the hands on the knees for support, and slowly bend the knees to lower your back.
Place the hands on the knees for support, and slowly bend the knees to lower your back.

Standing Stretch Position 3

Keep the hands on the knees and bend the back forward.
Keep the hands on the knees and bend the back forward.

Standing Stretch Position 4

Bend the knees until you can reach the ground with your palms.
Bend the knees until you can reach the ground with your palms.

Standing Stretch Position 5

Palms flat, knees locked, mentally relax the lower back muscles.  When finished, reverse the order of these postures until standing erect.
Palms flat, knees locked, mentally relax the lower back muscles. When finished, reverse the order of these postures until standing erect.

Standing Stretch Position For Beginners

Place the hands further from the feet when first practicing this position.  Move the hands closer to the feet as you progress.
Place the hands further from the feet when first practicing this position. Move the hands closer to the feet as you progress.

Pulling Stretch

Another important stretch can be done anywhere that you can find something to hold on to, such as the back of a sofa, a chair, a kitchen table, or while outdoors, a log or rock. Placing the hands in front, lock your grip onto the object you are using as your anchor. Slowly bend the knees and increase the pull on the back muscles by bending at the hips. You should feel the tension on the muscles of the lower back, even though the entire back is being stretched. Once you have done this exercise, you will know exactly where this stretch is affecting and how to maximize the effects. To add to the benefits of this stretch, raise the toes and anchor on your heels.

Pulling Stretch Beginning Position

Pulling Stretch Position 2

Pulling Stretch Position 3

Seated Twist Stretch

In this stretch, keeping the back erect, place on leg over the other, anchor your palm on the knee, and twist your head and torso in the opposite direction. Hold for one minute, then switch to the opposite leg.

Seated Twist Stretch

The Proper Push Up

The Correct Way To Do A Push Up

One of the main elements of doing a proper push up is to keep the back straight. As I indicate in the above photo, I have drawn an arrow straight down the line from the head to the toes. Begin with the hands wider than shoulder width apart, and push all the way up until your arms are locked at the elbows, then lower yourself to the beginning position. Begin your cure routine with only one push up. Each day, add ONLY one more push up. If you add one per day, you can literally reach the point where you can do fifty per set...and, yes, I have trained women who accomplished this. If your back pain is so severe that you cannot even do one, that is fine. Start in the push up position, and try to push up. Each day, repeat this until you can finally push all the way up. Trust me, I've been there, and you will eventually complete your first push up...and many more to follow. The first few days, you will not think that you are healing, but KEEP AT IT! In thirty days, you will be doing more push ups than ever, and you will be well on your way to being pain free.

The Proper Sit Up

The Correct Way To Do A Sit Up

Traditional sit ups can cause harm to the lower back. I have illustrated the correct sit up posture with several arrows in the photo above.

A.) The first arrow is to indicate that the head should be held straight, as if you are looking at the ceiling. Do NOT curl the head forward, touching the chin to the chest. Never!

B.) Flex the abdominals and sink the flat of the back into the floor. Keep them flexed the entire time that you are doing the sit ups.

C.) Flex the thighs. Keep them flexed the entire time you are doing the sit ups.

D.) Cross the legs at the ankles. It does not matter which leg crosses which.

Note - When doing this type of sit up, your shoulders will not come up very high, but you will definitely feel the burn. This sit up is safe for your back, as well.

Your Daily Routine

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    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 6 months ago from Chicago, IL

      Great post - there are so many people with low back pain which as we get older can become debilitating. I would just add a few things. On the standing stretch position - if you roll your back up slowly at the end and do this several times it really helps to loosen and strengthen your entire back but you can really feel it in the lower back. I would be careful about the twisting stretch as depending on what the pain is from this can make it worse. Your point about maintaining the abs is really important. For those of us with very long torsos full sit ups may be almost impossible to do so it was recommended to me by a physical therapist to just do crunches where you lift just you head and shoulder off the ground while contracting your abs. A final comment for when back pain gets bad enough that it may feel like there are spasms - Try sitting on the ground facing a wall, lay back and scooch towards the wall until your rear touches it, then put your legs all the way up the wall with your head on the ground so you form a right angle. This takes the pressure off your lower back and stops the spasm as well as decreases pain. Thanks for a well written and informative article!

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 6 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Natalie,

      Thanks for writing and adding your valuable comments. I took some photos of correct sit ups and push ups, which I will be adding to this article, because there is a correct way and a wrong way to do sit ups. The method you describe is very similar to the one I recommend. The traditional sit up is actually bad for the lower back.

      With regard to the twisting stretch, yes, a person should do this one gently and equally, that is, they should first know in which direction a vertebra is misaligned and use this twist to keep symmetry in the spinal column. I actually add a sideways leaning stretch personally to my routine, and maybe I will photograph this one later on and add it for people. Bottom line, there are many wonderful exercises people can use for strengthening their spines, but I thought I would simply give them a primer for getting started, and if they use the main three in my article, plus add the push ups and sit ups, they will be cured. Worked for me.

      Once again, thanks for your input. Greatly appreciated.

      Brian

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 2 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Lucas

      Whenever the body has been injured, temporary pain relief is fine, but we still need to treat the injury and heal the body. Never mask the pain and ignore it. Cure it.

      Brian

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