Around my early 20’s I got my first real desk job. I worked in a high school and spent 40+ hours a week sitting down in a chair tutoring students and substitute teaching. Right around this time is when I learned a fun truth about sitting — it’s the fastest way to having a back that hurts like hell every day.
I had never previously had back pain in my life — I never had lower back pain, or shoulder issues, or neck pain, but suddenly I started having these pains simultaneously on the majority of my days at work. It didn’t always last long, but every day at some point I was experiencing discomfort in my spine.
The worst part is that when you do get lower back pain, it seems so freaking hard to get rid of. You try adjusting your posture – still hurts.
You try rubbing it or massaging it or stretching out quickly — still hurts.
You try getting up and walking around — ten minutes later, it still hurts.
It’s incredibly frustrating.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies I’ve used (that I haven’t seen elsewhere) that actually work that you can do right now.
The Raw Truth About Lower Back Pain
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), lower back pain affects nearly everyone at some point in their life.
Lower back pain also:
Is something that Americans spend $50 billion dollars on annually in physicians visits and rehab
The #1 cause of job-related disability
The #2 neurological health issue (headaches is #1)
Seeing as how back pain is such a ubiquitous problem, I was a little disappointed when I googled back pain relief because this is the useless advice I got from just about every website.
Useless guides online to back pain:
See a chiropractor
But here’s the problem — none of these things you can do yourself, right now (unless you do the usual quick fixes like Aspirin, Ice, Icy/Hot, etc.).
So here’s what I’m NOT going to tell you: I’m NOT going to tell you to go see XXX specialist because that would be useless advice that you should already know. I am not a doctor or qualified medical professional. You should always be seeing them first.There are thousands of other websites telling you to just go see your doctor or a physical therapist. You know you should be doing that.
Instead, these are a few key strategies I’ve used to reduce the majority of my back pain on a day to day basis, but in my experience, these are mostly short term fixes. Check out our epic guide to lower back pain relief to learn more about how I (and many others) got rid of most of my back pain on a daily basis.
4 Things You Can do Right Now For Lower Back Pain Relief
I can not even begin to describe my excitement upon finding the Egoscue method. The underlying premise is simple: you’re experiencing pain because of chronic inactivity which weakens certain muscles and tightens others, and the promise is true: it works. Famous celebrities and pro athletes have raved about it, and if you don’t believe me, just look at the Amazon reviews.
I’ll go into much much more detail later, but for now, here are the exercises you should be doing (and the instructions):
For Lower Back Pain
Static back – Duration:5-10 minutes
How to do it:
Lie on your back with both legs bent at right angles on a chair or block
You can just rest your hands on your stomach or lay your arms out at the side below shoulder level, palms facing up
Breathe from your stomach. Let the lower back relax.
Hold for 5-10 minutes
Static Extension – Duration: 1 Minute
For many of us, back pain is caused by the rounding of the back (flexion) from bad postural habits and sitting or slouching. This exercise reminds the back how to extend properly.
How to do it:
Kneel with hands on the floor positioned under your shoulders
Let your back and head relax towards the floor
Let your shoulder blades come together, and make sure there is an arch in your back
Keep the elbows straight but shift your hips forward 6 to 8 inches so they are not aligned with the knees.
Hold 1-2 minutes
Supine Groin Stretch – Duration: 10 minutes per side
How to do it:
Lie on your back with one leg resting on a chair, knee bent at 90 degrees, while the other leg is extended straight out and resting on the floor
Make sure both legs are aligned with the hips and shoulders
The foot of the extended leg should be propped upright to preventing it from rolling to one side
Hold 10 minutes then do it on the other side
Modified Floor Block – Duration: 6 Minutes
How to do it:
Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the floor — your feet should be pigeon toed
Rest your elbows on books or blocks so that your hands are in the “don’t shoot!” position
Make sure your shoulders are level — breathe deeply and relax the upper body
Let your body weight naturally fall into the floor
Hold 6 minutes
The Egoscue method is one thing I’ve constantly revisited because it works so well. Pro athletes and many celebrities have used it to eliminate lifelong, chronic pain (even after decades).
The science behind trigger points suggests that many chronic pains in the body are due to tension in the musculature. Trigger points are essentially the “origin” points of these pains, and the way to stimulate the relaxation of these points is deep (slightly painful) massage to relax the area.
The interesting thing about trigger points is that even though you think your pain may be coming from a certain area (e.g. your lower back or knee), very rarely is that the case. Usually, somewhere in the surrounding musculature, there is something going wrong, rather than at the site of the pain. This is called referral pain and is important to remember. The place hurting is often just collateral damage.
Generally, you stimulate the points 5-7 times during the day, for about 30 seconds – 1 minute at a time. Many people report complete back pain relief after regularly using trigger points throughout the day.
Trigger points are a little tricky though because they take some practice to find.
How to stimulate the points:
When you find the point, it should be very tender and painful. Apply pressure using your thumb, knuckle, or tennis ball on a 7 (out of 1 to 10) pain scale.
Apply firm pressure in sliding strokes, like you’re trying to iron the area. Don’t just apply pressure and hold it still. Only massage in one direction.
Do 6 – 12 strokes per trigger point each session (don’t overdo it). Repeat 6-12x a day.
If you aren’t getting relief you aren’t stimulating the right points
Here are the points you are going to stimulate:
Gluteus medius (middle-top of your butt)
Deep Spinal Muscles (muscles running alongside the left of your spine) (Use a tennis ball)
Quadratus lumborum (muscles coming from left to right around your back, under the rib cage) (Use a tennis ball too)
Also Read: CYCLING WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHIER, IS IT TRUE?