Eighty percent of people will experience back pain at some point. Everything from lifting too much weight to twisting in the wrong direction can lead to injury, muscle spasm, and disability in the low back. Active individuals, like runners and weight lifters, are at particular risk of sustaining low back injuries, which can upset their exercise regimens for weeks or even months.
Prevention is as simple as maintaining a neutral bone alignment. Strong abdominal, hip, pelvic, and back muscles can help to ensure proper alignment. Additionally, lifting with your knees, carrying weight close to your body, and watching your weight all help prevent back injuries. Many specialists recommend that you invest in a good mattress and that you ensure adequate lumbar support any time you sit.
If you injure your back, you need to address the injury before it becomes permanent. Critically, you need to stay out of bed. The chances of acute back pain turning into chronic back pain increase dramatically the longer you are immobile. To stay active, use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain, cold and warm compresses to relieve swelling (see Ice or Heat), and gentle stretching to reduce spasms (see 3 Easy Stretches). If you still have pain after a few weeks, you need to visit a specialist.
Active Release Technique (ART) and Graston Technique (GT) are soft tissue treatment modalities that can permanently alleviate lower back pain. ART restores tissue function by releasing nerves and vessels that have been entrapped by muscle spasms, thus improving blood flow and reducing nerve pain. Research shows that ART can actually increase pain thresholds, effectively reducing the experience of pain and allowing an individual to stay more mobile.
Graston Technique is used to detect, diagnose, and treat adhesions in muscles and tendons. Case reports of the use of GT to treat lower back pain suggest that it is effective in as few as six treatment visits(1). Others studies show that GT can even be useful in the setting of spinal compression fractures(2).
Both GT and ART have been used extensively in sports injuries to help athletes work through injury and get back to competition faster. Both techniques are completely natural and non-invasive. Try GT and ART today to avoid chronic back pain tomorrow. Your back will thank you.