Lumbar pain—better known as lower back pain—sends more people to seek chiropractic relief than just about any other condition. Symptoms include achy muscles, throbbing or shooting pains, stiffness, loss of flexibility, and difficulty standing or sitting for extended periods. But despite its frequency, the condition is not always well understood.
Myth: Back pain only affects old people
While lumbar pain first typically afflicts people between the ages of 30 to 50, it occurs in people of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds. Low back pain is an equal opportunity condition. Middle and high school students are susceptible to low back pain from carrying backpacks loaded down with heavy textbooks. Athletes experience low back pain from too much exertion or physical contact. Sedentary, middle-aged office workers put themselves at risk to lumbar discomfort, and older people suffer pain caused by the wear and tear of living for so many years.
Myth: Massage isn’t a real treatment
Once the chiropractor determines the underlying cause of the lumbar pain, they will suggest a treatment plan, which may include heat therapy with pads, hot bath, or a Jacuzzi. Therapeutic massage is one of the more popular options because it not only helps the muscles and soft tissue heal, but is emotionally relaxing as well.
Fact: Exercise is encouraged to treat low back pain
There was a time when people responded to lumbar pain by reducing their physical activity and staying in bed. But now chiropractors know that exercise is one of the best ways to improve the strength of back muscles and increase flexibility. But it is important to learn proper form to avoid making the condition worse. Lifestyle choices also matter: shedding those extra pounds will ease the pressure placed on the lumbar; being mindful of not sitting for long stretches; and for women, minimizing the wearing of high heels.
Fact: Your mental state can contribute to lumbar pain
When people are stressed they tend to tense the muscles in their neck, shoulders, and back. This in turn causes nearby blood vessels to constrict or can compress nerves, both of which result in pain. Massaging the lumbar area improves circulation, which can help alleviate the discomfort. But researchers have found that therapeutic massage also prompts the production of neurotransmitters called endorphins that act as natural pain killers and also promote feelings of well-being that in turn reduce stress. Therapeutic massage also inhibits the production of cortisol, a hormone known to promote stress.
For more information about low back pain and effective treatments, contact your chiropractic specialist for a consultation.