Archives for May 2010
Many people seem to want to know if you can just exercise lower back pain away. Is it only about exercise? That is, did you end up with lower back pain due to a lack of exercise? Or could it be something else?
Your back pain is not necessarily caused by a lack of exercise, but it’s probably a good place to start looking. When I ask patients if they exercise, most are still saying “no.” Those that do exercise tend to stick with the same machine or routine for their entire program. (And almost none of their “routine” exercises focus on improving their back muscles.)
So on one hand, we have those that don’t exercise and have lower back pain. It’s easy to take a guess and see that their spine is having problems due to a lack of muscular support. While their spine may need more work at this point (check with your healthcare professional), eventually they’ll exercise lower back pain away by creating a muscular back support around their spine with regular exercise.
Those that do exercise, but are not performing a variety of movements are causing a different problem; muscular imbalance. They are likely only developing certain muscle groups while largely ignoring others. Worse, they may be performing activities that are alarmingly similar to what they already do all day.
They are strengthening muscles that are already overworked (muscles in the front of the body) and not strengthening muscles that are typically ignored (back muscles). This is a standard recipe for developing lower back pain problems and should be avoided.
Overall, maintaining a variety of activities that includes exercises to enhance cardiovascular health, strengthening and stretching will help exercise lower back pain away for good. The same formula works for almost everyone. First, due some exercise regularly. Next, make sure you take some time to strengthen your back muscles (especially if you already know you need it!).
Most health problems can be avoided. Many of the problems we deal with every day didn’t have to be there at all, if we were willing to take a good hard look at ourselves and decide to be healthy.
The first question is, do you think your body wants to be healthy or do you think you have to medicate it into being “healthy?” An easy example is if you get a cut on your skin. You know that the bandage doesn’t heal the cut, your body does. It just knows that it needs to heal that area and it gets to work. If you are a healthy person, the cut will likely heal much faster than if you are unhealthy.
I see this in my practice every day. I’m a chiropractor and we work with aligning the spine to improve the patient’s health. In order for the spine to stay in its proper position, the muscles will need to work with us. The health of the muscles will determine how fast the patient gets results.
Too many people are in pain, come in and get treatment, just to find that the results take much longer than they thought they would. Then I see patients in moderately good health that bounce back much faster than expected. The patient that consistently makes more healthy choices will get better faster than the patient that doesn’t. Period.
So how do you avoid most health problems and stay healthy? There’s not a lot of mystery to it, believe me. I’ve tried, probably just like you, to find any other new possible way to get healthy other than what has been tried and true.
1. Eat right – What does this mean? Fruits and vegetables, you know, all the stuff you don’t want to eat. If you look at your health as just the results of what you’ve been doing so far, this will help in your motivation. Eliminating one bad food at a time and replacing it with something healthy will go a long way. Maybe no more sodas, instead you’ll be drinking water. Replacing green tea for coffee, or reducing your sugar intake.
Continue to make these better choices and eventually you’ll see a big difference in how you feel. Many conditions are the result of long term diet issues. If you eat poorly, you don’t give your body any materials to maintain your health.
2. Exercise – Don’t start your new exercise program by opening up your front door and running 10 miles. Find some ways to build momentum in your exercise program. Take a walk, go play catch with your child (or even your dog), or get a bike and start doing laps around your block. Find a way to get started and go from there.
Exercise will improve the tone of your muscles, make you stronger, and most importantly, will help you deal with stress. Stress is a huge factor in your health.
It all sounds to easy, right? It’s not easy. Staying consistent with these elements of your goal to get healthy will yield plenty of benefits, just figure out your best way of sticking with it. I’ve found that adding in (or taking out) one thing at a time will make all the difference. You won’t lose fifty pounds in six weeks, but whatever you do lose will stay gone. Over the long-term, that’s what will make all the difference in your health. Take charge of your health!