Jennifer Closshey has advice for people dealing with lower back pain.
Four out of five people will experience lower back pain in their lives, according to the Mayo Clinic. Back pain is one of the top 10 reasons people visit the emergency room, hospital outpatient departments and their doctor’s office. Back issues are the most common cause of disability for persons under age 45, and lower back pain is often recurring.
Sacroiliac joint pain
Commonly called the SI joint, the body has two sacroiliac joints next to the bottom of the spine. Connecting the sacrum to the pelvis, these joints are intended to be small and strong. The SI joints act as a shock-absorbing structure, as the force of the upper body flows through the SI joints into the pelvis and legs.
The problem occurs when the SI joints have too much or too little movement. The resulting inflammation in the SI joints are accompanied by pain as the portion of the sciatic nerve that runs in front of the joint can become irritated.
How to get relief
Talk to your doctor or chiropractor. He or she may tell you to refrain from the activity that is the source of the inflammation. The pounding of jogging or walking on uneven terrain could be the cause. The doctor may prescribe pain medication and recommend physical therapy or exercise.
How exercise helps
When your back hurts, your natural inclination may be to lie down. But movement is good for your back.
Seek to strengthen the back, stomach and leg muscles, as they support the spine.
While exercise is good for the spine, not all exercise is helpful. Avoid standing toe touches, leg lifts and situps, as these movements add stress to the spine and its connective tissues.
Establish a regular exercise program and stick with it. Losing weight takes strain off the back. Swimming is an excellent activity, as the water supports the body. Yoga or pilates, which emphasize stretching and strength work well.
Jennifer E. Closshey, Ph.D., is a doctor of integrative health based out of Plant City. She teaches yoga classes at the Plant City Family YMCA on Thursdays. Contact her at JenniferClosshey@gmail.com.