Back pain is a widespread problem, with lower back pain affecting an estimated 80% of the population. The pain may develop suddenly as a result of a muscle strain caused by heavy lifting or an accident. Muscle pain can come from conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis, especially in older people.
Your back muscles are involved in just about everything you do. The best strategy is to keep your back and spine strong so that you can do the activities that you want to do.
The health of your spine is critical to the health of the entire body. An unhealthy spine with weak muscles can cause a variety of uncomfortable issues like pain and disability. The good news is that the spine is extremely flexible and is made up of strong bones, flexible ligaments and tendons, large muscles, and complex nerves. So, your back can heal if you treat it right.
The spine is part of the central nervous system, made up of the brain and spinal cord, which protects the network of nerves that communicate with the brain and control movement and function. This makes the health of the spine and back crucial to your entire body.
Exercises for Your Spine
Stretching and exercising for 10-30 minutes a day is really good for your spine and your body. Doing push-ups are great for your cervical spine (neck). Neck stretches, bending, and range-of-motion exercises can significantly improve the strength and flexibility of the spine.
Here are three easy exercises that you can do each day. You should start with 5 repetitions of each of the 3 exercises after you stretch your body and spine for 5 to 10 minutes to warm up.
1. Lie on your back. Extend one leg straight out on the floor. Then, bend your other leg at the knee so your foot is flat on the floor.
2. Put your hands under your lower back to maintain the natural arch of your spine.
3. Then exhale and tuck your chin. Lift your head, shoulders, and chest off the floor just enough to feel tension in your back. Be sure not to bend your lower back.
4. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then slowly lower yourself down.
5. Complete 5 repetitions and then switch leg positions and repeat the sequence on your other side.
The Side Plank
1. Lie on one side with your upper body propped on top of your arm. Place your forearm on the floor and your elbow underneath your shoulder. Put your other hand of the top of your hip. Now, pull your feet back, so your knees are at a 90° angle.
2. Lift your hips off the floor so they are in line with the rest of your body and hold for up to 10 seconds. Maintain a straight line from your head to your knees. Slowly lower your hips back down to the floor.
3. Complete 5 repetitions and then switch to your other side and repeat the sequence on your other side.
1. Get on the floor on your hands and knees.
2. Raise your left arm and extend it forward as far as possible while at the same time lift your right leg and extending it straight behind your body…just like a pointer! Keep both the raised arm and leg parallel to the floor. Align you hips with your torso and do not tilt to one side.
3. Hold for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position.
4. Complete 5 repetitions and then switch to the other arm and leg and repeat the sequence to complete the exercise.
Here are some tips for keeping a healthy spine and back:
- Watch your posture while sitting
- Stand tall, do not slouch
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Exercise regularly
- Lift correctly
- Have a firm, supportive mattress
- Sleep on your back or side
- Quit smoking
- Consider a stand-up desk at work
- Keep moving, even when you have pain
Treating Back Pain
Chronic back pain can be challenging for doctors to treat. Fortunately, many conditions can be treated non-surgically by an orthopedic spine specialist.
Spine surgeons work with pain management specialized anesthesiologists as well as physiatrists, the practitioners of physical medicine and rehabilitation, to reduce the expression of symptoms with oral medications, injectable medications, and lifestyle modifications.
Some lifestyle changes you can make include:
- Physical therapy
- Daily exercise
- Follow an anti-inflammatory diet
- Use correct posture
- Lose some weight
- Wear the correct footwear
- Manage your stress level
- Try acupuncture
- Try CBD oil
If your back and spine pain continues after trying lifestyle changes you may need to follow up with additional treatments to determine what is causing the continued pain. These can include X-Rays, EMG, and MRIs. If some symptoms are more serious than others this may indicate a need for some form of spine surgery.
What To Do if You Injure Your Back
If you injure your back, the first thing to do is get plenty of rest. Anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, can help ease the pain. Applying heat and ice can help as well. If the pain continues for several days, travels down the leg, or is serious enough to restrict normal activities you should seek medical attention.
Recovery time and treatments vary, depending on the nature and severity of the injury.
Some common conditions of the spine that we treat for at AOA Orthopedic Specialists include:
- Lower Back Pain
- Herniated Disc
- Cervical Fracture
- Curvature of the Spine
- Ligament Injuries
- Repetitive Motion Injuries
See a complete list of spine conditions on the Spine Condition page of this website.
Some common procedures of spine surgery we perform at AOA Orthopedic Specialists include:
- Disc Replacement
- Slipped (Herniated) Disc Treatment
- Epidural Steroid Injection
- Posterior Lumbar Fusion
- Lumbar Surgery
- Spinal Cord Stimulation
- Sympathetic Nerve Block
See a complete list of spine surgery procedures on the Spine Condition page of this website.
Q: If I sustain a back injury, what should I do?
A: Get plenty of rest and take an anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen. Applying heat and ice can help as well. If the pain continues or you have a change in your bowel or urinary habits call your doctor right away.
Q: What can I do at my job to keep my back and spine strong?
A: Lots of back injuries happen on the job. If you have to lift heavy items, make sure that you do it properly. It is especially important to lift with your legs and not your back. Make sure that your chair, desk and office arrangements are ergonomically correct. Stand often and move around.
Q: How can I keep my back and spine strong if I am a Senior Citizen?
A: Weight training can restore the muscle loss that comes with aging. You can use free weights, a 2 lb. bag of sugar, or a liter of soft drink in each hand. Do arm raises and bicep curls to increase the muscle tone in your arms and back.
AOA Orthopedic Specialists has a variety of physicians on staff who have specialized expertise in all areas of orthopedic medicine including general orthopedics, foot and ankle, sports medicine, hand surgery, joint replacement and spine care. Check the menu on this page for a complete list of procedures.
If you need spinal care or spinal surgery in Dallas/Fort Worth email or contact us today. Our orthopedics service all of DFW area including Arlington, Irving, Midlothian, Cleburne, Joshua and Mansfield. Our experienced spinal care orthopedics will ensure that your time with us is stress free.
If you have an injury that requires emergency treatment, please call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room.