Lower Back Pain: Who Gets It And Why?

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Lower back pain is such a common affliction that, according to the NIH (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases), nearly 8 in 10 Americans are affected at some point in their lives.

Along with acute or chronic pain, symptoms can include limited flexibility and range of motion, as well as an inability to stand up straight. The likelihood that you will experience low back pain can be increased by such factors as getting older, smoking habits, poor physical fitness, being overweight, or even your heredity.

Low back pain has many causes, and can sometimes be attributed to damage in the skeletal structure such as disk breakdown or ruptured disks. Certain medical conditions affecting the spine such as scoliosis, arthritis, spinal stenosis, and fibromyalgia can also result in back pain. Sometimes, back pain is not caused by damage to the spine itself, but to the surrounding muscles and soft tissue. Sports injuries, car accidents, or heavy lifting can all result in trauma to the muscles of the back. People who experience chronic lower back pain may also be able to attribute it to habits in their daily life, such as poor posture, anxiety and stress, or long hours sitting at a desk.

Back Pain Relief–Massage Helps

When over-the-counter painkillers and bed rest don’t do much to resolve your pain, and surgery is not an option, it can be hard to decide what to do next. If what you’ve been doing for weeks or even months is not working, then stop. Chances are very good that you still have more options, and there’s no need to cling to that ineffective treatment because you’ve already “tried everything.”

Paul Ingraham, retired massage therapist and science writer for ScienceBasedMedicine.org cites in his book Save Yourself from Low Back Pain that stress reduction is one of the simplest and most underestimated ways to begin reducing your back pain. He believes that there are many things you can do at home before you need to begin spending time and money seeing professionals. His bottom line: do what works for you. Some suggestions he lists in his book are:

  • choosing to do as much normal, moderate intensity activity as possible even during a flare-up;
  • mobilization exercises;
  • yoga or stretching;
  • fixing insomnia;
  • reducing postural strain by upgrading your workstation ergonomics;
  • avoiding extremes of tissue exertion or stagnation.

If you still want to seek professional help, Paul Ingraham suggests finding a massage therapist that you trust and who provides effective treatment for your pain. He cites Trigger Point Therapy as one of the most effective modalities in resolving low back pain.

He writes, “do not be afraid to try many different therapists if you haven’t already, but always be quick to stop wasting your time and money on any professional who perpetuates myths or one-true-cause theories, makes big promises, or shows a lack of respect for your preferences.”

Remember, there are always options when it comes to finding the best solution for you to resolve your pain. You can speak with any of Balance’s talented therapists about trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage, or the many other ways they can help you. All of our therapists work together as a team in order to find the best possible way to get you out of pain.


NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Save Yourself from Low Back Pain by Paul Ingraham

Image credit: Samantha Evans Photography

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