The Bad Back Guy: Exercise, Back Pain, and Sciatica

by coachz on March 11, 2009

A Mayo Clinic study noted that, “Back pain ranks second only to headaches as the most frequent pain location. More than 65 million Americans experience low back pain every year. Four out of five adults will experience at least one bout of back pain at some time in their life.” There can be little doubt that the associated condition, sciatica, follows right behind, equally in frequency and just as debilitating.

Low back pain: Exercises to reduce pain

Fatigue, muscle strain, stress, injury and overuse are some of the principle causes of sciatica and lower back pain in adults. Continuous back pain and sciatica may be painful and, in some cases, cause temporary or even permanent disability. However, back pain and sciatica do not always signal a severe, unalterable injury or disease. In fact, in most instances, the pain, and it’s underlying condition, are very treatable. In most instances, treatment for back pain and sciatica, in the form of exercise and intelligent follow up, can return the back pain and sciatica sufferer to a healthy and active life in short order. Contrary to popular opinion, maintaining an active lifestyle, exercising often, and avoiding certain positions and situations is “just what the doctor ordered.” When it comes to avoiding and, when necessary, treating back pain and sciatica, activity, usually in the form of an intelligently designed exercise program along with an active lifestyle, will ward off and/or hasten the recovery of an individual suffering from most back injuries. Situations in which back injuries may manifest themselves, with the associated pain and disability, are much more prevalent in individuals living a more sedentary lifestyle. The active lifestyle and not “rest and relaxation” will effectively combat most situations in which injuries associated with back pain and sciatica occur. A sedentary individual will more often succumb to fatigue and stress, compared to the more active individual, and as noted above, fatigue and stress are two of the primary factors in back injury with its associated array of symptoms. Additionally, once injured, the active individual may return to normal activity much sooner than the inactive individual.

The fact is, most back pain, with its associated symptoms, including sciatica, will usually improve if the individual stays involved and active. As noted in a previous article, if the back pain and sciatica sufferer uses ice, to include the compression-ice brace when necessary, and avoids certain positions, sleeping on one’s side, with knees tucked and separated, significant relief is possible. Common sense strategies, such as avoiding activities that cause undue pain, at least until the pain has subsided, and prudent use of anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen-sodium and ibuprofen may help when absolutely necessary. Never, and I mean never, take narcotics for back pain, it is a short-term fix and the consequences are always disastrous! Taken over a long enough period of time, narcotics will lead to eventual loss of effectiveness and even dependence…addiction. I am not a physician and can only speak from personal experience but addictive medications are a lose-lose strategy…short term and long term.

Once acute pain subsides, the back pain and sciatica sufferer should begin a supervised exercise program, one that includes stretches and other personalized exercises designed for the individual and not simply copied from the nearest copying machine at the hospital or doctor’s office! Over a period of time, the exercise program should be enhanced and the level of difficulty increased in order to develop the supporting musculature of the spine, abdominal region and core, and the legs. The proper exercise program will ensure a more rapid and complete recovery, one that reduces the chance of re-injury and offsets the possibility of extending a temporary disability into a prolonged one. An individualized exercise program will ultimately return the individual to a normal, healthy, and pain free life sooner, and with fewer consequences, than the do-nothing approach so many seem predisposed to due to incorrect information, often the result of an incomplete and improper education as it relates to back pain and sciatica.

An exercise program focusing on back pain and sciatica does not have to be complicated or difficult and, once set up by a qualified professional, can be followed in the comfort of the individual’s own home. Significantly, pain itself sets up a sort of negative feedback loop in that, pain leads to fear of pain which leads to inactivity which leads to more pain, and so on! The back pain and sciatica sufferer must make every attempt to become active as soon as possible after the onset of pain. Like the pain negative feedback loop, a negative reaction, meaning an approach to pain leading to inactivity, leading to a loss of strength, muscle tone, flexibility, and overall conditioning, leading to more pain is inevitable. The loss of muscle tome and function may lead to further stress, strain, and injury. The whole process then feeds upon itself, again. A safe and sane exercise program is indeed the only answer for an individual suffering from back pain and sciatica.

The following are excellent programs leading to a pain free life for neck pain, back pain, and sciatica sufferers:

www.HowToStopSciatica.com

www.HowToStopSciatica.info

Good luck!

John P. J. Zajaros, Sr., “The Bad Back Guy”
216-712-6526
Skype: johnzajaros1
johnz@ultimatebadbackstrategies.com

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