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Back pain is a problem that affects most of us at some point in our lives, but it is not always easy to identify the cause. If you suffered a back injury then the occurrence of your back pain is clear, but what if you have pain in your back for no apparent reason?

Suddenly got lower back pain?

Lower back pain can occur after doing heavy lifting or repetitive movements beyond your usual range, digging in the garden or clearing a garage for example could leave you feeling sore the next day with a noticeable lack of flexibility.

Lower back pain from performing activities that are strenuous often starts the next day and could last for 24-72 hours. If your back pain occurred whilst doing the activity then you may need to seek the attention of a registered physiotherapist, chiropractor or GP.

The general advice for muscular back pain is to perform gentle flexibility exercises and to keep active to encourage range of movement to return to the affected muscles.

Lower back stretch: Sit on a chair, lean forward and hug your knees, hold the stretch for 30 seconds, repeat if needed.

Spine mobility: On the floor, get on your hands and knees, slowly arch your back up towards ceiling and then down towards floor, repeat for a minute.

Had back pain for a while now?

Poor posture – Incorrect alignment of the spine, shoulders or pelvis can place additional strain on muscles leading to muscle spasms. Muscle spasms can be very painful when they occur and may concern you as they can last for a long time reducing your ability to perform daily tasks. Correcting posture through exercise may be the solution to reduce the possibility of spasms in muscles that are overloaded by strengthening weak muscle groups and increasing flexibility in tight muscle groups.

Muscle inflexibility – Tight, short or inflexible muscles reduce the range of movement in joints and often the opposing muscle group will be long or flexible. People who spend many hours using a computer tend to have short, tight chest muscles and long, flexible upper back muscles. Exercises that strengthen the upper back muscles and lengthen the chest muscles will help to improve posture in this instance.

Mis-aligned vertebrae – Sometimes back pain is not due to muscles and requires the attention of a chiropractor or osteopath to re-align vertebrae or ribs that have moved out of the correct anatomical position. These problems can occur simply from the position that you slept in or a movement that was out of your usual range.

Disc problem – Probably the issue that is most serious and requires careful care to ensure it is not made worse. A herniated or bulging disc can be extremely painful and debilitating and requires the attention of a GP, physiotherapist or highly qualified personal trainer. Developing more strength in the muscles that support the spine like the transverse abdominus can help to reduce the amount of pressure placed on the affected disc but as mentioned it is important to seek advice about the correct exercises from a professional as the problem could be exacerbated through incorrect treatment.

The good news is that back pain can be managed and often in a short amount of time it can be possible to reduce or even remove your back pain just by making some small changes to your body or the activities you perform. The best option to avoid back pain is to maintain good strength and flexibility through regular training.

Frank recommends:

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