The Lower Back Dilemma
By Paul Bunting

Lower back giving you problems? If yes then you are not alone. Lower back problems common amongst a great number of people. Having to endure the agony of chronic lower back pain can be enough to drive a person crazy. Instead of having to suffer through sleepless nights and a barrage of doctor visits you may want to consider some other options.

Let's take a closer look at the phrase "lower back problem." The key word here is "problem." For every problem that can happen, there is a solution. Sometimes a solution can be easy, while for some problems finding a solution can be an arduous process. If you are the one suffering from lower back pain it would be a comforting thought that the solution to your problem simple.

There are a few really simple, logical steps that you can take to figure out if your problem is self inflicted (you may not know that you are causing your own problem) or out of your control. Believe it or not most of the people suffering from lower back pain suffer as a result of their own actions. Below is a list of some of the common causes for low back pain, as well as solutions!

Poor Standing Posture

The way that you stand and walk has a direct impact on how your back will feel. It is extremely common to see people standing or walking with their shoulders slouched forward, like a hunchback. Walking, standing or sitting with your shoulders rolled forward takes the spine out of it's natural curve leaving the lower back to absorb all of the extra stress.

Over time this can, and usually will cause consistent lower back pain, not to mention the looking distorted in general. The solution to this problem is real simple. Make sure that you hold the shoulder blades together, and carry yourself in an erect posture. This ensures proper spine alignment, taking the stress off the lower back.

Poor sitting posture

Almost anybody who has ever had to sit down for any length of time is guilty of this. Poor posture while sitting goes something along the lines of slouching forward with the shoulders in front of the chest, sitting on the tailbone. Over time this has the potential to put a tremendous amount of pressure on the lower back and cause some serious problems. Those of you who work an office job chances are you know the feeling.

The solution here is the same as the standing posture solution. Keep your chest in front of your shoulders, with the pelvis rotated slightly back. The only dilemma here is that in order to break a habit like this a constant reminder is often needed. Once a habit is formed, often times it is really difficult to break. Asking a co-worker to remind you when you are sitting with bad posture can often times result in a pretty abrupt change. Or posting a note on any object on your desk (like a computer screen) can also be effective.

Presuming that you have corrected the behaviors that were causing the problem and the pain persists there are some exercises that can be done to strengthen the lower back. Strengthening the problem area often times will be enough prevent the problem from reoccurring. The best exercise that can be done to help strengthen the back is reverse sit-ups. To start with find a place where you have the space to lye down facing the floor comfortably. Fully extend the arms in front of the head so that you are fully stretched out. Then curl the head and feet towards the ceiling at the same time. This forces the lower back to contract, hence strengthening the muscle group over time. Repeat this on a daily basis and you should find that the back pain is a thing of the past.

Paul Bunting is a South Florida based personal fitness trainer. More information about services offered can be found at or


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