What are some causes of and solutions to lower back pain, stiffness, etc.?

Have recently noticed that my lower back is twinging when standing up or sitting down, and is mildly sore all the time. It doesn’t hurt much, and I’d like to keep it that way. What can I do or avoid doing to get rid of this?

See a good chiropractor and have him/her give you some advice. Sometimes it’s as easy as not slouching in chairs. Be sure to go to someone with a good reputation-- there are a lot of quacks out there.

The human mind. Do a search on Dr. Ron Sarno.

I meant Dr. John Sarno.

I had that same problem, and fixed it with Dr. Scholl’s Dynastep Sport Insert. I put them in my shoes, and my back stopped bothering me.

YMMV, I’m not a doctor, etc.

Bad advice, IMHO. These guys are addictive, as in the more they manipulate your back (and bank account), the more often you go back. I’m finally and thankfully free of these quacks (all SDMB chiros excepted of course, as I’m sure they are all reputable and responsible practicians).

There is an excellent video out there called “Say Goodbye To Back Pain”, which was put out in 1989. It’s a six week program of gentle to moderate back exercises and breathing exercises that will help you a lot. Read the reviews here. Note that the video has an overall 5-star rating.

I agree with Chefguy. For I have been there and done that… chiropractors could ease my pain for a few hours but it always came back. The ones I went to will “treat” you forever! As long as your insurance pays.

I finally went to an MD and he sent me for Physical Therapy… after a few weeks I was OK. Today I continue what the PT taught me. That has been 13 years ago. I also fast walk about 4 miles a day.

How long have you been smoking?

You might need to do some stretching. When mine flares up it is because of the muscles getting tight. There are a lot of stretching excersises that one can do to remedy this situation. Also a good abdominal workout will help with a bad back.

Simple method to fix simple back problems:

  1. Stand with your feet at about a 90 degree angle (whatever’s comfortable).
  2. Crouch down. Your thighs should touch your calves.
  3. Hold your arms in front of you, clasped together.
  4. Let your head droop.
  5. Hold the position for a minute or so.
  6. Get up gently.

This will fix most minor back pain. Try it.

For me the best “cure” for lower back pain was to strengthen my abdominal muscles. Now I do a minimum of 100 crunches three time a week while working out at the gym. I’ll also add lower back extensions once a week. It also helps to make a conscious effort to tighten your abs while standing as this will do a lot to support your lower back.

Start working out.

Mild exercize, build gradually, do NOT stand bent over.

Stand, squat or sit. The human spine is poorly engineered, and the low back takes the strain.

Be cognizant of your posture.

IF you continue to have problems, the doctors will offer you Flexoril. ask for something less expensive. Robaxin is older, much cheaper (especially as generic, methocarbamol) and works faster. (You have to take Flexoril for over 24 hours before it begins to work.) If your doctor offers Soma, be very careful. It will make you VERY sleepy.

Do you consume a lot of caffeine? When I was experiencing back pain from muscle strain (I was throwing a lot of pottery and spent many hours a day hunched over) cutting back on caffeine helped. or at least I thought it did. :slight_smile:

The Abs. They must be included in any lower back issue. Strengthening them is one key component in helping your lower back.

I have had occasions where I have seen a chiro, and my treatments usually lasted for 4-5 sessions, and then I was free of pain. I had been doing fine for the past two years, but last weekend I had sprained my back. Back to the chiro, and after my first session I was feeling quite better. Today will be my third session, and I anticipate only needing one or two more.

I have only seen one chiro, and I trust him. He has never been one to string me/my insurance company along. He often gives me certain excercises to do to assist in my recovery.

With the sprain, certain muscles are now trying to act as a splint on my back, and he recommends icing it and some stretches. When I go in, I’ll get some ultrasound treatment and some muscle stimulation via some sort of electrical stimulation.

All in all, I don’t understand the negativity leveled towards chiro’s.

Sure it is. In fact we wouldn’t need it if we didn’t walk upright, wouldn’t need arches on our feet either. The human body is remarkably well put together when you consider how uncommon major problems are.

As has been mentioned, losing your gut will provide relief. Also, watch how you sleep. If you can do it sleep flat on your back with pillows under your knees to keep the small of your back flat. Remember to lift with your knees and not your back.

A heating pad always works for me to provide reasonable short term relief of back stiffness.

Last but not least, here is a Pit thread about Chiropractic care: “We don’t subscribe to the germ theory.” I think the title says it all.

A good place to start is Chirobase, a Web site run by two M.D.s and a D.C.

The lead doc of Chirobase is the well-respected Stephen Barrett, M.D., who operates the Quackwatch Web site.

I used to suffer all the time with back aches and pain when I was young, I learnt about not bending my back when picking stuff up etc, end of problem - I wince when I see the way many people lift things, I know their back will remind them the next day.

A girl I know suffered back pain until she changed to a softer mattress, another girl found her favourite shoes, although they were flat heeled, made her back ache.

It could be any one of a number of things in your case, (or a combination) like a chair you use a lot.

I’m told the swiss-roll shape foam cushions work well, they look a bit odd and seem too small to make a difference, but apparently they support the small of the back enough when you’re sitting to help.

And yes, chiros give very short term results, in my experience.

My chiro gave me helpful PT exercises.

I found though that practicing Tai Chi helped immensely. I practice for about an hour a day. I don’t know if less would work as well or not. Exercise of some sort is always helpful.