2

votes

Natural solutions for a strained lower back

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 11, 2011 at 1:59 AM

So yesterday morning I lifted my not so little 11 month old the wrong way and Suddenly my lower back was spasming like crazy and I've been hobbling around hunched over for about 36 hours with little improvement from hot/cold therapy, a hot tub soak, stretching, and ibuprofen.

Is there anything dietary or natural I can do to help this or at least prevent it from happening again? Obviously don't lift him wrong and more core exercises...

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on December 09, 2011
at 12:53 AM

I'm another super flexible one. I've found much more back pain relief by consistently taking pilates classes. Chiro can help with the acute pain and get you a little straighter, but if you can't HOLD the alignment, it's a waste of time. And I'm quite sure some of the adjustments I've had on my neck were a lot more dangerous than they were helpful.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 05:31 PM

edrice, you make a valid point. My advice would be good during Ashley's healing process to avoid re-injury and increased swelling, etc., but once she heals moving may be good not bad.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:12 PM

Well, that's the reason I brought this up. If you have a specific issue, then the general advice - don't bend, twist, flex or rotate, is not going to be good advice in most instances. Most back specialists will have you bending, twisting, flexing and rotating.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 05:30 AM

Aren't we lucky, Kamal? I've had some issues because of the excessive flexibility, but now that I've reached my 60s I move around better than 9 out of 10 people.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 05:01 AM

Edrice, I'm not saying what's true for you, I'm explaining what's true for me. You said I need a new specialist and I'm saying he was right in his advice FOR ME. Obviously we have different issues. :-))

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 11, 2011
at 04:54 AM

Nance, have to disagree with you on this one. I'm 65 and am gradually increasing range of motion and lengthening muscles that got too short causing back injuries and sciatica. I am more flexible now than I was a few years ago and feeling much better.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 04:47 AM

Nope! Edrice, the opposite is true and it's already later--I am 64. I have too much range of motion in my spine and most joints. I even have better-than-normal range of motion in my neck after a cervical fusion. Just call me Gumby.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 04:31 AM

Nope! The opposite is true. I have too much range of motion in my spine and most joints. I even have better-than-normal range of motion in my neck after a cervical fusion. Just call me Gumby.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 11, 2011
at 04:10 AM

Nance, you need a new specialist. If you don't bend, twist, flex or rotate you will have a gradually diminshing range of motion which will lead to shortened muscles and all sorts of musculo-skeletal isuues and pain later.

C5b447814db8490d9b529bd87ddf2d60

(198)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:57 AM

As for inflammation, ice is your best friend. Direct ice is best (5 minutes), but ice over a shirt for 20 is good too. advil/ibprofin can reduce the inflammation and pain due to it, but i've heard from another physical therapist that those can also lengthen recovery time. His argument boiled down to inflammation is your body's way of telling you to slow down while it heals itself. If you use advil it will reduce the inflammation, but in return it also slows down your body's ability to heal itself. He strongly recommended direct ice for 5 minutes at least twice a day.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:55 AM

(also, i've had similar chiro experiences as you)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:54 AM

Nance! I've got pathological hypermobility, and several doctors have strictly warned against chiropractic for me. In this case, I have a feeling conventional wisdom is on to something.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:48 AM

Chiropractors hate me; I have abnormal mobility in my back, so they put me in place and by the time I get home it slides back out. I have to rely on muscles to hold everything together and, as I said above, "whole body" movements.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:43 AM

Guess we were typing essentially the same thing at the same time nance :)

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:42 AM

I've been to a chiro occasionally, and you will certainly get some immediate relief. From there, you can then stretch, walk and rehab on your own.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:39 AM

Make sure you use a good "squat" technique when lifting that kiddo! Keep him in front of you and close to your body. Good luck...I got two young kids and its PAINFUL to be hurt when they need attention.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Yeah, I had the same problem! When you lift him, you can still try to avoid a lot of twisting and bending; learn to squat and lift, turn your whole body instead of twisting your spine, etc. Think "whole body" movements instead of the more automatic flexible ones, at least until your back is rested and healed.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:32 AM

Kinda hard to avoid lifting when I'm home alone with my baby all day but I'll take your advice on the walking and take him to the park in the stroller instead of the sling tomorrow. Hahaha

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12 Answers

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3
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:08 AM

As my back specialist once told me, "Don't bend, twist, flex or rotate." "Don't lift anything heavier than a 2-liter."

I asked, "What does that leave?" And he said, "Walk, walk, walk! 5 miles per day."

For an acute sprain with swelling, either a heating pad or ice pack may help. A pillow under your knees (lying on your back) or between your knees (on your side) will take the pressure off your back and help the muscles relax. A thin pillow under your stomach while lying on your stomach can give pain relief because it takes pressure off some nerves.

I don't always honor his "don'ts" but I can confirm that the walking helps. There's a standard set of exercises for lower back issues that is easily found on the web.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:39 AM

Make sure you use a good "squat" technique when lifting that kiddo! Keep him in front of you and close to your body. Good luck...I got two young kids and its PAINFUL to be hurt when they need attention.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:32 AM

Kinda hard to avoid lifting when I'm home alone with my baby all day but I'll take your advice on the walking and take him to the park in the stroller instead of the sling tomorrow. Hahaha

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 04:47 AM

Nope! Edrice, the opposite is true and it's already later--I am 64. I have too much range of motion in my spine and most joints. I even have better-than-normal range of motion in my neck after a cervical fusion. Just call me Gumby.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 05:31 PM

edrice, you make a valid point. My advice would be good during Ashley's healing process to avoid re-injury and increased swelling, etc., but once she heals moving may be good not bad.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:12 PM

Well, that's the reason I brought this up. If you have a specific issue, then the general advice - don't bend, twist, flex or rotate, is not going to be good advice in most instances. Most back specialists will have you bending, twisting, flexing and rotating.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Yeah, I had the same problem! When you lift him, you can still try to avoid a lot of twisting and bending; learn to squat and lift, turn your whole body instead of twisting your spine, etc. Think "whole body" movements instead of the more automatic flexible ones, at least until your back is rested and healed.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 11, 2011
at 04:10 AM

Nance, you need a new specialist. If you don't bend, twist, flex or rotate you will have a gradually diminshing range of motion which will lead to shortened muscles and all sorts of musculo-skeletal isuues and pain later.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 11, 2011
at 04:54 AM

Nance, have to disagree with you on this one. I'm 65 and am gradually increasing range of motion and lengthening muscles that got too short causing back injuries and sciatica. I am more flexible now than I was a few years ago and feeling much better.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:43 AM

Guess we were typing essentially the same thing at the same time nance :)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 05:01 AM

Edrice, I'm not saying what's true for you, I'm explaining what's true for me. You said I need a new specialist and I'm saying he was right in his advice FOR ME. Obviously we have different issues. :-))

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 04:31 AM

Nope! The opposite is true. I have too much range of motion in my spine and most joints. I even have better-than-normal range of motion in my neck after a cervical fusion. Just call me Gumby.

4
F1b82cc7e6d90384ad30007dd6c1b9e3

(1187)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:39 AM

I'm a chiropractor. no reason to wait a minute longer, make an appointment

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:42 AM

I've been to a chiro occasionally, and you will certainly get some immediate relief. From there, you can then stretch, walk and rehab on your own.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:54 AM

Nance! I've got pathological hypermobility, and several doctors have strictly warned against chiropractic for me. In this case, I have a feeling conventional wisdom is on to something.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 05:30 AM

Aren't we lucky, Kamal? I've had some issues because of the excessive flexibility, but now that I've reached my 60s I move around better than 9 out of 10 people.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:55 AM

(also, i've had similar chiro experiences as you)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:48 AM

Chiropractors hate me; I have abnormal mobility in my back, so they put me in place and by the time I get home it slides back out. I have to rely on muscles to hold everything together and, as I said above, "whole body" movements.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on December 09, 2011
at 12:53 AM

I'm another super flexible one. I've found much more back pain relief by consistently taking pilates classes. Chiro can help with the acute pain and get you a little straighter, but if you can't HOLD the alignment, it's a waste of time. And I'm quite sure some of the adjustments I've had on my neck were a lot more dangerous than they were helpful.

1
357a20e8c56e69d6f9734d23ef9517e8

on November 11, 2011
at 06:14 PM

after it heals, get a competent coach and take up deadlifting.

1
Medium avatar

on November 11, 2011
at 04:56 AM

Keep going with hot/cold alternation, and then, when the time is apt, get the right kind of bodywork. "Right" depending on many, many factors not currently part of the discussion.

But, for now, lay low and don't exacerbate.

1
D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on November 11, 2011
at 03:44 AM

I recently tweaked something and found that some Cal-Mag-D as an ingested supplement, along with epsom salts (magnesium sulfat) in a hot bath did a lot to relieve my pain. Good luck! Being pain-immobile with a young one is super challenging (I know 'cause I was trying to corral my almost two year old as well!).

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 11, 2011
at 02:36 AM

I consider seeing a chiropractor "natural" as your not going to get anything put into or taken out of your system that is not already there. Could save you a whole lot of pain and aid in better healing.

But, I'm guessing you are looking for some things to do at home. In that case, once your injured you need TIME more than anything. The healing process is going to take time. What you do in that time has a great effect on how quickly AND completely healing occurs.

Getting normal motion back into the area as quickly as possible provides the best results to inhibit scar tissue formation and promote healing. Other than that for the first few days to week try not to do anything to exacerbate it. Work to the pain but not through it when stretching or moving. Like nance said walking CAN be terrific, but that kind of depends on how bad you are. At your stage you could likely start alternating heat/ice/heat for 20/10/20. If your not improving after a week then you may need to make an appointment.

0
D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on December 09, 2011
at 12:56 AM

AshleyRoz, are you still nursing? Sometimes those mama hormones keep things very loose. You might want to consider some physical therapy or gentle pilates to get your core engaging well so you're safer. Ice is indeed your friend, and make sure it's cold - none of those soft reusable packs.

And I don't buy into homeopathy, but I swear some arnica preparations help.

0
8aa3fa60c0a3151b0047f6733b7dabe6

on November 11, 2011
at 11:26 PM

I have had lower back issues for years. I used the McKenzie Method (http://www.mckenziemdt.org/approach.cfm?section=int) to successfully treat lower back pain and now use it for maintenance.

It is based on very simple extensions which are repeated on a schedule. It is very effective and simple and you can do it yourself.

0
27361737e33ba2f73ab3c25d2699ad61

(1880)

on November 11, 2011
at 05:45 PM

Tui Na Massage plus acupuncture.

0
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on November 11, 2011
at 01:17 PM

For the future: Make sure your C, Zinc, and A are dialed in for repair. Protein/gelatin, too!

I noticed a significant increase in the speed of my healing after I started supplementing with 50 mg zinc picolinate to correct a long-standing deficiency.

0
C5b447814db8490d9b529bd87ddf2d60

(198)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:49 AM

I hurt my back about a year ago falling down the stairs. Different injury as it wasn't related to lifting. (Before I fell down the stairs I was deadlifting greater than double my body weight). I didn't wait long enough to fully recover and got back into the gym to early. I also tried to pick up from where I left off before the injury and ended up straining my back even more.

Acupuncture helped me almost immediately. In addition, I've been doing physical therapy for the last 2 months. Half way through I noticed immediate improvements. It was a combination of stretches, massage, and simple exercises that helped rebuild injured muscles. I'm slowly making my way back into the gym now and am feeling pretty good again. As I got to chat with the therapist, many of the back injuries she said she sees are related to weak backs rather than trauma, like my case.

I'm not an expert or doctor, but this sounds like a case of a weak back to me. Time will heal your back; however, without proper exercise and strength training, your muscles will continue to atrophy. You will be likely to hurt yourself again and require regularly seeing a chiropractor/acupuncturist.

Physical therapy can be particularly useful as they can help assess where you are weak and provide exercises and stretches to strengthen yourself. As you recover and get stronger, you should start doing exercises like backsquats and deadlifts (under proper supervision!) to build stronger muscles in your back, legs and core. This will help prevent future injuries.

C5b447814db8490d9b529bd87ddf2d60

(198)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:57 AM

As for inflammation, ice is your best friend. Direct ice is best (5 minutes), but ice over a shirt for 20 is good too. advil/ibprofin can reduce the inflammation and pain due to it, but i've heard from another physical therapist that those can also lengthen recovery time. His argument boiled down to inflammation is your body's way of telling you to slow down while it heals itself. If you use advil it will reduce the inflammation, but in return it also slows down your body's ability to heal itself. He strongly recommended direct ice for 5 minutes at least twice a day.

-2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 27, 2013
at 01:10 AM

I'm making a video on it here, check it out

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