Millions of people around the world are crying out for lower back pain relief. A high proportion of them are suffering from a person-generated, musculo-skeletal system dysfunction. That being the case, getting better by having someone do something to them is drawing a long bow. They have to do something to themselves. Once they grasp that concept, many – though not all – will start getting better.
For many of these people, rubbing, crunching, heating and vibrating the spot where it hurts is not providing the relief they are craving.
If it is, it's only because they keep going back for more treatment.
The only thing that relieves the pain is an anti-inflammatory drug, but they know that's not restoring poor function to good. They also know that under the pharmaceutical statute the condition is getting worse.
Most therapists overlook the underlying cause of the problem because their attention is intuitively focused on the spot where it hurts.
The X-rays show that there are bones in the lower back that are out of alignment. The therapeutic urge is usually to try and push them back into alignment.
However, without the cause of the movement of the bones is found and treated, the body in its wisdom will pull the bones back out of alignment, just in time for the next visit.
So what is the likely cause of the problem?
For a high proportion of people the problem stems from a pelvis that is out of alignment. When that happens the bones about it are automatically drawn out of alignment to keep the body in some semblance of balance. It's a bit like a house. When the foundation moves the bricks above it move, the walls crack.
The aim of treatment for lower back pain relief is to get the foundation – in this case the pelvis – squared up. When that happens there's a good chance the bones above the pelvis will be drawn back into better alignment. Pain is relieved.
Having gotten this far the next question is, 'What is it that causes the pelvis to move out of alignment?' The short answer is tight muscles attached to it, usually the hamstring, buttock and muscles in the groin area.
The next question is, 'What causes those muscles to tighten up?'
The short answer to that question is sitting down for years on end without a regular and systematic flexibility training program.
Sitting down looks easy, yet subtly, nanometre by nanometre muscles shorten. Muscles on one side of the body usually become shorter than muscles on the other side. Couple that with muscles through the body becoming weaker, it's almost inevitable that the pelvis and the bones above it will move out of alignment.
How do you know which muscles are tight?
If you can not sit up straight, with an 'S' shaped curve in your spine, close close in against a wall, legs straight out and pain free, your hamstrings are too tight.
If you can not sit up straight with your legs crossed and your hands clasped behind your back, your buttock muscles are too tight.
If you're lying face down on the floor with knees wide apart, your legs in the frog position and soles of the feet together, and you can not get your abdomen and toes to rest comfortably on the floor, the muscles in your groin area are too tight.
It is not a tough assignment for anyone to work out which muscles are too tight.
Tight muscles are not caused by a lack of rubbing, crunching, heating, vibrating or paracetamol, so using those therapeutic modalities to gain lower back pain relief is not the best way to treat the cause of the problem.
So what is the best way to get lower back pain relief? The simple answer is to start doing the exercises that loosen off the tight muscles around the pelvis and strengthen weak muscles throughout the body.
There are a number of flexibility exercises that you can do at home on the floor while you watch TV. For best effect it will take an hour or two each night for these muscles to gradually start loosing off. If it's taken 60,000 hours for these muscles to tighten up, would you be prepared to spend 100 hours over the next a couple of months to loosen them off?
Getting your body back to better alignment is not a particularly quick fix, but there again, it's a big ask expecting to fix in a few minutes something that has taken years to develop.
Neverheless, in a few days you may feel some relief. In a few weeks you'll feel much better. In a few months you'll be able to feel a real difference. You'll be able to sit up straighter. In fact the straighter you can sit, with an 'S' shaped curve in your lower spine, the higher the likelihood you'll have lower back pain relief.
There are four great body strengthening exercises that you can do at home – situps, pressups, squats and back arches. At the most, all up, they'll take you less than four minutes every second day. If you want to get better, just find the time. When you can do 20 situps, pressups and squats and a minute's worth of Superman back arches you'll probably be feeling better.
There are many strength exercises you can do in the gym. It's a known fact that the stronger people are the lower the risk of lower back pain.
The other enemy of the lower back is obesity. Once you weight more than 20Kg over your ideal weight, the chances of lower back pain increase exponentially.
In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and the more time you can spend loosing tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles the sooner you'll experience lower back pain relief. Do not ask what your therapist can do for you, ask what you can do for yourself.