Help for Low Back Pain
Remember the last time you sat down on the couch to watch TV and a few hours passed before you stood up? When you finally got off the couch, did you feel stiff? Achy? Sore in your lower back? Hopefully, when you got up and moved around a little it quickly went away. But sometimes after sitting for prolonged periods, we might find that the stiffness lasts longer and is more uncomfortable.
We already know that lack of movement and physical activity can lead to weight gain. But it can also result in bad moods, achy joints, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Moving our bodies and staying physically active is critical for our physical health, stamina, mental health, and feelings of well-being.
Our musculoskeletal system gives your body form and provides it with strength, support, and flexibility. It enables a range of movements from standing upright to bending, twisting, and crouching, making it possible for you to move and do the things you enjoy. Keeping this vital system strong is essential for a full and active life. Unfortunately, many of us suffer from issues with our musculoskeletal system such as back pain, neck pain, joint pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis causing us discomfort and in some cases disability.
So, how do we take care of our musculoskeletal system and what do we do if we start to experience pain?
To answer these questions, I contacted my friend, Virgilio C Castillo, DC, CCSP at Chicago Sports and Chiro, who has over 20 years of experience and a specialty in sports medicine. Dr. Castillo practices a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care and follows three guiding principles for helping his patients reach their goals: Reset, Reinforce, and Retrain. These principles help Dr. Castillo’s patients relieve pain, maintain efficient, healthy movement patterns, and reduce the chance of future painful episodes. In addition to his expertise in spinal manipulation, he has broad diagnostic skills and is trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises. Here’s what he had to say:
Taking care of our musculoskeletal health and preventing pain and injury begins with good nutrition, adequate hydration, and healthy habits such as a good diet, regular rest, and physical activity. Equally important are good posture and movement techniques as well as optimal ergonomics of our work and home environments.
Still, approximately 80% of Americans will experience some form of low back pain during their lifetime, often from muscle overuse or misuse or joint dysfunction. And this pain can be so debilitating that it prevents us from doing basic activities and keeps us home from work.
Dr. Castillo’s tip to help ease the symptoms of low back pain? Stretching. Stretching can help loosen your muscles, reducing muscular tension and relieving some pain. Stretches that address all parts and sides of the body should be done and held for 2 cycles of deep breaths. There are many ways to stretch muscles but be mindful that the stretches do not recreate pain in the lower back. Listen to your body, go slowly avoiding any sudden movements and after stretching take it easy, do not overwork your body. If pain does happen while stretching, get the issue evaluated, or else stretching could possibly make things worse.
Here are some stretches to try:
Knee to Chest Stretch
Child’s Pose Try the variation of child's pose with your knees wide apart to add a groin stretch.
Supine hamstring stretch
Supine Figure 4 Stretch
If you are experiencing low back pain and want to see Dr. Castillo for a consultation and evaluation, he can be reached at email@example.com or by phone/text at (773) 270-2001. He is located at Chicago Sports & Chiro inside BASH Sports Academy at 2617 W Fletcher Street in Chicago. Fun fact - Dr. Castillo has been involved in sports his entire life, particularly tennis and martial arts (he has a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do). He played competitive tennis throughout high school and college and has taught and coached tennis for 30 years. In addition to providing high-quality chiropractic care, Dr. Castillo can be found at McFetridge Sports Center teaching and coaching tennis!