Lower back stiffness is characterized by a dull and nagging sensation in your lower back. It usually gets worse in cold and damp weather and when the blood circulation is slow, such as in the morning.
Lower back stiffness can really make you feel old. Every time you bend over you have to rise back up slowly and it hurts. To get up from bed you have to roll sideways and you can’t enjoy your favorite sports without feeling stiff for the next 2-3 days.
6 Common Causes for Lower Back Stiffness
To permanently cure any health problem, and especially lower back pain, you have to dig deep and find the root cause of your low back stiffness. You have to do it yourself, because most doctors won’t do it for you, unfortunately.
Here are a few possible causes for your back problems:
#1 – Lack of Physical Activity
Lack of physical activity weakens your core muscles, which support your spine. A spine that is not properly supported is easily susceptible to injuries, such as strains, pinched nerves, disc bulges and herniated discs.
Exercising on a daily basis (especially walking while swinging your arms) is a great way to get the blood flowing, increase circulation (this is what a hot shower does and why it relieves your pain), release those feel-good endorphins, and help clear nasty toxins from the body. Be sure to clear any other exercise with your doctor.
#2 – Bad Posture
If your job requires that you bend over your desk with a bad posture, this may cause lower back pain in the morning and all through the day. Also, sitting most of the day makes your core muscles “sleepy”.
When the core muscles do not support the spine properly, damage to the discs in your spine can easily occur. This damage is known as a disc bulge, or worse – Disc herniation.
Your body goes into a state of panic and tightens all the muscles in your lower back so you won’t be able to move and cause MORE damage.
The obvious solution is to strengthen your core muscles through core exercises. Be aware, core exercises are not just random stretches. Stretches are probably not a good idea because they fight the body’s defense mechanism (which is why your back is stiff). Instead, a better idea is doing stabilizing core exercises, as demonstrated Here.
#3 – Bad Mattress
A poor mattress supports poor sleeping posture and strains muscles, leaving the body to attempt to realign and regain stability when you get moving. At this time the body may experience aches and discomfort as it attempts to readjust and function in proper alignment.
There is no one mattress that is the perfect fit for all. Personal preference in this matter goes a long way. The best mattress for you would likely be the mattress that offers the most support to the strained area while being comfortable enough to get a good nights’ sleep.
For lower back stiffness, a medium firm mattress is usually recommended.
#4 – Sleep Posture
A poor sleeping posture can lock your body in a bad position for hours, causing reduced blood flow to the local muscles, and a buildup of lactic acid, causing stiffness.
Try to sleep either on your side or on your back—as stomach sleeping causes unnecessary stress on the low back and spine.
#5 – Being Overweight/Poor diet
Being overweight causes you to carry unnecessary poundage, which puts strain on your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
A poor diet is usually high in simple carbohydrates which cause weak muscles, bad posture and lethargy.
Most of us know by now all about healthy eating. You don’t have to start an official diet or even count calories. Just do your best to eat less junk and healthier food. Replace your snacks with healthy snacks and have as much fruits and vegetables as you can.
#6 – Cold/Damp environment
Living or working in cold or damp environment causes your low back muscles to stiffen because the cold or damp affects the blood flow throughout the body.
If your bedroom is drafty, seal the windows or door. If it is cold, try a space heater or using extra blankets to prevent that cold or dampness from stiffening your body. The same goes for any room you spend a lot of time in.
First Aid for Low Back Stiffness – Fast Pain Relief
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, is that the first step for any type of healing starts with pain relief. Who can thing about underlying causes and long term cure when you are aching all over, right?
And while most people reach for muscle relaxants like Motrin and pain relievers like Aleve to get them going, you don’t need to (If you need a reminder about the dangers of back pain medication – Here it is)
4 Natural and Effective Ways to Relieve Your Stiff Back – Right Now
1. Hot Shower – A hot shower serves as a means to induce sweating, promote blood circulation and release muscle spasms. Simply stand under the hot water and… relax.
2. Massage – You can either try to massage the stiff area yourself or ask someone else to do that for you. If there’s no one around, a trigger-point foam roller is an excellent solution. You lie flat on the foam roller and move back and forth while the little trigger points massage and relax your lower back in just minutes. I highly recommend the Grid Foam Roller for this purpose.
3. Infrared Heating Pad – Notice the “Infrared” part of the sentence please. An infrared heating pad is way superior to the regular heating pad because the infrared rays penetrate deeper into your tissues and promote the healing of the area, not just relieve the pain (very effectively I should add…). If you haven’t heard about this natural pain relief method, it’s time to find out.
4. Damage Control Exercises – After a hot shower, do some gentle knee bends. As far as you can go without falling. This exercise works almost 90% of the skeletal muscles. Find a counter or a chair for support, then exhale and squat as low as you can, then inhale and stand up again. Try to do 10 of these.
Don’t let morning stiffness cut your day short, by starting it later or by debilitating you to a point you can’t function normally in your life. There ARE natural solutions and making a few lifestyle changes will not only stop your low back stiffness, but prevent it from becoming an ongoing, painful and debilitating back pain.
To your health and happiness,
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