The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lower Back Pain and African Americans - Top 3 Things To Do (and Not Do)

African American With Back Pain

Most everyone experiences back pain, particularly in the lower back area. But what most people don't realize is that other areas of the body can also trigger lower back pain. With some simple lifestyle changes and exercises, much of the pain can be either prevented or alleviated when it occurs. Here are the top three things to do (and not do):

DO - Maintain strength and flexibility to reduce the occurrence of lower back pain. Stretching exercises will keep muscles and surrounding tissue flexible and strong. The spine is much better supported when the stomach, back and leg muscles are strong. Aerobic exercise can keep all muscles in good shape, and stretching keeps the muscles and surrounding tissue flexible. Aerobic exercises can include simple walking or swimming, or yoga.

DON'T - try exercises that add pressure to the spinal discs. Avoid lifting heavy weights above the waist, touching your toes while standing and straight leg sit-ups.

DO - sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees.

DON'T - slouch. Sit straight with your hips forward and feet flat on the floor. Poor posture can cause back pain.

DO - use ice and heat applications for pain, alternating days between each, allowing about 20 minutes a couple times a day.

DON'T - wait for the pain to go away. Exercise when you have pain with gentle stretching and aerobic exercises. Lying or sitting still is the worst thing to do.

Good exercises include: lie flat with your back pressed to the floor, one knee bent, raise the other knee to the chest and then lower, then repeat with the other leg; start on your hands and knees, tighten your stomach muscles, lift and extend one leg behind you, keeping the hips level, hold for 5 seconds, and then switch to the other leg. These are just two good back-strengthening exercises.

Ask your doctor about over-the-counter or prescription pain killers that might help, or other treatments such as massage therapy. But most importantly, stretching and strengthening your stomach, back, and leg muscles helps make them less susceptible to injury that can cause back pain.
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.
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