Lumbar spine pain is one of the most common reasons patients seek chiropractic care. It affects the lower back, making everyday tasks such as driving, sitting in an office chair, or simply bending over quite uncomfortable. Living with chronic lumbar spine pain can significantly impact your quality of life. There are many different causes of this type of back ailment, but with the right lumbar spine exercises and chiropractic treatment, you can reclaim a pain-free life. The best thing about these lower back stretches is that they're easy to complete at home and don't take much time.
At ChiroCare of Florida, our doctors help countless patients find relief from back, neck, joint, and muscle pain. We make it simple to get the chiropractic care you need with nine locations throughout South Florida, extended evening hours, and weekend appointments available by request. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at a location near you.
Keep reading to learn more about the lumbar spine and causes of pain, the anatomy of your lower back, how chiropractic care can help alleviate pain, and lumbar spine exercises and stretches that you can start using today.
What Is the Lumbar Spine?
The lumbar spine consists of the five lowest vertebrae in your spinal column. It's right between your ribs and your pelvis and controls the motion and flexibility of your lower back. It bears a significant amount of your body's weight, supports your torso and upper body, and helps transfer weight to your legs. Additionally, this portion of your back is responsible for carrying the load when bending over and lifting or carrying objects. It allows you to twist and turn your torso and so much more.
Causes of Lumbar Spine Pain
Lumbar spine pain affects millions of Americans each year. For some, the pain is temporary, resulting from a strain or injury. For others, it's a chronic condition that worsens over time or seems to come back again and again. While the lumbar spine comprises those lower five vertebrae, pain in the area can arise from damage to the surrounding soft tissue, nerve endings, discs, and more.
Each vertebra has a soft tissue disc between the bone, which provides a cushion effect. These discs allow your spine to move smoothly without friction or pain. However, these discs can degenerate from wear and tear or injury over time. When this happens, the vertebrae can become compressed or strained, which leads to pain. Damage to the surrounding muscles or tissue in your lower back can also cause pain in the area, as can other chronic medical conditions.
The most common causes of lumbar spine pain include:
- Overuse–those who perform manual labor or participate in repetitive activities that strain the lower back, such as bending over or frequently lifting heavy objects, are more likely to suffer from lower back pain.
- Arthritis– this chronic form of joint inflammation can aggravate the lower vertebrae and cause pain in the area.
- Muscle strain–whether from athletics or everyday chores, straining the muscles in your lower back can lead to problems with the lumbar spine.
- Poor posture–those who slouch or hunch over a steering wheel or keyboard frequently report lower back pain.
- Improper lower back support–from old mattresses to uncomfortable office chairs, lack of support for the lower spine often contributes to this type of pain.
- Serious medical conditions– spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal), degenerating discs, spondylolisthesis (when one vertebra slips forward over another), and structural problems of the spine, such as sclerosis, can lead to lumbar spine pain.
- Injury–sports injuries, injuries on the job, slips, falls, and more can cause damage and pain in the area.
Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine
Understanding your spine anatomy can help better explain lower back pain and what you can do to address the problem. Your spine has a natural curve that resembles the letter "S." The bottom of that "S" is where your lumbar spine is located–it makes up the portion that looks like a backward "C." It has five vertebrae, medically referred to as L1-L5. These first five vertebrae are the largest out of your entire spinal column.
This part of your spine has countless nerves and nerve endings that connect to other crucial parts of your lower body. These nerves extend to areas including a woman's uterus and the reproductive organs in both sexes. Additionally, the large intestine, buttons, groin, colon, knees, and upper legs all have nerve connections to these vertebrae. That makes it one of the most essential components of your back and overall health.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help
If you're experiencing lumbar spine pain, a chiropractor can help you find relief. There are several treatment methods to address the pain effectively. Some of these techniques include physical therapy, manual spine adjustments, or instrument-assisted therapies that target soft tissue injuries. Additionally, our experienced chiropractors can teach you lumbar spine exercises to complete on your own in-between visits that can help lessen pain and strengthen your back.
When you seek treatment for lumbar spine pain, you can improve your quality of life. You'll notice less lower back pain throughout therapy, improved range of motion and mobility, better flexibility, and more. Most importantly, you can help ensure that your pain resolves for good, and you'll know where to turn if the condition re-emerges in the future.
Lumbar Spine and Lower Back Stretches
Lumbar spine stretches can do more than help relieve pain. They can also help you rebuild strength, preventing the pain from recurring. Before beginning any stretching or exercise regimen, it's vital to seek the advice and approval of a chiropractor or other medical professional. If you have a severe injury, improperly performing lumbar spine exercises may worsen your condition.
Some of the most popular lumbar spine exercises and stretches include traditional yoga poses, such as the child's pose. In child's pose, sit with your hands and knees on the ground and rest your hips on your heels. Fold forward at the hip, stretch your hands out in front of you, and rest your stomach on your upper legs. Hold the position for up to one minute or as long as you feel comfortable. This will help relieve tension and stress in the area and promote circulation.
You can also lay flat on the floor on your back and bring your knees gently to your chest. Do this one leg at a time, holding each knee at your chest for approximately 30-seconds before alternating.
Another excellent lumbar spine stretch is what we call the seated spinal twist. Extend your legs out in front of you on the floor and bend your left knee, lifting it and placing your foot on the outside of your right thigh. Bring your right arm to the outside of your left thigh and use the base of your spine to twist your body to the left side. Hold for 30-seconds.
Our final favorite lumbar spine stretch is the sphinx stretch, and it's one of the easiest to complete. Simply lay on your stomach with your elbows aligned beneath your shoulders and your hands stretched out in front of you. Lift your head and chest off the ground while keeping your hips, legs, and feet touching the floor. Keep your head lifted and looking straight ahead as you push through your pelvis and hold for 30-seconds.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you're experiencing lumbar spine pain, schedule an appointment at a ChiroCare of Florida office near you today. We'll perform a comprehensive physical evaluation of your back and body, review your medical history, and discuss your treatment goals. Ultimately, our chiropractors will help form a customized plan to help you on the path to recovery.
We'll perform in-office services to address pain and teach you lumbar spine stretches and exercises that you can utilize between appointments to feel better. Call (877) 388-2165 to schedule an appointment today.