The spine is amazing! It keeps us upright and it protects our spinal cord. All the bones or vertebrae in the spine along with the intervertebral discs form a column or channel around the spinal cord protecting it. The spinal cord is part of our central nervous system controlling the cells in the body. The central nervous system uses motor, reflex, and sensory neurons. These neurons control how we move, how our glands function, how we react to external stimulus. It is why we feel pain and respond to the temperature around us. Amazing right? That is why lower back pain or back pain can wreak such havoc.
Some Causes of Lower Back Pain
What’s unfortunate is that according to experts almost 80% of us will experience some type of back pain during our life.
Back pain can be the result of an injury or illness. However the cause of most lower back pain often times is unknown. Usually when someone has an injury the cause is obvious. Usually with an injury, the disc (the cushion between our vertebrae) becomes herniated or ruptured causing gel to leak which creates inflammation and pain.
With an illness like arthritis there is usually some type of degeneration wearing down the cartilage or sometimes creating bones spurs that leads to compression again creating inflammation and pain.
Remember, Inflammation is one of our body’s way of taking care of us. Inflammation tells our body a problem is going on and sends in its army to help.
If you are like me, and have had problems in the past with back pain, lower back pain, or sciatica pain. You may have known what caused your discomfort or not. When my lower back pain occurred, I knew what I had done. I definitely over did it physically creating an injury that lead to inflammation and pain. Rest, alternating ice and heat helped me out and it eventually went away. However, when I had the sciatica pain it just sort of appeared.
Areas of the Spine
Our spinal column corresponds to all the areas and glands throughout our body. Below is a list summarizing the symptoms one might experience and which are of the spine it relates to.
Cervical Vertebrae: Symptoms may include: Migraine, insomnia, dizziness, amnesia, numbness in facial nerves, ear inflammation, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, pustulence, tonsillitis cataracts, myopia, sore throat.
Thoracic Vertebrae: Symptoms may include: Swelling Thyroid, hardened neck muscles, stiff neck, pain in upper body nerves, numbness, lack of strength, tracheal inflammation, asthma, heart disease, liver disease, decreased stomach function, diabetes, allergies, inflamed kidneys, arthritis, rheumatism, hardening of the arteries, stone formation, apoplexy, decrease in immune system function.
Lumbar Vertebrae: Symptoms may include: Constipation, dysentery, hernia, varicose veins, period pains, sciatica, painful knees, difficulty in urinating, too-frequent urination, weak legs, painful soles of feet, uremia.
Sacrum: Symptoms may include: Different leg lengths, bladder inflammation, tilted womb, inflammation of the caccum, hemorrhoids, difficulties in getting pregnant.
Coccyx: Painful Tailbone
Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Spine
One of the most important things for keeping our spine healthy is making sure we stay hydrated. Dehydration can actually cause back pain because it dries out our discs. Our spine has discs within its structure located between the vertebrae to act as a cushion. Think of these discs as jelly donuts. These discs need water to stay moist allowing the body to maintain proper function and movement. Who wants to eat a dried out jelly donut?
If you don’t drink water and you have back pain, start drinking more water. In fact, experts say to drink half your weight in ounces of water each day, especially in warmer weather.
Eat for Health
What should you eat that offers the body super nutrition, helps to maintain a healthy weight and to reduce inflammation!
- Fruits and vegetables that are green and rich in color – carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, cherries, berries, grapes, pomegranate, watermelon, spinach, kale, broccoli
- Add some herbs to your dishes – basil, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, turmeric, garlic and onion
- Omega 3’s & Healthy Fats – chia seeds, flax seeds, olive oil, avocados, salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, black cod, tuna, and trout.
- Lean Proteins
Some foods can actually create more inflammation in the body. Below are some of the most commons foods that often create more problems. If you are not sure if any of these foods are creating more inflammation for you, try avoiding them for 3-4 weeks to see if you notice any improvement.
- Nightshade Vegetables – tomatoes, eggplant, white potatoes, and peppers.
- Processed foods, lunch meats, and fast foods.
- Dairy and gluten.
- White bread, pasta, rice, crackers, chips, pastries, sugary snacks.
- Sodas and sugary energy drinks.
- Fried Foods, Saturated Fats, and Hydrogenated Oils.
Exercise such as low impact aerobics, muscle building, and stretching have been very beneficial for those dealing with back pain. In fact, many pain experts feel that stretching and walking can help reduce chronic pain and may even prevent the pain from returning.
- Touch your Toes
- Knees to your Chest
- Piriformis Seated Stretch
- Cat and Cow
- Restful Pose
Remember to hold each stretch for 30 seconds
Exercise with the Chi Machine
The original chi machine was Invented by Dr. Inoue. It was designed to promote movement without placing undue stress on the spine. Its figure 8 movement allows the spine to move while staying relaxed.
Dr. Inoue said the Chi Machine was a great form of passive aerobic exercise. Its gentle oscillating movement stimulates circulation getting more blood to the muscles throughout the body including the spine, helping to relieve muscular aches, tension and pain.
Its rhythmic movement also stimulates the lymphatic system to assist with the elimination of toxins.
- Provides benefits similar to a massage.
- Since movement promotes circulation it can help hydrate the tissues in the body bringing blood, oxygen, and nutrients to them helping to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Its gentle motion of the diaphragm also promotes deep breathing allowing for the body to take in more oxygen to be carried elsewhere.
- Relaxes tight muscles and Relieves muscular aches, pain, and tension.
I used the Chi Machine to help with my sciatica pain and my husband used the Chi Machine to help him with his lower back pain resulting from a herniated disc.
Electrical Stimulation & Reflexology with the Electro Reflex Energizer
The Advanced Electro Reflex Energizer is the best of two worlds, electrical stimulation and reflexology / acupressure. It utilizes low-frequency electrical stimulation to massage the acupressure points in the bottom of your feet or hands stimulating and benefiting the whole body. It is able to be used on your hands or feet and comes with 6 Electro Pads similar to a TENS Unit to target large muscle groups throughout the body.
Reflexology promotes relaxation helping to alleviate stress and energy blockages that can be found throughout our organs, muscles, and tissues. Electrical Stimulation has been used to help target and relieve muscular tension, aches and pain. Many individuals have used the Advanced Electro Reflex Energizer to help with lower backache or pain, to help with any type of foot or hand pain including neuropathy, carpal tunnel, and plantar fasciitis. I use the Advanced ERE mostly on my hands and place the Electro Pads to target my neck and shoulders to help relieve my aches and pains from typing and reading.
Alternate Hot with Cold and use the FIR Pad
Usually when you have an injury they always recommend alternating periods of cold with ice with periods of heat. When I think of heat, I think of far infrared! Far Infrared is not a topical heat like a regular heating pad. Far infrared rays goes deep down (2-3 inches) into the tissues generating a gentle warmth allowing you to feel warm from the inside out! I love the SOQI Far Infrared Heating pad for helping reduce all sorts of muscle aches and pain. Far Infrared helps:
- Promotes circulation helping to reduce inflammation
- Promotes Relaxation.
- Helps reduce muscular aches, tension and twinges.
- Helps with back soreness and relaxes tight back muscles.
- Start drinking water by swapping out soda, energy drinks, and your 2nd and 3rd cup of coffee.
- Add a veggie at lunch and dinner and a Salad at dinner
- Snack on fruit instead of cookies, candy and cakes.
- Practice stretching morning, noon, and night and get up and walk around the office during the day.
- Use the Chi Machine & SOQI FIR Pad Daily (start out slow & support your knees).
- Lift, Stand and Sit Smart
- Supplements that offer support and relief for the structural system as well as Recover and Relief Essential Oil Blends from NSP are IF Relief, Everflex, Joint Support. I like to add 6 drops of the Recover Blend and 6 drops of the Relief Blend with 1 oz of the Enzyme Spray and spritz it on twice per day.
If you are interested in natural health and healthy living, join our 13 Week Challenge or Join one of our Wellness Programs!