Most of the population will experience low back pain at some point in the lifespan. Fortunately, with correct management an acute bout of low back pain will resolve within a few weeks.
What triggers it?
Your lumbar spine is made up of 5 very strong vertebrae separated by a strong soft tissue called discs. The vertebra, discs, muscles, ligaments and tendons work together to make sure your back really strong.
At times lower back pain can be completely spontaneous without a trigger. However, most of the time our backs are ‘overloaded’, perhaps by sitting for a long time or perhaps by lifting too heavy too soon.
When you ‘overload’ your back you place too much stress on these tissues. When too much stress is placed on the tissues it can cause inflammation and a pain response. This pain response can be worse for your lower back because it is an essential part of fundamental movement.
How long will it last?
The natural healing time for these structures is 4-6 weeks and exercising is a key element to this. Remember motion is lotion, if you sit for long periods you will stiffen up quickly. If you stiffen up and do not get moving you will get weaker which can lead to more problems down the track.
Ensure you do not sit for long periods of time.
Ideally you would not sit for more than 20 minutes and be walking very often to help ‘loosen’ up the painful structures.
When exercising it is important to find the exercises that do not cause you pain. Once you can perform a gentle stretching routine without pain you can progress. This includes some body weight strengthening exercise. By week 6 you should be lifting some weights and strengthening your back for everyday life.