Low Back Pain - what can we do about it?

It seems that most people who come to yoga complain about low back pain. I myself have even experienced it various times in my life.  So this got me wondering - how severe is this issue for American adults? I did some research and here's what I found out.

According to WebMD, approximately 8 out of 10 Americans will experience a back problem at some point during their lifetime, with the most common form being low back pain.  

According to surveys completed by American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), more than one in three adults say back pain impacts everyday activities, including sleep.  Back pain is the 5th most common healthcare complaint and 37% of Americans experience low back pain and don't seek professional help.

What was most surprising is that Americans spend at least $50 billion treating back pain, according to a study done on the global burden of low back pain. That's a lot of cash.  

Finally, according to American Family Physicians, 9 our of 10 people do not find out the primary cause for their pain.   

If you ask Lee Albert, he'll tell you based on his 25 years of experience that 60-70% of the low back pain he has treated originates with tight, short muscles on the front side of the body.  Seems counterintuitive but here's how.

Your quadriceps and psoas muscles, on the front side of you body, are hip flexors that allow your hips to bend forward. When these muscles are short and tight, they can pull your pelvis forward, causing compression and therefore pain in your low back.  The pain is actually the symptom, but the cause is the hip flexors.  

And the reason our front body muscles are short and tight? Probably too much sitting! The APTA also found out that 54% of those suffering from back pain spend the majority of their day sitting!

You can start today to relieve your low back pain with a few simple front body stretches, 3-4 times per day.  Standing side stretches, quad stretches, lunges and standing backbends are just a few of the ways to find relief!

For specifics, check out my stick figure guide to help relieve low back pain!