Lower back stiffness can be an issue affecting the sufferers' lives. It can limit your mobility, hinder daily activities and cause severe discomfort.
This article will briefly discuss the causes of lower back stiffness and how to fix them. Read this article to discover all the information related to lower back stiffness.
What Causes Lower Back Stiffness?
Before jumping into the solutions to fix this pain, let's discuss some common causes of lower back stiffness. They are:
Overuse, improper lifting techniques, or sudden movements can strain the muscles in your lower back, leading to stiffness Dr. Bob Chatterjee stated in an interview that:
"The causes of low back pain are usually muscular, and often they're associated with how you sit and do things. Often a lot of it's to do with your workplace."
Slouching or maintaining an incorrect posture while sitting or standing can strain your back muscles unnecessarily and result in stiffness.
Lack of physical activity weakens the muscles in the back and contributes to stiffness.
As we age, the discs and joints in our spine may degenerate, leading to stiffness and reduced flexibility.
Conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation in the joints of the lower back, resulting in stiffness.
When the discs between the vertebrae in the lower back become damaged or displaced, they can cause stiffness and discomfort.
7 Ways to Fix Lower Back Stiffness
Back pain, especially lower back stiffness, is one of the reasons people visit the doctor frequently. There could be a lot of reasons behind it, but this pain and stiffness should be fixed as soon as possible.
Untreated stiffness can lead to other pain and issues. Some of the common ways to fix lower back stiffness are:
1. Stretching Exercises
Regular stretching helps improve flexibility and relieve lower back stiffness. Try knee-to-chest stretches, spinal twists, and hamstring stretches to target the muscles in the lower back and surrounding areas.
2. Core Strengthening Exercises
Strengthening the core muscles provides support to the lower back. Incorporate exercises like planks, bridges, and bird dogs into your routine to strengthen your abdominal and back muscles.
3. Posture Correction
Maintaining proper posture is vital to prevent and alleviate lower back stiffness. Be mindful of your posture while sitting, standing, and walking. Keep your shoulders back and relaxed, and avoid slouching.
4. Heat Therapy
Applying heat to your lower back relaxes the muscles and increases blood flow, reducing stiffness. Use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm bath or shower to relieve stress.
5. Cold Therapy
Cold therapy helps reduce inflammation and numbs the area, providing temporary pain relief. Apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a thin towel to your lower back for 15-20 minutes.
Massage promotes blood circulation, relaxes muscles, and reduces tension. Consider scheduling a professional massage or using a foam roller or tennis ball to massage the affected area at home.
7. Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise is crucial for preventing excess strain on the lower back. Avoid activities that exacerbate stiffness, such as heavy lifting or prolonged sitting or standing.
Stiff Lower Back in the Morning
Many people experience increased stiffness in their lower back upon waking up. This can be due to muscles becoming immobile during sleep.
To alleviate morning stiffness, try the following:
● Gentle stretching exercises in bed before getting up.
● Applying heat or taking a warm shower to loosen up the muscles.
● Gradually increasing your activity level throughout the day
Lower Back Stiffness after Sitting
Sitting at a desk or during long drives can lead to lower back stiffness. This sedentary behavior places excessive strain on the muscles and ligaments of the lower back, resulting in discomfort.
Some of the major causes are:
Prolonged Inactivity: Sitting for extended periods without movement can cause the muscles in the lower back to become stiff and tense.
Poor Posture: Slouching or hunching forward while sitting puts added pressure on the lower back, leading to stiffness.
Lack of Lumbar Support: Insufficient support for the lower back's natural curve can contribute to discomfort and stiffness.
Reduced Blood Flow: Sitting for long durations can impede blood circulation, depriving the muscles of necessary oxygen and nutrients, leading to stiffness.
To combat lower back stiffness after sitting, consider implementing the following remedies:
Take Frequent Breaks: Get up and move around every 30 minutes to an hour. Stretch your back and engage in gentle exercises or walks to alleviate muscle tension and improve blood flow.
Perform Seated Exercises: While sitting, perform simple exercises like shoulder rolls, gentle twists, and pelvic tilts to keep the muscles engaged and prevent stiffness.
Use A Lumbar Support Cushion: A lumbar support cushion can provide extra support and help sustain the natural curvature of the lower back.
These cushions are designed to alleviate pressure and reduce stiffness.
One such product that can be beneficial is ComfiLumba 4D Mesh Car Seat Cushion. It provides excellent lumbar support and can be used in various settings, including while driving.
Stiffness While Driving
Long drives can be particularly challenging for individuals experiencing lower back stiffness. The combination of sitting for extended periods, poor ergonomics, and road vibrations can exacerbate the problem.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to alleviate stiffness while driving:
Adjust Your Seat Position: Ensure your seat is properly adjusted to support your lower back. If available, use the lumbar support feature to maintain a neutral spine position.
Take Breaks: Plan regular rest stops during long drives to stretch your legs, walk around, and perform back stretches. This will help reduce stiffness and promote blood circulation.
Use A Lumbar Support Cushion: A lumbar support cushion, like 4D Mesh Car Seat Cushion for Car Seat Driver, can provide optimal support for your lower back during the drive.
3 Best Stretch Exercises for Lower Back Stiffness
Here are some best stretch exercises for lower back stiffness. They are:
Knee-To-Chest Stretch: Lie on your back, and bring one knee towards your chest while keeping the other leg straight. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and then switch legs.
Cat-Camel Stretch: Position yourself on all fours, arch your back upwards like a cat, and lower it like a camel. Repeat this movement 10-15 times. Dr. Stuart McGill stated:
"Cat camel was the best way to reduce the friction in the spine and prepare the person to move."
Piriformis Stretch: Sit on a chair, transit one ankle over the opposite knee, and gently lean forward, maintaining a straight back. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and then switch sides.
Lower Back Stiffness vs. Lower Back Pain
It's important to differentiate between lower back stiffness and lower back pain. Stiffness refers to reduced flexibility and limited range of motion, while pain may involve discomfort, sharp or dull sensations, and more intense.
If you're unsure about your symptoms, it's best to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Lower back stiffness can significantly impact your daily life, but it shouldn't be a constant struggle.
You can find relief from lower back stiffness by incorporating the suggested remedies, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and addressing specific situations like mornings and prolonged sitting.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. We strongly suggest seeking the advice and care of a healthcare professional before starting any treatment.