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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hello, I've had chronic back pain for a number of years and I recently talked to an acquaintance of mine who is a physical therapist. He asked me some questions about where the pain is and what kind of movement cause the most pain. He suspected it was the sacroiliac joint on my right side. He did a quick physical evaluation (mostly checking the flexibility of different muscles in my legs). One leg was much tighter than the other, so he suggested some stretching exercises to do at home. That seemed to help, but a couple of months later I had a problem with it after shoveling snow. Thankfully the pain only lasted a couple of days. Then last week I was sick for a day and felt bad enough that I just laid on the couch all day. At the end of the day, my lower back was pretty sore. Two days later, my back hurt so bad I had the same problems- walking, standing, sitting- lots of pain... the only relief was lying down on my back or side. After a few days now since the pain has died down, it is no longer radiating through my entire lower back, I just feel it concentrated just to the right of my spine. Anyway, why is it so chronic where it seems like anything I do can set it off? I can get temporary relief with rest and some leg stretches, but it worries me that as time goes on, the recurrence of it is much more often. Any ideas/advice/experience/tips? Thanks in advance!

Edit: In case it matters, I'm 34 years old and have been having problems since I was in my late 20s. One doctor suggested it was because I have flat feet.
Good posture and structural alignment in general has an effect on various spinal conditions and can be a cause of many of them. Our posture begins with our feet. It is the foundation for how the spine aligns. If the base is defective, it effects the ankles, knees, hips, pelvis, shoulders and how the head is carried...just like a series of building blocks. When one is out of kilter, it throws off alignment of everything above it.

Your flat feet could be contributing to your problems, which may indeed get worse as you age. Have you noticed how you stand and sit? Do you favor one side? Do you stand with more weight on one leg, with the other leg turned to the side...the way models pose? Do you cross one leg over the other? After decades of always crossing one leg over the other, it can begin to take a toll!

It may be that your SI joints are too tight or too loose. Either one can create issues!

I would suggest that before the problem becomes chronic, take action. Get orthotics for your shoes and always wear them in supportive, flat shoes. Go to a PT or have your friend show you appropriate exercises to strengthen the muscles of your back and core. Learn to sleep on your back with something under the knees, or on your side with a small pillow between the knees. You want to support the natural curves of the spine. Learn to limit the time you spend sitting. Get up every 30-60 minutes and walk around for a few minutes. If you work at a desk, get an ergonomic chair and set up your work space to be as ergonomic as possible to protect your back.

When you have tasks that you know will cause lower back pain, like shoveling, raking, running a vacuum, avoid if possible! Otherwise break up into short work periods with breaks in between when the discs can rest.

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