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Lower Back Pain - how foot orthotics assist

Summary:

Definition: Low Back Pain (lumbo-sacral pain)

Symptoms: dull ache, tension in the lower back muscles, especially after standing

Causes: poor body posture, weak core muscles

Treatment: orthotic insoles to correct foot pronation and improve body posture; exercises to strengthen the core

"A dull ache and tiredness in the lower back, especially after standing for a while.."

Back pain is a very common complaint with millions of Australians suffering. Most of us simply put up with with back pain...

What causes pain in the lower back?

There are many diferent causes for back pain, however the main cause is simply poor body posture... Poor posture when sitting in front of a computer or watching TV on the couch are very, very common. Also, many of us have poor posture when standing up-right, gradually worsening over longer periods of standing. Most people are not aware of their poor body posture, so correcting it is not that easy.

Interestingly, bad body posture can often be contributed to problems at the feet! When the feet over-pronate (roll inwards), it can put the entire body out of balance!

Typically, over-pronation causes the legs to rotate inwards and the pelvis to tilt forward. The result is increased spinal curvature and continuous tension on the muscles in the lower back causing pain and discomfort.

Therefore, most people who suffer from low back pain, especially after standing for longer periods, or walking long distances, should consider their feet as a likely cause..

Treatment with orthotics

A recent study in the United States identified the nature of a person's walk as a source of chronic lower back pain. The subjects who all suffered from low back pain reported experiencing a 68% improvement in pain reduction after being fitted with foot orthotics. Read more about this study..

Footlogics orthotics reduce over-pronation, thereby preventing internal rotation of the legs and forward pelvic tilt. The body posture greatly improves and the tension on the lower back muscles is reduced, therefore relieving associated pain and tiredness.

In addition to wearing orthotics, it also recommended to do some daily stretching and strengthening exercises. For instance, stretching the hamstrings will help relieve the tension in the lower back. It is also recommend to seek help from a physiotherapist.

Orthotics improve body posture

Lower Back Pain stretching exercises:

Hamstring stretch
The hamstring stretch is done while lying on your back. Gently pull your knee towards your chest and keep your foot up in the air. The leg that is being stretched should only be partially bent. Hold the stretch until the tension in the muscle group is relaxed, this may take approximately 20 to 45 seconds. Relax and repeat 2 or 3 times. Switch legs.

Exercises for low back pain

The 'Cobra' - back strengthening exercise
Lay flat on stomach, forehead to ground, with arms beside the body. Lift the head up off the ground as you raise your upper torso and arch your back. Hold for 3 full breaths before slowly bringing the upper torso and forehead back down to the ground. Repeat 4-5 times.

Read more here about back pain exercises.

Recommended orthotics for low back pain:

Low Back Pain study: how orthotics can make a difference

STUDY IDENTIFIES UNTREATED FOOT AND ANKLE PROBLEMS AS MAJOR CULPRIT OF CHRONIC LOWER BACK PAIN

Common Podiatric Treatment Promises a Cure for Millions of Sufferers

Washington, DC- A new study released this week in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association reveals untreated foot and ankle problems may be the source of chronic lower back pain for millions of Americans. Furthermore, findings of this groundbreaking study demonstrate that the use of a common treatment for correcting such problems may lead to a cure for many sufferers of this debilitating condition.

The legs and lower back operate as one fluid unit -- unimpeded, normal walking motion exerts minimal, if no, strain on the lower back. According to this two-year study, foot and ankle problems restrict or alter normal walking motion, causing a repetitive strain on the lower back. If ignored, this strain, over time, leads to severe lower back muscle damage and resulting pain.

The study's authors, Dr. Howard J. Dananberg and Dr. Michelle Guiliano, both podiatrists, found the use of custom-made foot orthoses, commonly prescribed shoe inserts, can adjust the patient's damage-causing walk, allowing a more even distribution of weight which restores an unhampered flow of motion.

Over ten million Americans suffer from chronic lower back pain -- millions more have acute recurrent episodes. Seventy percent of those who seek treatment from traditional methods including spinal manipulation, physical therapy, therapeutic injections and surgery experience a recurrence of pain within one year of treatment. The New England Journal of Medicine estimates the cost of treating lower back pain in the tens of billions of dollars in the United States alone.

"This study identifies the nature of a person's gait as a source of chronic lower back pain," states Dr. Dananberg. "It makes perfect sense to focus treatment at the source of the injury. We are hopeful that we can now effectively treat and finally cure the pain of literally millions of people."

Prior to entering the Dananberg/Guiliano study, subjects found traditional methods of treatment unsuccessful. Yet, at the conclusion of the foot orthotics treatment, subjects reported experiencing a sixty-eight percent improvement in pain reduction. In a direct comparison to a study of traditional back pain treatments, using the same scale, Dananberg/Guiliano study participants experienced more than a fifty percent improvement in alleviation of pain, over a much longer duration.

Study methodology

The amount of pain a patient suffered was measured in the study using a questionnaire called the Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale. The scale measures the severity of pain the patient experiences Through a series of questions, the patient assigns a degree of pain on a scale from one to five, generating a mean pain score. The questionnaire is answered three times; once, at the initial examination, the second time three months after treatment, and the last time twelve to twenty-four months after treatment.