If you’ve ever felt an aching pain in your lower back, you’re definitely not alone. Lower back pain is extremely common, with about 80% of people experiencing it at some point in their lives.
Lower back pain can be caused by any number of things, including serious injuries from a car accident or from lifting something heavy, says Daniel Seidler, a physical therapist at Westchester Square Physical in the Bronx, New York.
The most common cause of lower back pain, though, is too much sitting, Seidler says. That's because while sitting may feel comfortable for your legs, it actually puts a lot of pressure on the bottom portion of your spine, which can result in gradual wear and tear if you're not careful. “Picture two rocks pressing down on one side of a balloon,” he says. “Your lower back is the balloon. So if you push down long enough or hard enough, it’ll start to wear down.”
In that light, one of the best things you can do to prevent this common problem is to simply move around more while you're at work (which is where we desk jockeys do the vast majority of our sitting). That could mean investing in a standing desk or making a note to stand and stretch every hour or so. You should also incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine — keeping the back muscles strong helps support your spine.
Already in pain? The good news is most of the time, you can find relief with simple home remedies. Read on for the tricks that help alleviate that ache.