3 ways to treat your acute low back pain

Do you have acute low back pain, and you’re not sure what to do? Maybe you keep stretching over and over again without any relief? Whether you have pain with forward bending or backward bending, here are some things that you may want to consider to allow you to feel better quickly.

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What you need to know about lower back pain

One in four people will experience low back pain, and approximately 80 percent of Americans will have low back pain at some point in their lives.  

Let’s say that you bend over to simply pick up a pencil, and suddenly, you have excruciating low back pain. You feel like you can’t stand up. You don’t really know what to do. Well, oftentimes, people will ice, stretch, and rest. Sometimes they keep stretching, thinking that their back is tight and that, unfortunately, will just continue to make things worse.

Conversely, let’s say that you bend back, and you realize that you get this jabbing pain in your low back. Once again, you perform stretches, perhaps in back bending or side bending. Unfortunately, that will make things worse.

What’s the number one thing you want to do when you have low back pain?

1. Movement

It is not rest; it is movement. You want to perform, at the minimum, light walking or movement around your home or office. Any prolonged position, like sitting or standing in one place, will increase your pain. Movement is number one, not rest—no lying on your back for a long time, no lying on your stomach for a long time, and no sitting for a long time.

2. Diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is a must regardless of how your back pain is presenting. Diaphragmatic breathing means you’re breathing in through the nose with the tongue resting at the roof of the mouth, gently touching the top teeth. The pressure that builds up from diaphragmatic breath goes all the way down to the base of the pelvic floor to create 360 degrees of pressure. Your vagus nerve runs right through the diaphragm. When you’re breathing diaphragmatically, this will stimulate the vagus nerve and release a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, creating a relaxation response. This will ultimately decrease your pain. Try breathing with intention throughout the day. Taking at least three to ten deep breaths will be very effective in decreasing your overall pain.

3. Movement bias

Now, of course, there are always outliers to this rule. However, if you have pain with forward bending—you’ve reached down to touch your toes and feel excruciating pain—then you do not want to do any forward bending motions. For example, things like a child’s pose, a cat stretch, or sitting for a long time.

You want to think about doing most extension-based movements—lying on your stomach, crocodile breathing, or propping yourself up to a sphinx position onto your elbows.

If that feels comfortable, then go into a small press-up. Repeat and check out your painful pattern afterward to see if the pain has decreased. So, for example, re-test your toe touch, see if it feels less painful. If so, then you could continue those exercises throughout the day, especially with the acute low back pain.

Now, if you have pain with back bending and you feel good with forward bending, focus on forward bending. For example, you could start off in a child’s pose position. Then move to a cat position, rounding the spine, tucking from the pelvis, and breathing in that position. Lastly, you could even go into a standing forward fold.

Essentially, this works great for acute low back pain. Put simply, move towards what feels better and away from what’s causing pain. If you continue to move in a painful range, motor control is distorted, which affects timing, sequencing, and coordination of muscles.

When to do these exercises

Now, of course, this can apply to all low back pain if it seems appropriate, but these recommendations are specifically for acute pain.  

If you’ve watched our videos or followed our blogs, you know that I’m going to encourage you to find the root cause of your pain. But in the short term, it’s really important to be able to treat it, manage it, and move on so that it does not turn into chronic low back pain.

Acute back pain is very easy to treat and can resolve quickly. You want to begin immediately, whether doing things like this yourself and/or seeing a qualified health professional to treat you.

If this is helpful, give it a like, give it a share, and of course, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. If you need our help, whether virtual or in person, please reach out; we would love to help you.

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Pelvic floor–Gut Connection

Did you know that your pelvic floor is directly linked to your gut health? Let’s talk about that important connection today.

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The connection between the gut and pelvic floor

Our gut is the opening from the mouth to the anus. Whether you are experiencing chronic constipation, diarrhea, or even a specific condition, like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), leaky gut, SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth), or large intestinal fungal overgrowth—all of these conditions are going to have a direct influence on your pelvic floor function. Conversely, any type of pelvic floor dysfunction will influence your gut health.

For example, if you have a tight pelvic floor, otherwise known as a hypertonic pelvic floor, it will likely contribute to chronic constipation. There are three key connections:

Ways the gut and pelvic floor are connected

1. Sphincters

The first connection includes the pelvic floor sphincters, an internal sphincter and external sphincter.

Think of the internal sphincter as our communication system, which signals to the brain that it is time to have a bowel movement. When we have chronic constipation, for instance, it affects the sphincter and thus disrupts this communication system. Therefore, we ultimately have to retrain our bowel habits to improve this communication.

We also have an external sphincter, which can be stimulated by mere wiping. If we are having excessive wiping when having a bowel movement, it will stimulate that sphincter to drop stool down through the rectum. The more that we do this, the more we are creating miscommunication and ultimately having to wipe more. This can commonly be associated with someone who has looser stools, potentially has dysbiosis or leaky gut, and is chronically wiping when they’re going to the bathroom to ensure they’re clean.

2. Pressure management

The next connection is essentially pushing, or we can also call this poor pressure management.

We want to think about pressure management for everything related to bowel movement and the pelvic floor. If you’ve ever gone to the bathroom, whether it was looser stools or firmer stools, and you are pushing or bearing down to release, you know exactly what I am referring to.  Unfortunately, this involves poor pressure management in our core and definitely within our pelvic floor. This can cause pelvic floor dysfunction.

It is important to manage pressure properly, and the exercise you can do is called “Belly big, belly hard.” When you feel like you’re about to have a bowel movement and you have the desire to push, try making a closed fist, breath in, and then blow into your fist with your cheeks puffing out for three seconds. Now, pull your fist away and keep breathing. You should feel like you’re able to excrete in a very natural and relaxed manner. We need the pelvic floor to relax to have a bowel movement.

3. Bowel mechanics

Finally, the last pelvic floor-gut connection is your bowel mechanics. This will go hand in hand with pressure management, so the Squatty Potty, for example, is a great way to improve your squat mechanics. You can also just elevate your feet, which will allow the stool to move easily into the rectum to be ultimately evacuated.

It’s important to optimize squat mechanics and biomechanics, to optimize pressure management, and to think about the role of your sphincter’s communication with your brain to positively influence your bowel habits and pelvic floor function.

This is just scratching the surface of all of the different connections between these two, but hopefully, it gives you an appreciation that if you have any kind of bowel issue, you absolutely need to address your pelvic floor and vice versa.

They go hand in hand, so if you really want to take the time to work with a professional, please make sure you reach out to us. We’d be more than happy to help you in your journey virtually or in person and really begin to uncover what issues may be affecting you on either side of things.

So, if you found this helpful, give it a like, give it a share. If you’d like to reach out to us for an appointment, please do that as well. Schedule your appointment here: https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd.

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on

mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Other things that might interest you:

What your pelvic floor has to do with your tight hips

Vagus Nerve Hack | Pelvic Floor Relaxation

Peeing yourself during heavy lifting is not okay

Vagus Nerve Hack | Pelvic Floor Relaxation

Another great vagus nerve hack that you can do is pelvic floor release and relaxation.

The vagus nerve is integrated with a sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight) almost everywhere in the body, but especially the gut and the pelvis. What’s interesting about the pelvic floor is that we tend to hold so much tension here. This is where we tend to hold our emotions, too.

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Let’s dive into the anatomy. The posterior vagus nerve actually integrates with a network of sympathetic plexus with a network of nerves:

  1. celiac plexus
  2. superior and inferior mesenteric plexi
  3. superior and inferior hypogastric plexi

This plexi actually forms an integrated circuit that moves blood flow in and out of the pelvis, and this is exactly what the autonomic nervous system is all about—moving blood. This network of nerves is where the vagus nerve brings blood to the heart and brain. Lastly, urination, defecation, sexual orgasm all require this complex integration of all of these nerves and blood flow from the pelvis to the rest of the body. In order to do all of those things, we have to feel safe in the bedroom as well as in the bathroom. Safety is the cornerstone of our state of social engagement of the ventral vagal nerve. Check out the video HERE to see how to perform:

1.   Pelvic Floor Release

Sitting on a ball and addressing the pelvic floor musculature is a great way to create this efficient relaxation response. The placement of the ball is behind the pubic bone to address the front of the pelvic floor and then right inside of the buttocks to address the back of the pelvic floor. Sit on the ball and breathe diaphragmatically until you feel a release or relaxation response.

2.   Happy Baby

This is a great relaxation exercise where there are lots of variations. However, you just need to get to a position where you feel very comfortable, and you’re able to inhale into the pelvic floor. When you are inhaling, that’s when the pelvic floor is relaxing and you are opening the pelvic outlet.

3.   Rock on Forearms

Resting on the forearms and knees wide, inhale as you rock back and exhale as you rock slightly forward. Once again, you’re opening up the pelvic outlet, inhaling into the base of the pelvic floor to create that relaxation response.

The pelvic floor is one of the most fascinating connections with the vagus nerve, so it’s a really great way to address this from a chakra standpoint. It tends to be an area for clenching and guarding, and especially for holding emotions.

You can see this intimate relationship with your nervous system and how it could affect you.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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