According to self-reported data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, approximately 3.7 million Australians suffer with back pain; this makes up a staggering 16% of the population. Back pain can be caused by a variety of different factors - from accidental injury through to disc degeneration - but, regardless of the cause, persistent (or chronic) lower back pain can cause immense pain and discomfort to its suffers, and also has the potential to significantly diminish the quality of life of those affected.

Whilst medical intervention, such as surgery or medication, are effective forms of treatment for some lower back pain sufferers, for others, alternative course of action may be more appropriate. After seeking medical advice, there are ways that you may be able to relieve your lower back pain, naturally. 

Gentle exercise: 

Although it may not be appropriate for every person that suffers with lower back pain, and despite the fact that it may seem counter-intuitive, gentle exercise can in fact help to ease chronic pain. After seeking the go-ahead from a medical professional, gentle exercise can help to improve the abdominal muscles, which in turn reduces pressure on the lower back. Additionally, increasing suppleness, flexibility and muscle tone can help to loosen up a tight lower back, which can then reduce pain. 

Visit a chiropractor: 

A chiropractor is a healthcare professional that specialises in treating ailments around the body through the manipulation of the joints. In order to help a patient with lower back pain, a chiropractor may watch someone walk, sit, and perform other actions to assess where they consider the issue to stem from. Once making this diagnosis, the chiropractor can then proceed with manipulation of the spine - or other joints around the body - to correct misalignment that could be contributing to a person's lower back pain. 

Check your mattress: 

We spend, on average, a third of our lives sleeping; which amounts to a lot of time in bed! A mattress that is too firm, or sagging and old, can cause back problems. If you have been suffering lower back pain, and your mattress is over 6 years old, consider investing in a new one. Although each individual's ideal mattress will vary, a medium-firm mattress is often considered the best option for people with chronic lower back pain. 

Look down: 

Even if you are experiencing pain in your lower back, the problem could, in fact, stem from elsewhere in your body. It is worth considering a gait analysis, which will reveal how you walk, as back problems can be caused by over-pronation (the feet rolling inwards as a person walks) - a problem that can be easily resolved with the use of orthotic shoe inserts.