5 Mistakes with Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common pain conditions in our modern society.

Often, pain comes on due to an event or injury, such as an awkward lift, twist or accident, but a lot of the time it can come on gradually and with no obvious cause.

There are a lot of myths surrounding lower back pain and what can be done to relieve it long-term.

Here we list 5 of the most common mistakes we see people making when it comes to lower back pain and what you should know about them!

1. Rushing into Strength Training

If you suspect your lower back pain is caused by weak muscles through the back and core, you could be right, however heading straight for the gym thinking you need to start lifting weights, or start punching out endless sit ups and planking exercises could be a mistake.

Yes, we need to be mindful of maintaining muscle strength through the back and core, however when it comes to back pain, we must first identify which muscles need attention and have awareness to the fact that our lower back pain might actually be from poor posture.

2. Eliminating Movement

Don’t misunderstand rest with taking away movement all together. Becoming inactive is a mistake for lower back pain!

The muscles in your abdomen and buttocks need to stay strong in order to support your spine. Lack of movement may reduce elasticity of the muscle fibers leading to stiffness within the muscle itself.

In the early, or acute phase of back pain, it is recommended to rest no more than 2 – 3 days.

Don’t sit for long hours at a time. Get up and move around every 10 to 15 minutes.

Yes, resting is important, but this doesn’t mean you should do nothing. Movement is equally as important to your recovery.

When at rest in a lying position, take some pressure off your spine by using a pillow under your knees when lying flat on your back, and a pillow between your legs when lying on your side.

3. Using Heat Packs Prematurely

During the acute stages of an injury, the area will swell. ICE is recommended through this stage to reduce this swelling.

Using heat in the acute stages of injury may increase swelling, causing more pain that can lead to an increase in muscle spasms.

Only once the acute stage of pain has passed should you switch to using heat. Heat is used to release muscle spasms.

It is recommended that the use of heat packs be for periods no longer than 15- 20 minutes at a time, however this can be done a few times a day.

So remember, when facing an injury: First ice, then heat!

4. Stretching it Out

In the early stages of an injury it’s important to not stretch the muscles, the body is already suffering in this stressful situation and you only risk aggravating the muscles further.

Walking at a slow pace to increase blood flow to the areas and will keep flexibility in your lower back, and once the acute early stages begin to pass, this is where we may look to start implementing some stretching exercises.

It is important to identify the correct muscle or muscle group that needs attention here, and this is where your therapist comes in!

 5. Thinking that were you feel the pain is definitely where the injury is

The structure of the back doesn’t consist of just bones and muscles, but includes nerves that come off of the spinal cord and have pathways around the back and outward to the limbs. The pain can be caused by the referred pain, which may move around along nerve lines. A problem such as a pinched nerve (Sciatic nerve is one on of the most common ones), degenerated disc in the lumbar spine or a dysfunction in the SIJ (Sacroiliac Joint) may be felt as pain in the lower back, hips or buttocks.

So it is crucial to identify the correct potential cause of the pain, and again this is where your therapist comes in!

If you are struggling to figure out what treatment you need, call us on 3852 2434 or private message us to get your free 15 minute assessment, so we can customize and create a plan for your needs and goals.