Movement is Key to Unlocking Lower Back Pain

It’s time to let that lower back pain be spineless and use movement to back you up!

What have you been doing to improve your lower back pain?. As Joseph Pilates once said “A man is as young as his spinal column”. More and more studies are indicating substantial results from movement as a treatment in decreasing pain, increasing range of motion and quality of life in patients with lower back pain. Movement is medicine and can help you too. With movement for lower back pain, the evidence backs up the theory.

Evidence Confirms: Movement Is Best

What movement should you be doing specifically for lower back pain? A systematic review and meta analysis in 2015 found that exercise was more effective than conservative treatments. They suggested that  strength/resistance and coordination/stabilisation exercise interventions held better results than cardiorespiratory exercises for lower back pain. For example, theraband work and body weight exercises will be more helpful than running or cycling. 

It’s not about smashing it at the gym once a week either, it will take time. Try some simple exercises daily for 4 weeks to see if you can notice the change. A randomized controlled trial in 2013 concluded that two active treatments showed significant effects in reducing pain and decreasing disability for lower back pain. Patients were given a program for 4 weeks with daily exercises and continued to see results over a 6 month period.

Combining interventions is a great idea too. A study by Krismer and Tulder in 2007 found that  maintaining physical activity, avoiding rest and manual therapy can reduce pain and maintain and restore function in lower back pain. By adding in some manual treatments can help you stay on top of your lower back pain while the therapist can give a personalised treatment plan with exercises to include in your at home self care. 

Self Care at Home

Self care at home is essential in maintaining progress and keeping back pain at bay, even when it has eased. You want to do exercises that do not aggravate the lower back while still strengthening the muscles. Try some of these simple exercises yourself at home:

  • Pelvic Tilt
        1. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat, and arms by your sides. The natural curvature of your spine will lift your lower back slightly off the floor.
        2. Gently arch your lower back and push your stomach out, stabilizing your core.
        3. Hold for 5–10 seconds, then relax.
        4. Push your pelvis slightly up toward the ceiling (your pelvis should not leave the floor) while tightening your abdominal and buttock muscles. In doing so, you should feel your lower back pressing into the floor.
        5. Hold for 5–10 seconds, then relax.
        6. Start with 10–15 repetitions daily, building up to 25–30.
  • Cat-Cow Stretch
        1. Get onto your hands and knees with your knees hip-width apart. This is the starting position.
        2. Arch your back by pulling your belly button up toward your spine, letting your head drop forward. This is the cat portion of the stretch.
        3. Hold for 5–10 seconds. You should feel a gentle stretch in your lower back.
        4. Return to the starting position.
        5. Raise your head up and let your pelvis fall forward, curving your back down toward the floor. This is the cow portion of the stretch.
        6. Hold for 5–10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
        7. Repeat 15–20 times.
  • Knee-to-chest
        1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
        2. Using both hands, grab hold of your right lower leg and interlace your fingers, or clasp your wrists just under the knee.
        3. While keeping your left foot flat on the floor, gently pull your right knee up to your chest until you feel a slight stretch in your lower back.
        4. Hold your right knee against your chest for 30–60 seconds, making sure to relax your legs, hips, and lower back.
        5. Release your right knee and return to the starting position.
        6. Repeat steps 2–4 with your left leg.
        7. Repeat three times for each leg.
  • Supported Bridge
        1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
        2. Lift your hips and place a foam roller or firm cushion underneath them.
        3. Completely relax your body into the support of the floor and the foam roller or firm cushion.
        4. Hold for 30–60 seconds and repeat 3–5 times, resting 30–60 seconds between sets.

Want something more? Visit your therapist at Health Place

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