Back Pain Is Preventable With Low Back Exercises
Low back pain is a common complaint and it is estimated that around 80% of people will experience low back pain at some point during their lives. An ailment that is especially common in the 20-45-year-old population striking people down during young adulthood to middle age. Much of this back pain experienced during these glory years is preventable. Strengthening the spine with low back exercises can potentially go a long way towards solving a large chunk of complaints with-in this group of sufferers. A lot of back pain can be prevented or relieved simply by staying active and minimizing time spent sedentary holding certain postures or performing specific repetitive activities. The use of low back exercises may help in the prevention of pain, aid recovery, reduce disability associated with low back pain, as well as reduce the likelihood of a recurrence of symptoms.
The Use Of Gym Equipment Isn’t Necessary To Strengthen Your Back
Low back exercises do not need to be complicated or require any fancy equipment to be effective. In fact, a lot of “injuries” to the back occur at the gym when people are trying to lift more weight than their body can currently handle, or lifting weight using poor technique and form. Often frustratingly, too little activity and a highly sedentary lifestyle can lead to the onset of lower back pain due to the loss of flexibility, strength and endurance as well as the sustained tissue loading and circulatory issues that not moving can cause. But just like not moving can cause pain so too can doing the wrong exercises, or doing the right exercises with poor form or too much load at the gym. Many beneficial low back exercises require no expensive gym membership or equipment and can simply be carried out at home, worked into your daily routine.
Low Back Exercises To Avoid
Worth noting here, is that there is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to back exercises. Every spine and individual circumstances are unique and sadly no single exercise works for everyone. Therefore not all people need avoid the following listed exercises but as a general rule if you have lower back pain then the following exercises could potentially aggravate your condition. As such it is often considered safer that they be omitted from an exercise regime when someone has acute low back pain. That is unless professional advice indicates otherwise. If you have lower back pain and are unsure what applies to you and your spine and what doesn’t then I would suggest that it is best to err on the side of caution and use the rule “if in doubt, leave them out” of your workout routine.
- Sit-ups: Although done with the intention of strengthening your abs, frequently people performing these exercises end up over training hip flexor muscles and abdominal muscles that are better designed for generating movement of the trunk and hips rather than assisting the stability and support of the spine. As well as this, when performing a “sit up” the spine moves into a flexed position under load which in turn can place significant pressure on the lumbar discs. The discs are a potential pain sensitive structure in the spine and commonly implicated as a cause of lower back pain in that middle aged population. Worth nothing when I use the term “sit up” I am referring to a full sit up, rather than a “crunch”. Personally regarding the cost to benefit ratio with regard to your body, lifestyle and movement needs… a “sit up” is an exercise I think best left alone unless professional advice suggests otherwise and this is often the case where occupation or sporting demands necessitate strength in this way more than in an attempt to manage back pain.
- Leg lifts: Leg lifts are another exercise that are sometimes plugged as a good way strengthen your core however like mentioned above with “sit-ups” people frequently tend to overuse muscles in the front of their hips performing this exercise. With hip flexor muscle activation dominating over any actual abdominal or lower back muscle activation. Additionally, lifting both legs off the ground together can stress your spine if you don’t have the appropriate strength to carry out the exercise safely. Failing to maintain a neutral spinal position throughout the exercise due to poor technique, or a lack of strength may potentially exacerbate low back pain in some individuals.
If you have any questions about what low back exercises may be appropriate for your specific situation then call us at Sydney Physio Clinic and we will be happy to assess and provide our take on things.
Disclaimer: This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as a substitute for personalized medical advice. Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned in this post. Anyone seeking specific advice, or assistance regarding “low back exercises” should consult his, or her physiotherapist, orthopaedic surgeon, general practitioner, sports medicine specialist, or otherwise appropriately skilled medical practitioner.