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Lower Back Pain Exercises For The Masses

Lower Back Pain Exercises For The Masses
Lower Back Pain Exercises For The Masses

Every Broken Down Car Is The Result Of An Alternator Fault

So you have low back pain what exercises should you do? So your car is broken down what should you do? Different question but same answer, not all broken down cars will be as a result of the same mechanical fault just as not all low back pain is the result of the same mechanical fault.
I have lost count of the number of times family and friends have said to me in passing “my back’s a bit sore what exercises should I do to fix it?”
It is true there are some very general lower back pain exercises that could probably be safely prescribed to the majority of the population that may well be of benefit to almost all who do them, however there is no one exercise that will solve low back pain and no one adjustment that fixes all cars.

The Human Body Is Exceedingly Complex

The mechanics of a car are very complex and the human body even more so, meaning fixing a mechanical issue in your back requires of a number of things including an understanding of the history of your pain and how it is behaving, accurate assessment locally and any relevant areas, static and dynamic posture assessment the forming of a working diagnosis based on the clinical reasoning relating to the information gathered then the implementation of a treatment plan and prescription of any relevant exercises followed by reassessment of the impact the applied treatment and exercises are having. Meaning simply giving lower back pain exercises to fix a complaint with no understanding of the actual origins and causative factors of the condition is most likely to be ineffective at best and riddled with dangerous consequences at worst. You don’t expect your mechanic to tell you exactly what needs to be done to fix your car when all you tell them over the phone is “my car’s broken” the same applies to spinal complaints. There is no magic wand type exercise, where what works for one works for all, making it a risky business taking advice from someone who has had a “similar” pain and say “I was given these lower back pain exercises by my physio (or chiro…) you should give them a go”. Those exercises were prescribed to them based on their individual circumstances and are relevant to them and them only and even more so the exercises are relevant to them for that particular episode of low back pain and my not even apply to them in the future as they age or with suffer any subsequent episodes.

Every Back Is Unique

Just as older cars are more likely to have certain mechanical failures different to those of younger cars and cars driven differently will have different mechanical issues as a result of the stress they have been driven under, every individual is different, will require a different approach and will respond differently to treatment and potentially respond differently to any subsequent treatment they may receive in the future. Now it stands to reason that common complaints occur commonly so absolutely with a brief understanding of the onset and behavior of the lower back pain coupled with someones age, body type, and activity levels there do tend to be trends and patterns in the causative mechanical structures and generic lower back pain exercises in these circumstances may be both relatively safe and effective however there are always exceptions to any rule waiting there to trip you up if your aren’t thorough.

The Best Lower Back Pain Exercises Are…

So what lower back pain exercises should you do to fix your back? I think it is pretty obvious I am going to say you need to be properly assessed by your doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath or ‘like’ skilled health practitioner, your age, physical capabilities and the causative factors giving you low back pain make this an impossible question to answer safely and accurately.
I remember as a young enthusiastic physiotherapist in my second year out of university I was on a course where Robin McKenzie (famed in the physiotherapy world for the McKenzie Method mechanical diagnosis and therapy) was talking and when asked “if you could have patients do one thing thing to fix their back pain what would it be?” and he answered “improve sitting posture” The prone lumbar extension/Mckenzie press/or the yoga pose the cobra however you wish to describe it is what Robin made his name on and although his method is a brilliant, complex yet methodical approach to the assessment and management of mechanical musculoskeletal complaints in the body for many in the industry he is know as the “McKenzie press” man. Even he doesn’t advocate this “McKenzie press” as the be all and end all of low back pain exercises and appreciates that no two people are the same and as a result their treatment requirements are equally unique. I am not one to argue with him regarding the important role good sitting posture could probably play in significantly reducing low back pain in the lion’s share of the suffering population however if you are looking for the best lower back pain exercises your not going to find them here.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provided this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. It represents general advice based on personal experience only. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance on Lower Back Pain Exercises should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, general practitioner or physiotherapist.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.