Want to exercise away your Back Pain?
I have seen some of my patients go from bad back pain that they have had for years to pain free by incorporating different exercises into their treatment plan. For some people the cause of their back pain is a weak or ineffective muscle(s) and strengthening it or re-activating it can bring dramatic changes. However if it was as simple as that there would be a lot less people with back pain – especially amongst athletes and sports people.
If you are looking for exercises as a way to help with your back pain then you firstly need to understand where the problem is. I recently wrote a Blog post on how a problem with your calf muscle can be felt as low back pain. All the back exercises in the world are not going to help in this case. Coming from the other end if you have one shoulder higher than the other because your neck is tight on one side, you will compensate in your lower back by lifting the pelvis on one side and putting much more stress and strain on the muscles, ligaments and joints in your lower back. Over time you will feel this as low back pain. Again treating the tight muscles in your lower back will not help as the problem is in this case that your neck is tight and all of the other problems come directly from this.
Once you know what muscles and joints you need to work on with exercises you need to do the exercises that are best suited for you and your problem. At the most basic level are exercises aimed at improving general strength and mobility. For these type of exercises I usually recommend when appropriate to my patients the Cat/Camel, Bird-dog/Superman and the Curl up. There is a detailed description of the 3 excercises for Back Pain available externally.
Another set of general exercises I often recommend come from an American Physical Therapist called Pete Egoscue. I have found that some of his exercises can be really effective, especially when the cause of the back pain isn’t a specific muscle but rather broader problems with co-ordination of muscles and more general movements and uses of muscles.
For more specific problems, especially regarding pain and pain that extends out or refers into the buttocks or legs, Mckenzie evaluations and exercises can quickly improve back pain. With McKenzie exercises the actual exercises are comparatively simple but the involved aspect is the consultation and analysis to find the correct exercise to help. With McKenzie this is critical as the most common and helpful exercise can actually worsen peoples back problems for 1 in 5 of low back pain suffers if applied incorrectly. It is a form of back pain treatment that has good academic research demonstrating its effectiveness in treating people with Low Back Pain.
My Recommendation for Low Back Pain Exercises
I would strongly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional first before trying to treat your problem with specific back pain exercises. If a tight muscle is causing your Low Back Pain you don’t want to be exercising it even more, making your problem even worse. Exercises can help but I have seen lots of people with back pain get better without exercising, sometimes there are other factors involved. Often it is a very individual thing that needs to be evaluated and monitored.