If “ Ouch, my back” is a sensation you are all too familiar with, you are not alone. Up to 84% of people will report at least one episode of lower back pain in their life time.
However, how we treat back pain has evolved. Mercifully most therapists, pt’s and health professionals have done away with the bed rest, do nothing approach, for which there is an overwhelming body of evidence to suggest causes more fear associated with movement, pain and decreases the speed of recovery. Exercise is the key to recovery and long term success!
When you experience back pain, it creates anxiety which can make the pain worse and often lead to cutting back on activities, establishing a negative cycle. Walking, swimming or Pilates are relaxing activities which will have a positive impact on your mental and physical well-being. Not catastrophizing the episode is a great strategy, have confidence in your body to heal and improve.
Think of your muscles as Iron Mans suit. They will protect your spine and joints, a strong body will create a stable platform, for you to establish positive movement patterns. Building global strength in the back, core and legs is an excellent approach to help reduce pain and improve function.
“The Big Three”
Professor Stuart McGill, a pioneer and world renown Spinal Health expert and clinical researcher recommends these 3 exercises to build pain free, healthy backs.
The Curl Up.
- Lie on your back and bring your hands behind your head, supporting the weight of your head. Don’t allow the chin to collapse and crush your chest, keep your head heavy in your hands.
- Rest the feet hip width apart and keep your buttocks heavy on the mat.
- Peel yourself off the mat from your shoulder blades and bring yourself slightly off the mat. This is a small movement, don’t fling yourself up or use momentum. Exhale as you come up and brace the abdominals.
- Inhale and return to starting position.
The Bird Dog.
- Start with knees directly under hips and hands directly under the shoulders directly. Draw the shoulder blades away from the ears and brace the abdominals.
- Lengthen opposite arm and leg away from this posture and maintain pelvic stability. Don’t allow the hips to drop or the lumbar spine to sag.
- Return to the starting posture and repeat on the other side.
The Side Plank.
- Lie on your side with your legs extended straight and plant your feet. Prop up your body on your elbow and forearm, palm facing up.
- Place your hand on your hip and raise your hips off the floor.
- Brace the abdominals, draw the shoulders away from your ears and squeeze your glutes.
- Hold for 10 seconds for 5 repetitions and repeat on the other side.
We would always recommend seeking professional help to learn how to execute exercises with great form.
Taking the time to educate yourself will pay dividends in achieving long term success and results with your rehab/ exercise plan.
Make movement your priority, adopt a positive approach to life and movement to help banish back pain for good.
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