Lower Back Pain Exercises
Our Treatment Approach
During the past almost 30 years in my work with athletes, I have devised a back pain treatment strategy to manage lower back pain (LBP) that tackles the problem first in its acute phase, and then later in the sub-acute and chronic phases by treating the problem functionally. This means that we introduce motion in a pain free and either non-weight bearing or partial weight bearing manner with a view to restoring weight bearing tolerance for motion.
Daily Lower Back Exercises Are Critical to Recovery
There are three planes of motion, and movement in all three planes is essential for restoration of normal function. We introduce motion pain free early, and we encourage daily participation in exercises that are designed to get a person moving comfortably once again.
We couple this approach with a functional restoration of the body long term. We do this by working on three fronts once the pain has subsided:
- Core Stability
- Foundational movement patterns
- Functional Strength
There is a natural tension in the body between mobility and stability. The core back pain exercise program we teach is designed to increase one's core stability on a gradient. At the same time, movement restrictions, restrictions that increase the load across the lower back, need to be addressed. We do this by introducing a flexibility program that is particularly directed at the hips and the thoracic spine (upper back). As mobility is introduced in the upper back and across the hip joints, the load accumulation across the lower back is reduced. The combination of increasing core strength along with improved mobility above and below the lower back leads to a more durable lower back.
Next, we introduce functional strengthening - or strengthening with the feet on the ground - It is this program that rounds out the approach. Armed with new flexibility and core stability, the strengthening program leads to a more durable and long term pain free back.
Back School for Ongoing Lower Back Pain Prevention
Finally, the best treatment of LBP must have "prevention" as a core principle. It is for this reason that we teach our patients about the mechanics of the lower back and how to protect it. We call this process Back School. The back is a mobile column, and it is subjected to forces day in and day out. Learning about good sitting posture, and good lifting mechanics for example, help prevent the next episode. Finally, we encourage our back pain patients to work on improving their aerobic fitness. It is fitness that keeps them healthy. Healthy people have fewer problems with their backs, and if they do get LBP, they bounce back faster.
The Pain Free Back App faithfully represents our clinical approach.