April 2019 – Lower Back Pain and Exercise

Lower Back Pain? Keep Moving
By Joel Wallace

Almost everyone at some point experiences back pain, and for some this might be a regular occurrence.

It is very easy to fear back pain and treat it differently to how we would other pains and aches. This may be for many different reasons but is often due to uncertainty, past experience or belief we will make it worse.

Surprisingly to a lot of people is that in most cases we don’t need to rush for ‘treatment’ and it quite safe to continue normal activities and exercise. Most episodes of lower back pain resolve themselves in around 6-8 days.

Some things to keep in mind about back pain are:

• Pain does not equate to damage

• The rate of spontaneous re-absorption of lumbar disc herniation’s is about 67%.

• Exercise has been linked with positive effects on the discs such as promoting regeneration and strengthening the inter-vertebral discs

• Isolated exercise such as ‘core’, transverse abdominal and glute exercises are not more effective than any other type of exercise for lower back pain

• Posture has not been shown by research to play a major role in the development of lower back pain

• Bending, and twisting has not been shown to be an independent cause of lower back pain or associated with pain intensity.

• On the other hand – Avoiding or being fearful of certain movements have been associated with ongoing lower back pain

For a helpful approach around exercise and lower back pain, see the below simple advice by Cor-Kinetic:

Don’t over complicate exercise & activity for back pain, use the following guidelines for your symptoms:

• Low levels of activity = increase activity a bit

• High levels of activity = reduce activity a bit

• Stiff movement = focus on relaxed movements

• Need higher levels of loading for sport/work = load them up

• Specific feared movements = grade the exposure to specific feared positions/movements

• Positions/activities that are painful beyond a tolerable level = its ok to back off for a bit (make sure to reintroduce them)

• Negative associations around exercise/activity = Make it fun, engaging & meaningful

• Bit of pain doing stuff = it’s ok

If you have any questions or want to know more speak to your Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist at Motion Health.

Remember that you don’t always need to rush for ‘treatment’ and that movement and exercise is good for you.