Low Back Pain and How to Fix it – Part 1
Low Back Pain and Doing the Opposite
Dr. Tom Cotter, DC
We’re on to low back pain this month folks! Let’s sit back and figure out how we can take care of that annoying low back pain. The rest of the month will be spent learning various ways low back pain can addressed.
We’ll start off with one of the most common causes of low back pain; bending forward too much. That can be as obvious as picking up dozens of 80 lbs. bags of concrete mix. But it also can also be the 29 year old that wakes up, sits in her car on the 20 min. drive to work, sits all day at work, drives home, sits on a bar stool all night while she pours over case files, goes to sleep, and repeats the whole process. That’s a lot of time in flexion, or bending forward. The body, and more specifically the back, likes to be balanced in its movements. We should be bending forward, but then also bending backwards. If we bend to one side, we should, at some point, bend to the opposite.
So, since most of us spend an overwhelming majority of our day in flexion, the answer should be obvious now. We should be bending backwards a bunch too. It’s like the great George Costanza from Seinfeld once said after going to a physical therapist, “I COULD BE A PHYSICAL THERAIST. YOU JUST DO THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU DO ALL DAY!!!!” (If you aren’t familiar with George, pardon the all caps. He was a very angry fellow.)
Now that we have the yelling out of the way, let’s focus on the exercise. You can do it in a variety of ways, with the main objective being bending backwards. We’ll go over the two common variations we send people home with.
The first is to lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. At that point you will push only your torso up, leaving your pelvis to sag towards the ground. Keep your low back, buttocks, and hamstrings relaxed. Try to push up until you lock your arms out or you feel strain in your low back, then return to the starting position. Now repeat this movement 10-15 times every 2-3 hours.
The other option is standing. Stand straight with your hands behind your back across your belt line. Without falling backwards, lean as far back as you can. Repeat this 10-15 times every 2-3 hours.
So here’s the catch. There’s always a catch. These exercises work on a majority of people. If your back pain has lasted for more than 2-3 days or these exercises seem to be making it worse (increased pain, pain down your leg, or weakness), make sure you schedule an appointment. You’ll still likely be fixable, but we will just need to tweak the exercise.
If these exercises haven’t fully resolved your issue, or you know someone that might benefit from our services, be sure to schedule from our website www.activehealthKC.com or call 913-341-1200.