Low Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries seen by Physical Therapists and is a major cause of disability and activity limitations (1). Low back pain is most common in the third decade of life with increasing prevalence until age 60-65 (2) and it is estimated that 70-85% of people will have low back pain at some point in their life. (3) Often times, low back pain is a symptom commonly resulting from prolonged postures, faulty mechanics, and lack of stabilization of the lumbar spine or even a combination of factors!
Many of our daily activities require flexed postures such as while working at a desk or sitting and working on a cell phone. In these postures, our back, hips, and knees are flexed and gravity wins! Many people respond well to extension exercises to overcome these flexion preferences and core stabilization to support the back. If you have chronic low back pain or low back pain that has been exacerbated by a movement event, you may benefit from trying the exercises below and see if they make a difference for you and your back pain.
Tip: Back pain with disc involvement may affect nerves and radiate into your hip and leg. With these exercises it is important to pay attention to how your symptoms may be changing; if pain/symptoms move up your leg and into your back alone this is a great sign, even if the intensity changes! This is called centralization and is the first step to resolving low back pain. If your symptoms move further down your leg (peripheralization), stop the exercise.
If you have questions or need help addressing your back pain, reach out to your physician for a physical therapy referral and schedule your initial evaluation. With an initial evaluation, you can receive a 1:1 movement assessment where a physical therapist can create a plan specific to you to address your symptoms and provide you with the tools to improve your quality of life.
Hoy D, Brooks P, Blyth F, Buchbinder R. The Epidemiology of low back pain. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2010 Dec;24(6):769-81.
Mbada CE, Ayanniyi O, Ogunlade SO, Orimolade EA, Oladiran AB, Ogundele AO. Influence of Mckenzie protocol and two modes of endurance exercises on health-related quality of life of patients with long-term mechanical low-back pain. Pan Afr Med J. 2014 Jan 18;17 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):5.
Prone on Elbows Photo: http://www.spineandsportspt.org/exercises/poe.php
Posterior Pelvic Tilt Photo: https://iris.hattiesburgclinic.com/patadv/exkit/Orthopedic/English/0290000202back056m_English.html
Peripheralization/Centralization Photo: https://www.bsrphysicaltherapy.com/2020/07/19/mckenzie-exercises-back-pain/