Everyday I work with patients to help them with low back pain. Back pain will either be acute pain or chronic pain. Acute back pain will have a sudden onset and usually be described as sharp shooting pain. Chronic back pain will slowly accumulate and is often described as a dull ache.
Treatment for each type of back pain can vary depending on presenting symptoms. Here I will discuss the basic exercises we utilize to help people with chronic low back pain. Patients will usually see results within the week after starting this routine. Chronic back pain is often the result of a muscle imbalance. In the physical therapy world this imbalance is described as lower crossed syndrome. Lower crossed syndrome is the result of certain muscles becoming weak/de-activated and certain muscles becoming shortened/tight.
To solve the underlying issue we must address these muscle imbalances. Chiropractic alone is an extremely effective tool for low back pain, but when dealing with a patient who is suffering from lower crossed syndrome the results don’t always last as long as we would like with chiropractic alone. So in these cases we add some activation exercises along with chiropractic to correct the issue with lasting results.
Below are the top 3 exercises we use in our office to treat chronic low back pain. =
Low Back Extensions: Begin with feet 12-16 inches away from the wall and forearms against the wall. Keeping the legs straight, drop hips in toward the wall and hold for two seconds. Return to starting position and repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps.
Deadbug Exercise: Start flat on your back and bring the knees above the hips, keeping the legs at a 90 degree angle. Relax shoulders, keep your back neutral to the floor, and breathe in and out through your belly. Try to hold for at least one minute, eventually working up to longer. If this is difficult, a good modification is to place a chair underneath the legs. Repeat this exercise 3 times.
Glute Bridge Exercise: Start this exercise by lying flat on your back with your feet planted on the floor, hips distance apart. Inhale to activate diaphragm; you should feel expansion 360 degrees through your belly, lower ribs, and lower back. Squeeze the glutes(butt) and lift your hips up off the floor as high as you can. Exhale as you lower down and repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps. Adding these simple exercises into your routine will be extremely helpful in reducing chronic low back pain. Often I will start patients with these exercises 1-2 times day for the first week or two. Then I will drop the frequency to every other day for a week and finally change it to 2-3x week.
Along with these exercises we utilize some stretching routines as well which I will discuss in greater detail in the next article.