Physiotherapy_blog
Physiotherapy_blog

Physiotherapy Exercises for Lower Back Pain: 8 Do’s and Don’ts

Most people will likely experience some extent of lower back pain—especially with age. In 2017, around 7.5% of the global population was estimated to suffer from lower back pain. Furthermore, it’s also been identified as the leading cause of disability worldwide. Needless to say, it’s a prevalent problem for many. (1)

Lower back physiotherapy exercises can help alleviate pain if you do them correctly. But improper exercise or daily practice can make things worse. Even if you’re doing special exercises to help your lower back, there are certain things you may want to do or avoid doing.

Here are eight dos and don’ts to remember when you’re doing physiotherapy exercises for lower back pain:

1. DO start with light exercise

Starting immediately with advanced exercises is like trying to run a marathon with no training. Yes, you probably want to do everything you can to alleviate pain as fast as possible. But you need to start with light, simple exercise sessions—especially if you’ve been resting or your body isn’t accustomed to lots of physical activity.

Start slow with simple activities like light yoga or walking. If you have a yoga instructor, inform them of your pain areas so they can instruct you accordingly.

2. DON’T continue any exercises that cause you additional pain

The last thing you want to do is make your pain worse. If some exercises hurt, stop doing them. Additionally, it might help if you take a break from any sports or very physical activities until your back heals.

Everyone’s case is different. What works for one may not work for all, but there are some well-known exercises to avoid when you’re experiencing lower back pain. This includes the following:

  • Crunches
  • Toe-touches
  • Lifting anything overhead
  • Leg lifts
  • Running

Any of the above exercises will potentially cause additional strain on your lower back region, which may intensify pain or worsen your back problem. (2)

3. DO stretch regularly

It’s not uncommon to hear that stretching can help with muscle and joint pain in various areas of the body. Turning it into a regular habit may be quite beneficial for those experiencing pain in their lower back.

Stretches designed to alleviate neck and back pain tend to help reduce tension in the muscles and ligaments that support the spine. Decreasing stress in these areas can reduce the risk of back pain and disability as a result thereof. (3)

4. DON’T sleep faced-down

Your sleeping position affects your body. While there may be benefits to sleeping on your stomach, this position isn’t always the best when you have lower back pain. In this position, your back can arch, putting more pressure on your spine, neck, and lower back. Staying like this for too long can lead to increased pain in those regions. (4)

Instead, try sleeping on your side or back. A physiotherapist may recommend a specific position.

5. DO try to fix your posture

Your normal posture can affect your body, much like your sleeping position. For example, looking down at your smartphone or sitting in a reclined position for long hours every day is likely to cause stress or pressure on your spine and back.

A trainer or physiotherapist may prescribe strengthening exercises to help improve your overall posture. You should also consistently pay attention to your posture when sitting, standing, walking, etc.

6. DON’T overexert yourself

Avoid tasks and activities that could put additional stress on the painful area. As mentioned earlier, some exercises and movements can contribute to lower back pain. The same goes for everyday tasks that could overexert your neck and back.

Examples of such tasks include carrying heavy loads, bending to lift something heavy, carrying a backpack or shoulder bag, high-impact activities like running or jumping, and wearing heels. In essence, anything that can put weight or stress on the region is best to avoid.

7. DO see a professional physiotherapist

Scheduling a visit to your physiotherapist is one of the best things you can do if you’re suffering from lower back pain. Physical therapists are trained to help people through these sorts of problems.

8. DON’T lay or sit still for too long

As much as you may feel the best solution is to slump down on the couch until the pain subsides, this can do more harm than good. Lying down or sitting on the couch for too long can make your condition worse—think back to the earlier points concerning body posture.

Simple and light activity spread throughout your day will likely yield better results than remaining still.

Conclusion

Lower back pain can be uncomfortable, but with the right exercise and cultivation of good habits, it would typically subside after a few weeks. Take note of the dos and don’ts discussed in this post. Integrating these into your life may help alleviate the pain and pressure you’re experiencing. But remember that self-care can only go so far. You must visit a physiotherapy clinic if the symptoms ever get worse or refuse to go away.

Reference List:

  1. “The Global Burden of Low Back Pain – International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) (iasp-pain.org)”, Source: https://www.iasp-pain.org/resources/fact-sheets/the-global-burden-of-low-back-pain/
  2. “Which Exercises to Avoid With Lower Back Pain? 8 Workouts (medicinenet.com)”, Source: https://www.medicinenet.com/which_exercises_to_avoid_with_lower_back_pain/article.htm
  3. “Stretching for Back Pain Relief (spine-health.com)”, Source: https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/stretching-back-pain-relief
  4. “Is Sleeping on Your Stomach Bad for You? | Sleep Foundation”, Source: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleeping-positions/sleeping-on-stomach