written by: Lindsay Kizinkewich, PT, DPT, OCS of Precision Physical Therapy
The first run of Foundations Back Series was a great success over the month of September!
Doctors of Physical Therapy, David Bond and Lindsay Kizinkewich, spent Tuesday evenings leading an exercise and education based class about management and prevention of back pain. Through nutrition, hydration, sleep, relaxation techniques, and movement pattern training with progressive loading, the participants gained an understanding of the importance of a holistic approach to back health.
Our passion for back health is rooted in the staggering number of people that live with back pain everyday. Worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability, preventing people from engaging in work and everyday activities. Although, many people with low back pain recover, reoccurrence is common, even without a serious underlying condition.
Current research suggests, that MRIs findings do not correlate with current symptoms or future prediction of back pain or injury, and variations of normal or normal aging process occur in the spine without symptoms of pain.
Back pain is most often mechanical, due to movement pattern dysfunctions, muscle imbalances or weakness, or mobility deficits, and can be treated effectively with a conservative approach.
We would like to share some of the course highlights to help you feel your best and function at your greatest potential.
One of the greatest pieces of advice to share is how to manage an acute episode of low back pain. It is important to remember early intervention is key for a quicker and more complete recovery process.
Some Recovery Golden Nuggets to hasten the healing process include:
Avoiding prolonged rest; especially bed rest
Utilize “active rest”; meaning to get up and move intermittently throughout the day.
“Your best position is your NEXT position”. Changing positions frequently will help reduce stiffness and pain.
Keep “neutral spine” in mind and use a lumbar roll/ pillow to support your low back when sitting. Firm sitting surfaces, rather than cushy couches or recliners will typically feel better.
In addition to walking, our favorite acute low back pain exercise are:
Hands and Knees Rocking
This position lightly engages the core muscles, while offloading the spine and structures around the spine. Gently rock your body weight over your hands, and back to decrease muscle guarding, improve mobility, and decrease pain.
Cat / Camel
From the hands and knees position, draw your bellybutton up toward your spine, and allow your pelvis and tail bone to tilt inward, slightly rounding up your low and mid back. Hold for 5 counts, and reverse directions to allowing the low back to arch downward. Hold for 5 counts. Important to only move through a painfree range of motion.
For those people with recurrent episodes or chronic back pain a program consisting of 150 hours per week of moderate- to high-intensity exercise is a best treatment. During Foundations Back Series, we taught aerobic, body weight, resistance/ loading exercises and movement patterns that are essential are a well- structured, self-care back program.
One of these movement patterns is hip hinge and loaded deadlift.
Using a dowel to cues a straight back, maintaining three points of contact on the back of your head, between the shoulder blades, and tailbone. Slightly bend the knees and hinge the hips back until you feel pulling/ loading through the gluts and hamstrings. Be sure to keep the three points of contact with the dowel, and not let the spine flex or round.
Once you have mastered the hip hinge with the dowel, to ensure proper form and position, you can begin to load the movement with weight bar, trap bar, dumb bells, or kettle bell.
As always, maintaining a positive mindset that you pain will improve is important in
recovery. Keep in the front of your mind that the human body is resilient, and the spine has inherent anatomical/structural strength and is difficult to cause actual structural damage with everyday movement and motions. Intensity of pain does not correlate with pathology, therefore resuming normal activities, even when experiencing some pain, as early as possible is encouraged. Recognize the improvement in activity levels, not just pain relief as an important marker as you begin to return to previous activities.
Low back pain has a favorable prognosis if treated with Physical Therapy within the first 14 days of onset.
We look forward to sharing more self-care information! Please let us know if Physical Therapy can help you get you back to doing the things you love without pain.