Lower Back Pain... Made Simple

What is lower back pain?

Lower back/lumbar spine pain (LBP) can be any injury/discomfort related to the lower back region. Approximately over 80% of Australians will suffer from some form of LBP.

So why is it so common? Lower back issues can arise from many insidious factors that don’t appear very sinister on the surface. Most commonly they’re heavily lifestyle related. Primarily for office and sedentary based jobs, sitting down all day can cause a lot of issues.

What's so dangerous about sitting? The act of sitting itself isn’t dangerous in isolation. However, if you work a 8-10 hour job seated for most of it and don’t get any walks or outdoor time in, then this can become a serious problem. When we’re sitting for prolonged periods of time our muscles and joints begin to stiffen up. This can then cause a range of blood-flow reduction to the area and eventually lead to weakness around the structures of the lower back.

Additionally, poorly set up office stations can put excessive stress on one particular area of the lower back and then lead to uneven stresses throughout the day and your body.

What happens?

Generally what we find with LBP episodes can vary significantly from each individual. It is always best to have it assessed and looked out thoroughly by a professional. Generally speaking though, insidious onsets of LBP commonly lead to tightening up of hip and pelvis muscles/joints which often affect a person’s ability to bend and straighten their backs. In more severe cases, the intervertebral disc or nerve roots around the spinal joints can be affected which can lead to symptoms down the legs as well.

How to fix it?

Again the exact answer to this question will largely vary from person to person. In-person assessments are the most accurate form of determining the best solution. However, the general principles for most LBP episodes will be roughly as follows:

  • Keep active and moving. Bed rest is not the solution unless there is a critical and emergency situation. Consult with your physio if you’re unsure

  • Gradual return to everyday activities. Generally guided by your recovery results and physio

  • Develop your lumbopelvic range and control through specific and targeted exercises

  • Regain lower back and lower body strength to become more resilient to everyday tasks

Below are 3 simple exercises to get started with lower back pain holding you back:

1. Cat - camels x 2 x 12

  1. Aim to work from each level of the spine slow and controlled

  2. Start from the pelvis and work up from each level through either flexion or extension

  3. Use your hands and knees to ground yourself into the floor

  4. Only move within the ranges that are pain-free

2. Spinal CARs x 2min

  1. Start by rounding the spine downwards the pelvis from each level of the spine

  2. Rotate to one direction as far as you can without pain, then begin to side bend towards that side slowly and controlled

  3. From there, start extending the spine from the lower back up towards the upper back

  4. Repeat on this in the opposite direction until you reach 2 minutes

3. Pigeon Stretch

  1. Aim to line up knee with the hip if comfortable and achievable

  2. Keep an upright position and lean forward - aim to take your belly button forward

  3. Hold for 1 - 2 min

If you’re still wanting to know about how to fix your LBP, book an appointment with us today to make your recovery simple.