The Do’s and Don’ts of Lower Back Pain Exercises

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Lower back pain is a common and often frustrating complaint.

At least 80% of Australians will have back pain at some point in their life. It may be self-resolving, or it may require intervention such as hands on physical therapy, medical treatment and/or rehabilitation.

Lower back pain can be acute or chronic and can be caused by many different things.

It may cause by:

  • Lifting incorrectly, sitting too long or postural related muscle and joint strain,
  • Tight, spasm and strained muscles,
  • Disc bulge or prolapse, also commonly referred to as “slipped disc”,
  • Disc degeneration,
  • Joint degeneration – i.e., arthritis,
  • Joint inflammation,
  • Nerve irritation,
  • Scoliosis,
  • Pregnancy related postural changes,
  • Underlying inflammatory condition,
  • Infection,
  • Tumour

The correct diagnosis of your back pain will determine the best course of action for treatment, pain management, returning to work, exercise and rehabilitation.

Exercise and rehabilitation for lower back pain are extremely important in your recovery. Creating strength, stability, flexibility and movement in a safe, stable and secure environment will encourage optimal healing and recovery.

When designing and implementing an exercise and rehab program for YOUR lower back pain, one of the first things we advise our patients is that they feel comfortable and educated as to the do’s and don’ts of performing each exercise! This means they really understand what they should be doing and why.

When they perform each exercise for their back pain they:

  • Understand exactly what the problem is, i.e., their diagnosis
  • Why they are performing the exercise/s,
  • How to correctly perform the exercise/s,
  • Where the exercise/s should be felt
  • Where the exercise/s shouldn’t be felt, i.e., common mistakes that are made when doing these exercises
  • That they keep breathing while doing the exercise/s
  • How many repetitions are performed for each exercise
  • How to make each exercise simpler or harder. This will depend on current pain levels and their current strength and stability, and confidence.

When a rehab and exercise program is designed, many factors should also take into account.

A great rehab program will ensure it:

  • Fits with YOUR work and family life,
  • Have as few exercises as possible!!!!
  • Tools/equipment required are minimal or very accessible and inexpensive,
  • Exercises prescribed will include ones that someone actually enjoys doing and can see and understand the benefit of them,
  • Can be done anywhere (within reason!),
  • Based on scientific evidence,
  • Allows the patient to feel confident in the exercises they have been prescribed,
  • See the progress and hence positive changes to their pain, physique and ability to perform tasks/activities that may be been have difficult in the past

Rehabilitation programs will aim to give you:

  • Education
  • Strength
  • Stability
  • Functional movement
  • Flexibility
  • Movement adaptation capacity and awareness
  • Breathing awareness and importance for exercise


So make sure your exercise program is tailored for YOU!

There are so many generic programs or exercises that if performed incorrectly, or without the correct guidance can make your issue worse.

To manage back pain google “osteopath near me” to find your local osteopath who can design an easy and effective rehab program for you.