Back Pain Prevention with Dr. Cheema
Low Back/Lumbar Pain Prevention
By Dr. Nikita Cheema
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, about two-thirds of adults will experience low back pain at some point in their life. What exactly counts as low back pain? Well I can only give you a proper definition with a little anatomy lesson. Don’t worry, there won't be a test!
The low back, or lumbar spine, begins at the ribcage and extends through the base of the pelvis. When looking at an individual from the side, you can see where their lumbar spine starts by seeing where the spine curves inward towards the abdomen. It is important avoid thinking of the spine as a single structure of bones stacked on top of each other; rather, it is a combination of muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, discs and fascia.
Mainstream medicine is failing to diagnose and properly treat individuals with both acute and chronic low back pain.
The typical diagnosis includes “nonspecific low back pain” or “general low back pain” which is a broad diagnosis that doesn’t provide insight to the problem. The treatment is usually followed by bed rest, muscle relaxers, painkillers (typically opioids), steroid injections, and in some cases spinal surgeries, followed by a recommendation to get more exercise. While the idea of these treatments is to allow patients to get pain relief, most of these treatments are short lived and the pain will return. It is important to understand what is causing the pain and go to movement specialists for a deeper understanding into the pain causing factors. Two main things that are important are the mobility and stability in the spine.
The Importance of Spinal Stability
Spinal stability is important as it prevents collapse of the spinal column through everyday activities and supports loads from any direction. In the words of Stuart McGill, the low back guru, “a stiffened spine, is a stable and functional one.” Most people believe their low backs are “tight” and in order to relieve their low back pain, they increase their mobility, via yoga, walking, or doing stretches found online. Not in all cases, but in most low back patients, they lack spinal stability and stiffness in the correct areas. When kicking a soccer ball, or catching a baseball, you need mobility in the shoulder and the hips. But when doing everyday tasks, like sitting at your desk, picking your kids up off the ground, or even putting on your pants, stability is required. The low back must stabilize in order to make sure all the little daily movements we do are not going to harm the back.
There have been many studies to show that core stabilization will increase as you increase the deep trunk muscles. The muscles of the core are no longer being referred to the abdominal muscles and having “washboard abs” is not a good indicator of having a strong core. The core consists of the muscles below the diaphragm (around the bottom of your ribcage) to the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that start and stop you from going to the bathroom). Maintaining a strong core, while increasing mobility in the hips will help to not only relieve low back pain but banish it from existence. See the pictures and directions below to see one recommended mobility exercise for the low back: glute foam rolling; one stability exercise for the core: dead bug exercise.
Foam Rolling Your Glutes
Sit on the foam roller, crossing your ankle over your opposite knee.
Tilt to the side of the bent knee, focusing on one glute at a time.
Place your hands on the floor behind you to support yourself.
Roll from the top of the glute to the bottom of the glute, scanning the area for tender spots.
Hold or oscillate over that area until pain diminishes.
If this exercise is too intense, modify it by uncrossing the ankle, placing your foot on the ground, and repeating the previous instructions.
Discontinue if you feel increased symptoms or radiating pain.
Dead Bug Exercise
On your back and with the pelvis stabilized, hands by your sides, bring your legs to 90 degrees one after the other, and lift your arms up.
Under control, lower the right leg and left arm toward the floor and lift back up.
Keep the pelvis still and stabilized with your core engaged at all times.
Repeat with the opposite leg and arm.
Nagging low back pain can bring your day to a grinding halt. Don’t let it take up sick days or keep you from enjoying your everyday activities!
How can Airrosti help?
We consistently and effectively treat musculoskeletal conditions, such as low back pain, by addressing the cause of pain and not just mitigating the symptoms. We provide a detailed examination to diagnose the true injury in a 1 hour of patient centered care. During this time, we are able to give you highly specific, non-invasive manual therapy, followed by an individualized active rehabilitation program.
Ask your doctor or call today to schedule:
(800) 404-6050 | Airrosti.com
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