Lower Back Pain Treatment: Stretches and Weight Lifting

by Taylor

Stretches for Lower Back Pain

Starting with the hamstring stretch, this is a simple lower back pain treatment stretches to do and is probably the most effective in releasing lower back pain. The hamstring muscles tend to tighten with people who have lower back pain, and over time this can be the cause of a severe back problem. If these muscles remain tight, it can often lead to a more tense and stressed posture in the lower back, and often people with this problem find it hard to stand up straight. So by releasing the tension in these muscles, it can help to reduce the pain. Static stretching is the best method for this, and you should hold this stretch for a good 30 seconds. If you feel you need to, just pull the leg further with your hands but do not push the stretch with your leg as this can cause pain at the back end of the knee.

Stretching is an excellent idea for those who have muscle-related lower back pain, as it can help to relieve the pain and may prevent it from returning. You can do this by yourself or with the help of somebody else who will do the stretching for you. In this case, it would be advisable to have a heated wheat bag on the painful areas for 10 minutes to help relax the muscles prior to stretching. This will make them more pliable and easier to stretch. Stretching should be pain-free. Once the muscle is stretched further than it is used to, it will cause pain as you are actually tearing the muscle.

Hamstring Stretch

Our method for stretching works on the basis that tight hamstring muscles can refer pain to the lower back. The stretching elongates the muscle resulting in a reduction in the amount of tension that it can place on the pelvis. It is important to know that the source of pain in disc-related conditions and joint degeneration in the lower back can be from the hamstring muscles being too tight, as well as the more commonly known referred pain from the structure of the lower back. It is for this reason that regular hamstring stretching can prevent and reduce lower back pain. This exercise actually has 3 different levels designed to progressively increase the degree of stretch. Level 1: Whilst sitting on the floor, straighten one leg in front of the body with the heel on the floor. Then place the heel of the other foot on the floor near the knee of the extended leg. Lean forward with the hips until you feel the stretch down the back of the thigh of the extended leg. Keep a straight back using your hands on either side of the hips for support. Level 2: Lying on your back, lift the leg to be stretched keeping the knee slightly bent. Use a towel or similar around the foot and straighten the leg as much as is comfortable. Then slowly pull back on the towel until a stretch is felt in the back of the thigh. Remember to only go as far as is comfortable. This can be repeated 3 to 5 times. Level 3: This is a PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) technique developed to get an even greater increase in flexibility. This technique is not for everyone and there are some contraindications of PNF that need considering. A contraindication would be if you have a strain in the muscle. It is best to check this technique with a physio or health professional.

Cat-Camel Stretch

Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, with your knees directly below your hips and your shoulders, elbows, and wrists in line and perpendicular to the floor. Look straight down with your head aligned with your torso. Inhale and round your back, arching it up as you tuck your chin to your chest and your tailbone under. This is the cat posture. Hold, then release into the camel posture. Lift your chin and chest and look up toward the ceiling. Allow your pelvis and stomach to sag toward the floor. Your head and buttocks should move up as your lower back is pressing down. This should create a mild sagittal plane motion at each segment of your spine. Hold this position for a few seconds before transitioning back to the cat posture. Alternate between the cat and camel postures for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Most articles will tell you to only do this exercise for 10 reps. I have chronic low back pain, and I do it for more like 60-90 a day and have been doing it for years. It keeps my back feeling good. Up to you how many reps you do.

Child’s Pose

Let’s illustrate the important points again. We have seen that the child’s pose is all about letting go. It brings a sense of surrender to the pose, a power of peacefulness and letting go. It also has a gentle calming effect on the mind and the entire nervous system. When you can learn to surrender in this way and let go, it helps you to cope with the hectic pace of life that’s always on full speed. This is especially true when you are experiencing a panic attack. During a panic attack, your sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive. It is what’s responsible for the fight-flight response. Learning to engage the parasympathetic nervous system and trigger the relaxation response is a powerful way to overcome a panic attack. Currently, your sympathetic system is dominating and over time through various relaxation techniques, you can learn to balance the two systems. The child’s pose is a perfect restorative relaxation posture and learning to utilize this pose when you are feeling anxious can help ease the symptoms.

Knee-to-Chest Stretch

Lie back on the floor with both knees bent. Rest your head on the floor. Use both hands to pull up one knee and press it towards your chest. You should feel a gentle stretch along your lower back and buttocks. If that is not too painful, try to straighten your other leg, then pull the knee towards the chest. Hold on to the knee when both of them are close to the chest. This is a good stretch for the lower back and also the hamstring. It is a good stretch to start off with for people with lower back pain as it is less painful and less likely to cause further injury. Hold the position for 20 seconds and do this 5 times on each leg. Static Back for Back Pain Relief Static back is an exercise with minimal risk, and a huge potential upside – particularly for those with lower back pain. And of course, it is easy to do. The Static Back exercise can help relieve back pain and correct postural type problems. It is effectively used after activities where you are on your feet, particularly after exercise, or after a day of excessive standing or walking. Static Back is also a great segue into a period of constructive rest – such as lying down with your legs propped on a chair. Static Back reduces the cumulative compression in the low back, spinal and hip muscles and joints. And the position of your bent legs put a positive stretch in the front of the hip joints, which is good for loosening arthritic changes in this location.

Pelvic Tilt

Standing Stand with your back against a wall and your feet about six inches away. Tilt your pelvis to flatten your back against the wall. Again, hold this position for a few seconds and repeat several times. This exercise will also help you learn to keep your back flat during other activities, such as sitting or lifting.

Lying on the Floor Lie on your back with your knees bent. Use a small, rolled-up towel to support your head. Use the natural curve in your lumbar spine as a reference point. Now, tilt your pelvis so that your back is flat against the floor. You will feel the pressure in your pelvis when you reach the endpoint; this is the action of the muscles in your lower abdomen. Hold for a few seconds and then relax. You can do this exercise several times in a row.

Tilt your pelvis to flatten your back. This is an important exercise for learning how to control your lower back. You can perform this one lying on the floor or standing. Experiment with both positions; choose the one that is more comfortable for you. If you are pregnant, then lie on your side to perform this exercise.

Weight Lifting for Lower Back Pain

The Deadlift has been used in the rehabilitation of lower back pain, but those who are still in acute conditions of pain have shown negative effects. This is due to the structural change in the spine after injury. However, for those who don’t suffer from acute conditions, it may help to increase strength and provide prevention against further injuries.

This exercise can increase muscle strength in the legs, knees, hips, and back. The legs and back act as stabilizers to the spine against the force of the bar, which attempts to bend you at the middle. Deadlift may also increase bone density, but this is dependent on the level of intensity.

Caution must be taken with the load that is applied because high weights can increase intra-abdominal pressure to an unsafe level, which can cause the lower back pain to increase. Consider using a lower back pain weightlifting treatment belt to help support the back and increase abdominal pressure.

It is recommended that if you suffer from acute or chronic back pain, do not perform this exercise as it may result in further injury. However, if you do decide to proceed with this exercise, low weights of 10-15 repetitions are sufficient so you may not have to undergo disc surgery because of the high frequency of attempts at max weights.

Deadlift is an exercise whose goal is to raise a bar that is placed on the ground to the height of the hips. At this point, the knees and hips should be locked out. It is important to keep the bar as close to the body as possible to reduce the load placed on the back. Once the bar has passed the knees, the hips should move forward to meet the bar.

Deadlifts with Proper Form

In terms of a weight that is “too heavy” – this will be different for every individual. As a general guideline, you should never attempt to lift a weight that you are unable to move explosively. Deadlifts should always be performed with a concentric phase (lifting the weight) that is faster than the eccentric phase (lowering the weight). If you are unable to move the weight fast, it is too heavy. From here, the best way to guarantee safe progression is to follow a pyramid-style set/rep structure, gradually increasing the weight each week while doing fewer reps. This means that at no point will you be fatigued when lifting the heaviest weights, which is often when form can begin to deteriorate.

Once you have the appropriate form down with an unloaded bar, you can begin to gradually increase the amount of weight being lifted. This is a crucial step – as mentioned earlier, deadlifts are not inherently dangerous or bad for your lower back, but if performed incorrectly, the consequences can be severe. The lumbar muscles are designed to be used – they are not fragile. However, using them incorrectly or unsafely can lead to injury, and the risk of this when deadlifting is higher than with any other exercise.

Remember the key points: • Keep the bar as close to your body as possible. • Push with your heels, not your toes. • Keep your shoulder blades directly over the bar. • Consciously activate your lower back muscles to lock out. • Maintain a neutral spine position from start to finish.

Core Strengthening Exercises

You don’t want to perform situps and leg raises because they will cause too much stress on your lower back and irritate your back injury. Instead, you want to perform exercises that will build your core without causing you further pain. The best way to perform core exercises for your low back is to work the muscles that line your waist. It is important to make sure you do not work any muscles that will irritate your back, which is why you should avoid the exercises I mentioned (situps and leg raises) until your pain is gone, and even then they are risky. The barbell roll out is an excellent exercise for building core stability, but may be painful if you have an acute injury. If you can find a way to perform this exercise without pain, it will go a long way for injury prevention. The best bang for your buck will come from planks and side planks. These exercises are probably the safest you can do and should help build the endurance in your core that you need to prevent further injury. Hold each of them for as long as you can and do more sets over time. Another good exercise to try is the woodchopper, although this is more for building strength than endurance. These exercises should be performed in place of any others in an attempt to build core strength. As your low back pain begins to subside, you may gradually add other exercises, but stop immediately if they cause pain in your back.

Squats with Proper Technique

The descent should begin by moving the hips back, like closing a car door with your hip. This action will cause a forward shin angle. It is important that the angle of the back remains constant throughout the movement. The constant angle will minimize shear forces on the spine. It is also important to keep the knees in line with the foot. If the knees buckle in, it will cause unwanted stress on the knee and also increase shear forces on the spine. Maintaining the arch in the foot is also an important factor. People with a collapsed arch (pes planus) or a high arch (pescavus) are more susceptible to injury. An easy way to ensure proper arch is by squeezing the floor with the toes. This action will cause external rotation of the hip. The hole at the bottom of the squat is where the magic happens. This is a total body exercise that does wonders for general strength and stability. Contract the abdominals hard and take a large breath into the stomach, hold it, and slowly come up while maintaining a rigid spine. This may sound all too simple, but the squat is a difficult exercise to perform correctly, and it may take some practice to get it right. Always spend extra time on hip flexibility in the warm-up and on rest days. A proper squat is an exercise that can cure bad posture and back pain. And always remember to wear a belt if the rep range is below five, enough said.

Setting up with squats requires a sturdy platform. A power rack is ideal with its solid base and various bar positions. Set the bar on a rack that will best match the height of the lift. Position the barbell just below the trap muscles. If the bar is too high or too low on the back, it will cause too much stress on the back and too much forward lean. Using a safety pin that is one notch below the bar height is a great tool to ensure that the bar will be even height with each set. Once the bar is positioned, step under the bar and place the back on your shoulders just below the neck. It is important that you do not rest the bar on the neck. Line your feet under the bar at a stance that best matches how you would walk. In theory, the squat is the action of sitting down and then standing back up. Take one step back with one foot to avoid hitting the racked bar. The next steps are purely individual based on comfort.

Back Extensions

The back extension is performed lying face down on the floor, often with the legs resting on a bench or mat to eliminate discomfort. The hands are usually placed by the ears. Using the muscles of the lower back, the torso is lifted off the floor. This exercise is a concentrated strength movement and the resistance used should be increased as the strength to perform the movement is achieved. It takes time to learn to use the lower back muscles effectively and in many cases the movement is done by using the gluteus maximus as the primary mover which can aggravate the lower back. A beginner should start with only bodyweight or a light resistance and ensure that fatigue in the lower back precedes fatigue in the glutes. This exercise is a favorite among therapists for treatment and prevention of lower back pain, selecting high repetitions and low resistance to achieve an endurance strengthening effect.

Seated Rows

Keeping the trunk in the slouched position, drive the elbows behind the body and pull the handles to the front of the shoulder. At the end of this movement, the shoulder blades should be pulled toward each other. If you were placing your finger between your shoulder blades, someone should be able to knock it away. Slowly return to the starting position. Step 4 is the most important part of the movement. It is common for people to use too much weight and use the body to get the handles moving. This will not adequately load the muscles of the upper back and may cause an increase in pain. The trial-and-error technique, using a minimal load at first, often helps to establish the proper movement pattern for this exercise.

Grasp the inside handles. In order to keep the hands in this position, you will need to adjust the width of the handle attachment. If the handles are too close together or too far apart, it will increase the load on the shoulder muscles. You should feel a comfortable stretch in the chest and front of the shoulder when you are holding the handles.

Sit in front of the machine and place your feet on the platform. Sit upright with your knees slightly bent. It is important to maintain this position when performing the exercise. Next, round your lower back to assume a slouched position. Pull your shoulders back and down. Hold this position throughout the exercise.

Seated rows will strengthen the muscles of the upper back, the back of the shoulder, and the back of the arm. This exercise can be performed on a variety of equipment. You said that you have access to a Universal machine. The instructions below are for performing seated rows using the Universal machine.

Additional Treatments for Lower Back Pain

Seeking the advice of a physical therapist can be advantageous for individuals suffering from chronic lower back pain. Physical therapists assess the specific needs of the patient and implement an array of treatments. Such treatment may include, and is not limited to, muscle energy techniques, joint mobilization, exercise programs, and some form of education. This approach can be beneficial, as it provides a level of personalized care that’s not always received by medication or other forms of therapy. A good physical therapy program can effectively increase function and control pain. However, it’s essential that the patient commits to any home exercises prescribed by the therapist. Success of the therapy is often directly related to this.

Cold therapy is used to reduce inflammation and swelling. When the tissue is damaged, fluid build up can occur and cold is effective at reducing fluid build up which can help control the pain. Cold can be applied to the affected area in many forms, such as ice packs, frozen bags of vegetables, and cold therapy wraps. Cold can be too intense and limit congeal level on deep tissue. The best approach is to use cold therapy after an activity that may worsen the pain or cause increased inflammation. Use cold treatment for periods of 20 minutes, several times a day and continue to do so until the pain has subsided, this can take a couple of days to a week.

Heat and cold therapy can help alleviate lower back pain. Heat therapy increases the blood flow and brings healing nutrients to the affected area. Heat also inhibits the pain messages being sent to the brain. Heat can come in many forms, such as microwaveable heat wraps, hot towels or hot baths. It’s generally recommended to use continual low level heat for at least a period of 6 weeks.

Heat and Cold Therapy

Using cold and heat to treat lower back pain can be inexpensive and easy to do. When done effectively, they can reduce a significant amount of pain. All you will need to begin is two large towels. The first technique is to use ice. You should never apply ice directly to the skin. Always wrap the ice inside a cloth or towel. Hold the ice pack over the painful area for no more than 20 minutes. This should numb the area. The next technique is to use heat. It is best to use moist heat. Heat a damp towel in the microwave for 20 seconds. Do not overheat as this can cause burns. Apply the warm damp towel to the area. The use of heat and cold for back pain relief can be applied every couple hours (unless you are sleeping) for the first 48-72 hours. After that time frame, you should still use the technique, but only apply the ice for the first 20 minutes, then heat for 20 minutes, this can be done 2-3 times a day. This is done to help reduce inflammation and relax the muscles in the lower back.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy treatments for lower back pain can vary from passive to active. You must learn ways to perform your daily tasks with minimal strain to the back. Treatment should start with back pain exercises and moving on to more strenuous activities if your back pain is gone. There are several types of stretching exercises for low back pain. It must be remembered that back pain exercises can have different effects on different individuals. Therefore, it is always a good idea to get a professional to review the back pain exercises before starting. Exercises for low back pain should be done carefully to ensure the benefits are obtained. If you feel increased pain at any time, stop the exercises. Static stretching involves flexing the painful back part to its end range of motion and then holding that position. This can be done with hamstring, pelvic tilt, and leg muscles stretching exercises. Do not attempt any movement that caused increased pain. Retry the exercises after discussing it with a health professional. These exercises might cause discomfort the first few times, but if done with the right method and pain-free, they will produce good results.

Pain Medications

A high proportion of patients with NSAID use for chronic low back pain or other musculoskeletal pain ultimately have gastrointestinal side effects, with the relative risk of complicated ulcers or bleeding being doubled, and NSAID use being attributed as a cause in about a third of all new cases of congestive heart failure. It is important…

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used for musculoskeletal pain and also include a range of drugs available by prescription e.g. diclofenac, and also at a lower dosage over the counter via pharmacies. An Australian survey on 1128 primary care patients prescribed NSAIDs for acute low back pain reported that 52% were still using them at four weeks, despite little being known about the effectiveness of longer-term use for this condition. This may be because a Cochrane review on NSAIDs for chronic low back pain showed at best only a modest short-term benefit, but concluded that the overall long-term effects of NSAIDs in chronic low back pain are unknown. Due to lack of access to individual level data, long-term prospective studies on patients are difficult to conduct with most data not available on the full range of conditions treated with NSAIDs and the potential risks over benefits for this treatment.

Analgesic medications are those specifically used for pain relief, and include paracetamol, NSAIDs, and COX-2 inhibitors. The published evidence suggests that the use of paracetamol is less effective than placebo for relieving acute low back pain, and is not effective at enhancing recovery. Recommendations to trial paracetamol for acute low back pain are still supported by various agencies but patient understanding of its at best modest potential benefit should be explained.

Medications are the most frequently recommended treatment for low back pain. However, there is a lot of confusion and uncertainty about which medications to take, understanding their relative benefits and potential harm over others, and when to use them. This article will address the different types of medications and their pros and cons.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has also been proven to improve sleep and reduce anxiety and depression. This is important for back pain sufferers, as they often have trouble sleeping and depression is common among those with chronic pain. This can result in greater benefits to the patient. A study with results such as these have been published this year. This came with the result of 67 participants aged 60 years or older. These patients were given a single session of massage therapy, compared to those with no massage in cognitive testing. The results were shown as significant improvements in the massage group, concluding that massage therapy is effective and has many mental health benefits for elderly patients.

For example, in a study for lower back pain, patients received massage on specific days over a 10-day period. Comparing them to a group who didn’t receive massage, or received usual care i.e. pain medication. The massage group had significant improvements in their back function, in comparison to the other groups. This included lower days of ‘bothersome’ back pain in the past 5 days, and few activity limitations due to back pain.

Massage therapy can be an effective way to treat back pain. There are many different massage techniques which can provide a variety of benefits. The most common form of massage is a simple muscle rub which is called effleurage. This also includes deep tissue massage which can cause discomfort to the patient. Although this may sound painful, the long term benefits can be great. There are several techniques that have been studied for various back conditions.

Chiropractic Care

A chiropractor is a practitioner who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of muscular disorders, specifically the spinal column. This form of treatment is appropriate for some people with certain low back conditions, particularly when one considers a treatment plan consisting of an educational period, possible exercise, and in some cases a referral to a spinal manipulation may be the best way to initiate the treatment. Four studies (42-45) suggested that chiropractic manipulation may be helpful for low back pain. Data comparing chiropractic manipulation to massage or to an educational intervention are not available. The article in the Cochrane in 2004 about the effectiveness of manual therapies for non-specific low back pain included the paper from the UK, which did not only confirm the high prevalence and the burden of low back pain, but also the limited evidence in terms of efficacy of manual therapy for this condition. Some well-performed efficacy studies in the future will help to establish which low back pain patients are most likely to benefit from which forms of manual therapies.

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