Low back injuries are the most common orthopedic injury secondary to the lifestyle of the typical American and the anatomy of the low back. Americans are prone to low back injuries because they typically do not exercise enough, are largely sedentary, have poor postural habits and use poor body mechanics when lifting. The anatomy of the low back is also part of the reason it is so vulnerable to injury. The lumbar spine has significantly less structural stability than the thoracic spine and sacrum while at the same time having support far more weight than the cervical spine.
Exercises for Low Back Pain
These exercises are basic movements that are done to help return regular movement to the spine without irritating it. These exercises can be done every day.
Hamstring Stretch: While lying flat on your back bring the affected leg up using a strap at the end of your foot until you feel a stretch. Do this stretch 3 times with 30 seconds.
Abdominal Bracing: While lying flat on your back bend your knees while placing your feet about hip distance apart. Then suck in your tummy like you are trying to put on a tight pair of pants. Do 30 times with 5 second holds each rep.
Bridges: While lying flat on your back bend your knees while placing your feet about hip distance apart. Then tighten your gluteals and abdominal muscles. Next lift up your hips until your shoulders and knees are in line with each other. Do this exercise 3 sets of 10 with each rep do 5 second hold.
Consider seeing a Physical Therapist to improve recovery.
A physical therapist can improve recovery by personalizing an exercise program, using joint manipulation and soft tissue release. A physical therapist will also on proper posture, body mechanics and ergonomics. Physical therapy has been shown to improve the recovery from low back injury. Physical therapy has been shown to be significantly less expensive and just as effective surgical care.
Charles Amburgey PT, DPT
I am a senior physical therapist at the Two Trees Ortho site in Ventura (2895 Loma Vista Rd, Ste A). I have been working with Two Trees since 2015. I am specifically interested in pathologies involving radiculopathy, the ankle and the foot.
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Delitto A, George S Z, Dillen L V, Whitman J M, Sowa G, Shekelle P, et al. Clinical Practice Guidelines Linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health from the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. JOSPT. 201; 42: A1-A57.
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