Low back pain is very common. So common, in fact, that
most (80%) Australian adults will experience at least one episode of low back
pain during their lifetime. Although often very painful, most low back pain is
not caused by a serious problem and will resolve with some simple care.
Physical activity is an important part of that care.
Exercise is great medicine for lower back pain. You can choose from many options of exercise, with no specific type being the best. Just stay as active as you can, allowing for the restrictions in movement that may come with pain.
Staying active means different things to different people:
People with low back pain usually do not compete, work for medals or train hard in these activities. They simply use these leisure activities for therapy, and just to experience the joy and pleasure of movement.
Occasionally, however, low back pain can be caused by serious disease or damage to the tissues of the back. In these cases, you should seek advice from a health care practitioner as soon as possible.
Seek help from a healthcare professional
Accredited exercise physiologists can help you plan a suitable graduated/strengthening training program in your preferred form of exercise. Your spine and the surrounding muscles are designed for movement. It is important you seek assistance with planning exercise if you have had multiple episodes of low back pain, because the back muscles can respond differently after repeated bouts of back pain.
To keep physically improving, your exercise program must become increasingly more difficult; this is called graduated training. For example if you stayed active by walking, to gain further health benefits you now need to walk further or faster, walk up hills, or carry extra weights.
Muscle strength, particularly in the small muscles that stabilise the lower back, does not return automatically when low back pain eases. To regain this strength, you may need to do some specific strengthening exercises, with graduated difficulty to progressively increase strength.
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27 May 2016