On a frequent basis we see patients entering our clinics with lower back pain- presenting with various symptoms such as dull aches, sharp/burning pain, muscle spasms and/or pain referring into other areas of the body including the gluteal muscles, hips or groin.
After a thorough examination, as well as the Chiropractor listening and taking a detailed history, the cause of the back pain is usually determined.
Not surprisingly, back pain can vary widely and may result from; any sudden misguided movements, to arthritis, poor posture, sprain/strain, repetitive stress or disc pathologies.
So why will my Chiropractor prescribe exercises for me to do at home?
Low back pain or chronic low back pain (lasting longer than 12 weeks) is an extremely common and debilitating symptom that is experienced by individuals of all ages.
With 70-90% of the population experiencing low back pain at some point in their lives (with previous back pain episodes being a precursor for future episodes), it is important to incorporate exercises into our daily routine, to not only prevent recurrence (by strengthening weak muscle groups), but to also promote and increase mobility and stability.
Low back pain is complex, with many contributing factors such as psychological, biophysical and social, which may impair function, involvement in society and can become a significant financial burden.
Recommended management of most low back pain episodes (especially greater than 12 weeks) includes an exercise programme that focusses on disability prevention and improving function.
Although, since no current evidence exists regarding one superior form of exercise, guidelines suggest exercises should take into consideration the individual’s needs, capabilities and preferences. Evidence has also shown that exercise in general is an effective form of treatment for sub-acute (between 6 weeks and 3 months) or chronic low back pain in conjunction with manual therapies (such as Chiropractic).
So what does this mean for me?
Current guidelines for the management of low back pain endorse the use of exercise and physical therapies such as Chiropractic services. It is therefore of the upmost importance that the most current and effective treatment methods/advice for the management of low back pain are provided to you, the patient.
General Exercise or Core Stability exercises?
Exercise in general regardless of its type should continue to be used as a front-line treatment for low back pain, however there is also merit to prescribing core stabilisation exercises for the treatment of long term low back pain. Some studies have concluded that stabilisation exercises alone do not provide any additional benefits for patients experiencing subacute or chronic low back pain with no clinical indications of spinal instability.
However, it is important to know that your skilful and educated Chiropractor will prescribe only the appropriate exercises with full consideration of your clinical findings (such as the presence or non-presence of spinal instability) and therefore the prescription or non-prescription of motor control exercises.
Together with clinical guidelines (recommending to remain active, with an early return to physical activity to promote quicker recovery with less associated disability) and the constant evolution of low back pain exercises, maintaining spinal stability has (and still is) greatly emphasised.
Persistent low back pain is associated with poor coordination and weakness of deep core muscles and poor trunk proprioception- (your body’s awareness of its position and movement in any given environment).
The muscles targeted in core stabilisation exercises include abdominal, lumbar, diaphragmatic and pelvic floor musculature. Poor activation and coordination of these muscles can therefore cause abnormal/increased movement within the lumbar spine and thus cause spinal instability. Increased risk of injury due to early fatigue and excessive loading of extremity muscles on spinal structures is therefore a common consequence.
Core stability exercise training is designed to re-educate deep core muscle function and restore optimal low back stability when performing functional tasks and activities of daily living.
Therefore, to achieve proper function and to prevent or manage low back pain episodes, your trusted Chiropractor at Atlas Chiropractic Body Clinic will provide and demonstrate the best exercises for you to do at home. Ultimately, whether general exercise or core stability exercises (aimed to re-train deep muscles to improve stability and control of the spine) are prescribed, regular monitoring during one-on-one treatment sessions with your trusted Chiropractor will ensure correct technique is always executed.
Click the link below to book a consult with one of our highly trained Chiropractors for some easy low back exercises that can prevent and manage your low back pain today.