Woke up and have a hard time getting out of bed? Tweaked your back going for that PR lift? Back sore from repetitive motions at work? Have numbness and tingling down your leg? Tired and stiff from carrying a baby around all day? If any of these sound like you, you are not alone.
88% of Americans will experience low back pain that affects their normal function.
Low back pain is the #1 cause of job-related disability and days missed of work (1).
50 billion dollars is spent on medication to treat low back pain (LBP).
So, what can you do to help prevent it and treat it?
1. Get PT first! There are several studies that show you get better faster, stay better longer, and spend less money to get better, the sooner you start physical therapy (2,3).
2. Be physically active. Weak backs=painful backs. Studies show you’ll have less back pain the stronger you are, and the more in shape you are (4). “Back pain is a lifestyle problem, not a medical problem” -Jeff Moore
3. Don’t get imaging (MRI, X-ray, CT scan, etc) right away. Treatment guidelines recommend against the use of routine imaging for non-specific low back pain (pain that is not trauma related) and recommend the use of exercise therapy. Some of the guidelines recommend the use of spinal manipulation (5).
4. Work with a physical therapist to decrease fear of movement, get stronger, and improve your pain. “Stronger people are harder to kill” -Mark Rippetoe
Some of my favorite exercises to help treat and prevent low back pain*:
1. GHD Sorensen Holds: if you can hold for 1 minute, you’re more likely to do well with deadlift training (6).
2. Deadlift: You can modify this several ways to fit your needs: Sumo, Romanian, elevated surface, seated, and more!
3. Russian Kettlebell Swings: good alternative if you can’t tolerate deadlifts or modified deadlifts (7).
*Getting evaluated by a physical therapist before attempting these exercises is always a good idea so they can determine what is best for you and your needs.
If you’ve been suffering low back pain, show your back some love and get scheduled for an appointment today to get back in motion and stay in motion.
1. Theis KA, Roblin DW, Helmick CG, Luo R. Prevalence and causes of work disability among working-age U.S. adults, 2011-2013, NHIS. Disabil Health J. 2018 Jan;11(1):108-115. doi: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2017.04.010. Epub 2017 Apr 25. PMID: 28476583.
2. Fritz JM, Childs JD, Wainner RS, Flynn TW. Primary care referral of patients with low back pain to physical therapy: impact on future health care utilization and costs. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2012 Dec 1;37(25):2114-21. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31825d32f5. PMID: 22614792.
3. Fritz JM, Kim M, Magel JS, Asche CV. Cost-Effectiveness of Primary Care Management With or Without Early Physical Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain: Economic Evaluation of a Randomized Clinical Trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2017 Mar;42(5):285-290. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000001729. PMID: 27270641.
4. Aasa, Ulrika et al. “Physical Activity Might Be of Greater Importance for Good Spinal Control Than If You Have Had Pain or Not: A Longitudinal Study.” SPINE 40 (2015): 1926–1933.
5. Oliveira CB, Maher CG, Pinto RZ, Traeger AC, Lin CC, Chenot JF, van Tulder M, Koes BW. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of non-specific low back pain in primary care: an updated overview. Eur Spine J. 2018 Nov;27(11):2791-2803. doi: 10.1007/s00586-018-5673-2. Epub 2018 Jul 3. PMID: 29971708.
6. Berglund L, Aasa B, Hellqvist J, Michaelson P, Aasa U. Which Patients With Low Back Pain Benefit From Deadlift Training? J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Jul;29(7):1803-11. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000837. PMID: 25559899.
7. McGill SM, Marshall LW. Kettlebell swing, snatch, and bottoms-up carry: back and hip muscle activation, motion, and low back loads. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jan;26(1):16-27. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31823a4063. PMID: 21997449.