Have you ever felt low back pain? A tiny pinch, stretch, strain or something that just did not feel ‘right.’
If not yourself, at least one of us knows a friend, a family member, or a co - worker who has complained of low back pain that is chronic or acute in nature.
Chronic low back pain is the second leading cause of disability worldwide and the most common musculoskeletal condition affecting the adult population. Statistical evidence has shown a continuously increasing pattern of incidence and prevalence, supporting the significant impact this condition has on the contemporary world. There are many implications and burdens that may manifest from low back pain, ranging from reduced functional capacity, increased difficulty to complete activities of daily living, ongoing absence from work, and increased stress.
Low back pain can have a diversity of pathophysiological streams that have led to the presentation of pain. However, we will primarily focus on low back pain from a mechanical perspective to address the modern seated office worker or the self - professed gym rat.
Low back pain is commonly treated with analgesic medication, rehabilitation and ongoing rest. This is a paradox, as the individual resumes the same lack of inactivity that led to mechanical dysfunction and potentially even more sedentary activity. Exercise is slowly emerging as a widely recognized appropriate and effective treatment modality.
The spine has 4 compartments, the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and coccyx / sacral vertebrae. Each compartment is uniquely designed for a specific function. Low back pain occurs along the lumbar spine. A region of the area with 5 vertebrae ( consider these as hinges).
The lumbar spine is specifically meant to engage in flexion, extension and minimal rotation. Our ongoing sedentary activity, leads to the loss of our functional capacity to complete these basic movements. Our body creates specific adaptations to specific demands. If we do not train our capacity in these ranges of motion and suddenly add load (either a 20kg box, or a 20kg barbell), dysfunction and damage will ensue. An unstable spine is intolerant to spinal flexion along the sagittal plane and compressive forces. In addition, the lack of thoracic mobility, hip stability, and hip mobility with an unstable lumbar spine is the perfect recipe for low back pain. Remember, you also have to be careful on the selection of the chair you choose for your desk job. Especially for seniors. Here a couple of chair exercises for seniors that will help them strengthen their lower backs.
In order to address the low back pain in a progressive and pro - active way; it is key to address the core and develop the ability to control and brace the spine. The ability to engage the brace the spine will help improve your mobility and the body to generate force. When you can assume a braced spinal position instinctively and be able to handle imposed demands of varying loads, you are able to reduce re injury or recurrence of low back pain. Exercise that increases your functional capacity to handle activities of daily living will ensure that you live your life pain free and at optimum peak.