Lower back pain is one of the most common problems that patients come to us with and is also one of the most common causes of physical disability, especially at the office. Whether it’s the long hours of standing or the long hours of sitting. Done incorrectly, both can aggravate and add to your lower back discomfort.
Physiotherapy is one of the most widely used forms of treatment used for finding relief from lower back pain. It is used both, as a single line of treatment as well as in combination with other treatments such as massage, heat pads, icing, traction, ultrasound or short wave diathermy.
The human back is a very complex system of interlocking elements including the vertebrae, discs, joints, ligaments, and muscles. Because there are so many different elements involved, the first course of medicine is usually followed by an intense physiotherapy-led rehabilitation program.
Types of Physiotherapy to treat the lower back
Active physical therapy:
Active physical therapy is a very important way of rehabilitating the spine. We’ve listed down the few ‘essentials’ for a holistic back program.
- Stretching for back pain exercise, which includes simple hamstring stretches
- 15-20 minutes of dynamic lumbar stabilization or other prescribed exercises to strengthen the muscles in the back.
- Low impact conditioning
2) Passive physical therapy:
In cases where exercise is either too painful or otherwise not possible, the therapist may consider passive therapies, where the patient doesn’t actively do anything but has treatment given to him in the form of:
- Heat/ice packs to control and reduce inflammation
- TENS units where electrical current is passed through microneedles
The goals of physical therapy are to decrease back pain, increase function, and teach the patient a maintenance program to prevent future back problems.
Exercises to reduce Lower Back Pain
1) Stretching. Proper stretching of the muscles along with active exercise will help maintain normal range of motion and provide relief from lower back pain in most cases. For most patients we’d advise a specific stretching routine designed by your physio to loosen up the targeted area. As a general rule, low back pain patients should focus on stretching the lower back muscles, abdominal muscles, hips, and legs. Remember not to pulse or bounce during stretching.
2) Core strengthening exercises.
These are specific exercises to strengthen the abs and other muscles in the abdomen along with muscles in the lower back to provide the aforementioned ‘belt of muscle’ around the spine. Specific abdominal strengthening, such as sit-ups, crunches, abdominal machines, and leg raises. Examples are
- Low back exercises (hyperextensions), which can be performed on machines or by simply lying on the stomach and slowly raising the chest off the ground.
- ‘Good-mornings’ are also an exercise to strengthen the lower back muscles. This exercise requires the patient to stand with legs straight and shoulder width apart, with a broom-stick or weighted bar across the shoulders. The patient then slowly bends forward until the face is parallel to the floor and then raises back up.
3) Dynamic stabilization exercises.
These exercises involve the use of a variety of exercises and may include use of exercise balls, balancing machines or specific stabilizing exercises.
These exercises might help you relieve pain depending on your condition, if you still need an expert opinion, feel free to get in touch and our top-rated physiotherapists will help you get better.