The back is a complex structure made up of muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. It supports the trunk of your body while enabling you to bend forward, sideways and backwards. A large number of different back problems have been identified by researchers over the years but back pain remains one of the most common reasons why people visit their GP or physiotherapist today. Chronic low back pain affects around four million Australians every year - that's more than twelve percent! The majority of these may be attributed to physical inactivity combined with poor muscle strength and flexibility.
Back pain has many causes, some of which include:
If you are experiencing low back pain, there are a few exercises you can do at home to help ease your symptoms. The following Pilates exercises have been specifically designed for people with low back pain but please consult with a physiotherapist before starting any exercise program:
To practice this, lie down face up knees bent and feet on the ground. Breathe in and let your tailbone angle towards the ground (anterior tilt) then breathe out and angle your tailbone towards your chest. Aim for six to twelve repetitions and repeat three times daily.
Another great exercise for people experiencing back pain because it promotes movement in the spine that helps improve range of motion as well as relieves pressure. To do this, start on all fours with your back straight. Slowly round out your back like a cat as you inhale and then exhale as you allow your back to arch down before you return to being flat by lifting up through your spine until it's in line with your hips again. Repeat six to twelve for two to three sets.
Side Lying Leg Lifts
Side lying leg lifts are one of our favourite exercises because not only does it stretch both adductors at the same time but also strengthens the opposite muscles too making sure that they provide stability around our pelvic joints. To do this, lie on your side with the bottom leg bent and top leg straight. Keep your back pressed against the wall or couch and slowly lift your top leg as high as you can without lifting your hips off of the ground. Hold for two to six seconds before lowering back down. Repeat eight to twelve times then switch sides for two or three sets.
This exercise is fantastic for strengthening the gluteal muscles. The bridge pose can also help improve posture by elongating the spine. To do it, start by lying flat on your back with feet flat on the ground and hip - width apart. Bring your heels close to your bum so that your toes are pointing towards your knees. Drive your heels into the ground, and lift your torso and upper legs into the air, extending your hips until your thighs and torso are in line with each other - hold for five seconds. Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position. Repeat eight to twelve times for two to three sets.
If you experience any back pain while doing these exercises, stop and evaluate your self and acknowledge if the pain settles quickly too often we are told to immediately stop and rest however in back pain movement is very helpful in recovery. If your pain was to persist or increase then please consult with a physiotherapist. So it's important to listen to your body and learn how well you are tolerating the movements. All of these exercises should be done under the guidance of a professional who can help create a personalised program for you that takes into account your specific needs and limitations.
Pilates is an excellent way to reduce back pain as well as improve strength, flexibility, and posture - so give it a try today! If back pain is preventing you from living your life to the fullest or if you would just like some guidance on exercises that can help ease your symptoms, please contact our Tarragindi Physiotherapy Clinic for more information. Our Brisbane physiotherapists are experts in helping people with low back pain feel better fast. Call us on 07 3706 3407 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to hear from you!