Degenerative disc disease, stenosis, disc bulges, disc herniations, sciatica, and spinal arthritis are some of the most common back conditions. Almost everyone will experience back pain at some point in their lives. This pain can vary from mild to severe. It can be short-lived or long-lasting. However it happens, back pain can make many everyday activities difficult to perform.
There are common risk factors that can contribute to having back problems. We have found five common limitations that can contribute to back pain that simply does not go away. They include:
- Stiffness of the thoracic spine (upper back)
- Stiffness of the hip muscles
- Weakness of the lower back
- Weakness of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings)
- Weakness of core muscles
Having normal mobility at your upper back and hips is crucial for normal movement. Loss of mobility in these areas can make simple things like touching toes and tying shoelaces difficult. In addition, performing exercises that require bending (e.g. deadlifts, kettlebell swings) can be very difficult to perform with good technique. The combination of repetitive movements with poor technique can overload spinal structures and contribute to pain. Structures such as the discs, vertebrae, nerves, and muscles can all be impacted.
If you have chronic back pain, the first common-sense recommendation is to take a short break from the activity that irritates your spine. This will create an environment for your pain to subside. Once your pain is manageable, your next step should be learning how to activate and engage weak muscles. If you have back pain, your back, trunk, and hip buttock muscles may not be firing well. Exercises like glute bridges, supermans, and supine pullovers can help you retrain these dormant muscle groups. Once your muscles fire better, tension and stiffness will subside further and you will feel better. If you have pain that persists, receiving hands-on therapy can alleviate pain that happens to be stubborn.
After you learn how to use your muscles, your next step should be restoring movement. The basic function of the spine is to bend forward, bend backward, and twist. Jefferson curls, prone lumbar extension/rotation, and kettlebell rotations can develop normal movement at this stage. In order to keep back pain from becoming a recurring problem, advancing to strength-based exercises is recommended. When performed with a hinge technique, deadlifts are a great strength-building exercise.
Most of the aforementioned exercises can be found in our video library.
When addressed with a specialized physical therapy program, overcoming back pain is possible. However, ignoring pain and engaging in repetitive activity can result in a further decline of your back health. If you're worried about your back pain, the physical therapists at Movement Solutions would be glad to help you.
We invite you to request a back consultation with one of our specialists. This is an opportunity to ask questions, obtain clarity about your back pain, and foster confidence that we can help you. If you’re certain that we’re a good fit to work together, you can decide on the next step.
If you’re in pain but unsure about what you should do, call us at (864) 558-7346 and ask how we can help.