It’s not what you expect to hear when you come in for a treatment. You explain your lower back pain to us, indicating that you are stiff and sore in the morning, you struggle to get out of the car and can’t sit for too long and now we are telling you to exercise.
The majority of people presenting with lower back pain is generally not due to a serious disease or serious back problem. In most cases the anatomical cause of the pain cannot be classified and hence is referred to as non-specific lower back pain. It is important to remember lower back pain is a symptom not a disease.
Exercise when done safely is a proven effective treatment for lower back pain. While some back conditions may require rest, a specific or modified exercise program, treatment and/or further investigation, in most cases exercise can still be performed.
Simple exercises such as walking, stretching, swimming, pilates and some specific strength exercises can help. While past advice was to rest until the pain eases, recent research shows that you are likely to recover more quickly by getting moving again and by getting back to work as soon as possible.
Exercising in cases of non-specific low back pain assists to reduce stiffness and maintain flexibility of the ligaments and tendons. It also helps stretch, strengthen and guide repair of the muscles that help to support the back. Reduced use of the lower back and abdominal muscles will result in weakness in these muscles leading to further lack of support for the lower back.
If you are unsure if exercise is safe for your condition ensure you get the appropriate diagnosis and advice prior to commencing an exercise program.