February 2, 2021 – Back pain continues to be among the top conditions physical therapists treat. Back pain knows no season, but it does seem that the snow and ice of winter bring on more back issues in our patients. On top of that the inactivity that winter provides also is not good for our backs. Often keeping our joints moving and our muscles active will help with some of our more basic back issues.
Multiple studies have shown that physical therapy can help treat low back pain and recently some insurance companies are recommending physical therapy before any other medical treatment. In some cases they are covering physical therapy 100% so your costs are ZERO!
A recent study published in 2018 (https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-6773.12984), concluded “When LBP (low back pain) patients saw a PT first, there was lower utilization of high‐cost medical services as well as lower opioid use, and cost shifts reflecting the change in utilization.”
Below is a list of 4 exercises to begin with to help improve your low back pain or to keep your back “healthy”. These exercises help to improve flexibility, range of motion, strength, and core function to decrease your low back pain symptoms or the likelihood of them becoming a bigger problem.
Lie with both feet placed flat on the supporting surface and knees bent. Keeping your shoulders flat on the surface, allow your knees to slowly fall together to the side, rotating at your lower back as you do so. Return to the starting position and then allow them to slowly fall to the opposite side. Repeat 20 times and perform twice a day.
Supine Hamstring Kicks
Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your knee bent, place your hands behind one knee and pull your leg towards your chest. While holding your leg in this position, actively straighten your leg, feeling a stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold for 2 seconds. Repeat 20 times on each leg, twice a day.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep a neutral spine (small space between low back and the floor). Place your hands on your stomach so that your finger tips are palpating just inside your hip bone. Activate your transverse abdominus by drawing in your abdomen without moving your spine upon exhale. Some cues to properly activate your deep core is to brace your stomach as if your about to be punched in the stomach. You do not want your central abdominal muscle to protrude upward. When contracted correctly, the contour of the abdominal wall should be a balanced, slightly rounded appearance which should be maintained throughout the exercise with normal respiration. Hold each contraction for approximately 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times, twice daily.
Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Using your abdominals, gently roll your hips backwards, feeling your low back press downwards towards the floor. Next, roll your hips forward feeling your low back slightly arch away from the floor. Repeat 20 times, twice daily.
Of course there are times when you can do all you can to prevent pain. You can do these exercises, watch how you lift and move and you can still have some pain or something that does not feel normal. If that happens you can always contact Witte Physical Therapy for a free consultation to learn more about your pain and what your next steps need to be. Give us a call in Louisville at 402-234-3333, Plattsmouth at 402-298-4747, or Hooper at 402-654-2121.