Category Archives for "Low Back Pain"

Addressing Low Back Pain while Performing a Squat (Weighted or Unweighted)

Athletes around the world regularly perform weighted squats. Research has shown that squatting has a direct impact on your body’s power, which is the ability to overcome a resistance with speed (Loxtercamp, 2018). Therefore, squatting can result in great power and an increase in sprint speed. General benefits include increased flexibility, greater core strength, as well as protection from injury as a result of better coordination of the body. 

However, squats have been known to cause unwanted low back soreness. Although squatting will work the muscles of the lower back, if the low back becomes the most targeted region during the squat, chronic soreness and overuse injury can occur. Previous injury to the lower back, poor technique, as well as weakness of the core or surrounding muscles can contribute to this overuse of the back muscles (Gordon & Bloxham, 2016). Barbell back squats are also the most common for causing back pain as the weight is loaded across the back (Loxtercamp, 2018). If you find this movement difficult, but still want to add weight to your squats, you may want to opt for goblet squats or front squats. 

Goblet Squats

Front Squats

Prevention

  • Proper footwear
  • Progressing weight/load too quickly when squatting
  • Correct stance and posture
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_CuIKf227A
  • Spinal alignment
    • Ensure you’re looking straight ahead or an upward gaze 
  • Joint mobility 

If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.

Gordon, R., & Bloxham, S. (2016). A systematic review of the effects of exercise and physical activity on non-specific chronic low back pain. Healthcare. 4(2). doi:10.3390/healthcare4020022

Loxtercamp, B. (2018). Influence of attentional focus on a weighted barbell back squat among experienced performers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 50(1). doi:10.1248/01.mss.0000536504.18312.43

Low Back Pain and Injuries – Inner Core Strength Bent Knee

If you are experiencing low back pain or have injured your back, this exercise is good for activating the inner core stability muscles of the lower back when you have injured it. 

With your feet in the air and your knees up to your chest keep your lower back flat and your inner core muscles engaged below your belly button. Start with slowly lowering one bent knee down to allow the foot to reach the ground, and then return it to the start position above ninety degrees.

Make sure your lower back remains flat and the opposite knee and leg do not move. Repeat this movement for 10 repetitions, doing 3 sets on both sides.

This exercise is good for activating the inner core stability muscles of the lower back when you have injured it. If you have any pain during the exercise or are unsure about what you are doing, consult your local Physiotherapist before continuing. 

Low Back Pain & Running: Wall Plank Knee Highs

Does your lower back get sore from running or sports that involve running? Are your core and hip flexor muscles weak? Is your hip movement altered?

This exercise may be helpful. Start by doing a posterior pelvic tilt to flatten your lower back and keep the inner core muscles engaged below your belly button to stabilize this posture. Going into a plank position on the wall, bring one knee in a straight line up towards your chest and then lower it back down.

Repeat this on the other side while alternating each knee to chest doing a total of 10 repetitions for each side. Perform a total of 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each side.

If you have any pain during the exercise or are unsure about what you are doing, consult your local Physiotherapist before continuing.

Low Back Strain Injuries: Ball Walk Outs

Start by pulling in your inner core by making your waistline skinnier below the belly button. Then roll out into a plank position on the ball in full control with a flat spine. Lift one leg off of the ball with full control while keeping your hips level with each other. Try to keep you toes pointed to the floor as much as possible and lead with your heal. Do 3 sets of 5 repetitions holding for 5 seconds on each side to start. Then progress to 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions holding for 10 seconds when stronger. Plank walk-outs on a ball is great for strengthening your core in coordination with strengthening your posterior hip and gluteal muscles. This can help with a faster functional recovery and prevent future lower back strain injuries in sports and everyday physical activity.

Low Back Pain: Core Stability Strengthening

Start off with one hand below your belly button and pull your inner abdominal muscles downward. Imagine you are making yourself skinnier at your waistline. Put your other hand by your low back to make sure you keep it nice and flat. Slowly lift one bent knee up towards the chest, followed by the other knee while keeping your core engaged, low back flat and breathing into your diaphragm. Then slowly lower one leg down at a time. Repeat this for 3 to 5 minutes as a basic core stability strength exercise 4 times daily. To progress and increase the difficulty of this exercise, start with both knees and both arms straight up in the air. Reach one arm up above your head towards the ground and lower your opposite leg straight down to the floor while keeping your core engaged, back nice and flat and breathing into your diaphragm. Return the arm and knee back to the start position and do this for the other arm and leg. Repeat this alternating pattern with the arm and opposite leg for 3 to 5 minutes 4 times daily. This is the “Helpless Turtle Pose”. If you are experiencing any acute or sharp pain consult your Physiotherapist before doing either of these exercises. 

Low Back Pain – Gluteus Medius Strengthening

Do you have lower Back Pain? You may have weakness in your glute med muscle! This exercise is great for strengthening that and help support your low back. Begin by lying on your left side to strengthen your left Gluteus medius “Butt” muscles. Keep your right hip stacked on top of your left and place your right hand on your right hip. Then bring your right foot on the ground in front of your left knee and bend the left knee to 90 degrees. Bring your left foot up, while maintaining the ninety degree bend in your knee. Hold this for 10 seconds; Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Low Back Pain: Gluteus Medius Strengthening vs Wall

This simple exercise works the gluteus medius muscle of your hip if it’s really weak! Start by leaning your forearm into the wall and have your outside hip flared out. With your inner core engaged and your posture tall flex your inside knee up to your chest . Start by squeezing the outside hip in and drive across to the other hip and upwards. Bring the outside hip in line with the knee and foot below. Then release and drop your hip back out and repeat. Do 10 repetitions for 3 sets. This is a close-chain exercise to strengthen the Gluteus Medius Muscle which can dynamically stabilize your hip and pelvis and help decrease low back pain when doing weight bearing activities like running, any running sports or even walking and hiking.

Mid and Low Back Stiffness: External Oblique Stretch

This exercise is to stretch out the external oblique muscles. Start by placing the arm of the side to be stretched out to the side on the ground. You can hold a weight or dumbbell in your hand to anchor yourself down. Then bring both knees up to your chest and twist them down to the opposite side. Use your other hand to hold your knees down. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds for 3 sets for both sides. If you are experiencing any acute or sharp pain consult your Physiotherapist before trying this exercise. 

Lower Back Treatment: 2-Legged Squat

Starting with tall posture, engage your core below the belly button by drawing the inner core muscles toward the spine without arching the low back. With arms in a ready position do a two legged squat with your body weight distributed equally over both feet. Stay in Spine neutral. Don’t go any lower than a ninety degree bend in the knees, keeping your knees in alignment with your second toe and over your heels as much as possible. Hold for a good long second and then straighten back up with your butt muscles to the start. Do three sets of ten repetitions daily. The two legged squat is a great exercise for strengthening the quad and posterior hip muscles with the core to help strengthen the lower back. The key is to keep your inner core low back stabilizing muscles engaged by making yourself skinnier at the waistline while you keep breathing. This will help you build more low back core strength with your thighs and legs.

Lower Back Treatment: 1-Legged Squat

Starting with tall posture, engage your core muscles below the belly button by drawing the lower abs inwards toward the spine. Avoid arching the low back. With arms in a ready position do a one-legged squat with your body weight distributed equally over the foot. Don’t go any lower than a ninety degree bend in the knees, keeping your knees in alignment with your second toe and over your heel as much as possible. Hold for a good long second and then straighten back up with your butt muscles to the start. Do three sets of 10 repetitions daily. The one-legged squat is a great exercise that’s effective in strengthening the quad and posterior hip muscles with the core and balance and proprioception to help further strengthen the lower back. The key is to keep your inner core low back stabilizing muscles engaged by making yourself skinnier at the waistline while you keep breathing. This will help you build increasingly higher level of low back core strength with your thighs and legs.