Category Archives for "Low Back Pain"

Low Back Strain: Running Rehab Knee Highs

Resisted knee highs strengthens the hip flexors in conjunction with your core and can help you rehab your functional running strength after a low back strain.

Loop a resistance band around your ankle. Step the opposite foot forward while having the opposite arm also forward and position yourself in a running stance with your core muscles engaged below the belly button.

Bring the knee up towards the chest matching the motion with the opposite arm and then bring the foot back down with control.

A few things to look out for when you’re doing this exercise is to control the motion of the foot so the resistance band doesn’t uncontrollably pull your foot back and also keep the arms and knees from crossing the mid line of the body and prevent the low back from flexing or extending backwards too much by keeping it in neutral.

Repeat this for one minute on each side doing 3 sets 2x/day.

Resisted knee highs strengthens the hip flexors in conjunction with your core and can help you rehab your functional running strength after a low back strain. 

Core Stability – Why does it matter?

What is the core, and why is it important?
The core is the center of our body, and its function is to stabilize the trunk while the arms and legs move. The core consists of muscles that stabilize the hips, torso, and shoulders, therefore having a strong core can help us prevent major injuries, while improving balance and stability. Building a strong core can make it easier to do most physical activities, whether it just be daily tasks or sport performance. Weak core muscles can lead to poor posture, low back pain, and muscle injuries, therefore it is crucial to build a strong core alongside your daily exercise routine. 

Benefits of core strength/stability include:

  • Injury prevention
  • Low back pain prevention
  • Improved posture
  • Balance and stability doing every day tasks such as housework
  • Improved athletic performance. 

Exercises for core stability strengthening

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

Healthwise Staff (2017). Fitness: Increasing Core Stability.
Retrieved from https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/zt1226

Chronic Low Back Pain: Rectus Femoris Muscle Stretch

This stretch can help with the chronic low back pain you may consistently have.

Prepare a nice cushion for your left knee to be on and a step stool to place the top of the foot on to have greater knee flexion. This will isolate the muscle stretch.

Keep your posture nice and tall and imagine there’s a string pulling your whole spine upwards from your pelvis, right up your entire back and neck and up to the top of your head. Then engage your inner core muscles tight below your belly button and keep your low back flat and contract your left butt muscles.

Next, bend the right knee forward and keep your posture nice and tall without leaning backwards. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times for each side.

This stretch can help with the chronic low back pain you may consistently have. If you experience pain or have any problems doing this exercise then consult your local Physiotherapist before continuing.

Preventing Repetitive Strain Injuries At A Desk Job

Labour-intensive industries get a lot of attention when it comes to work-related injuries, but employees who work in office settings are also at risk. Poor ergonomics and organization can lead to common office injuries such as computer eye strains, falls and most importantly, repetitive use injuries.

Our bones and muscles make up our musculoskeletal system. This system allows us to perform activities such as walking, running, and anything requiring the movement of the body. A repetitive strain injury occurs when repeated movements produce stress on your body. Unfortunately, many office jobs require repetitive motions to fulfill our duties, and for this reason, they are the most common type of injury found in the office (WCB). Examples of repetitive strain injuries include carpal tunnel, tendonitis, radial tunnel syndrome, and others.

Symptoms of repetitive strain injuries include:
  · Dull aching
  · Loss of sensation (numbness) especially at night
  · Tingling and burning sensations
  · Swelling around wrist/hand
  · Clumsiness (impaired dexterity, loss of ability to grasp items, etc.)
  · Muscle weakness, fatigue, and/or spasms

Prevention:
  · Stop or reduce the intensity of activity causing the pain
  · Taking breaks from repetitive tasks
  · While at the desk…
      · Ensure proper ergonomics
      · Avoid slouching
      · Avoid bending the wrists when typing
      · Avoid hitting the keys too hard when typing
      · Don’t grip the mouse too tightly
      · Ensure you are working in an appropriate temperature
Standing up and performing stretches such as the following:

WCB (n.d.) Office Ergonomics. Retrieved from: https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/public/office_ergo.pdf

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.

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