7 Simple Steps to Fixing Back Pain (by Doctors of Physical Therapy)

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Back Pain

Americans spend more than $50 billion dollars a year on low back pain!

It is one of the most common health complaints in the United States and around the world. Low back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work.

It can come in many different forms such as a general ache/pain to more severe issues such as a bulging or herniated disc, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, and much more.

Very often these cases can be crippling, leaving people bent over, unable to sleep, wincing in pain, and unable to walk or get out of bed.

A recent survey by the National Institute of Health indicated that low back pain was the most common pain (28.4%) experienced, followed by severe headache or migraine (16.6%) and neck pain (15.4%).

And it’s not just causing us physical pain, but also affecting our general health and mental state. Those who report having low back pain are 3X more likely to be in poor health and 4X more likely to experience psychological distress as people without low back pain.

Despite the massive impact back pain is having on our health and well-being, we don’t seem to be improving the issue. In fact, it’s only getting worse!  In large part his is because we’re not getting to the root issue.

==>Go here to learn more about what is truly causing most of our back pain and how it’s being ignored.

Many people think that the majority of back pain comes from trauma such as car accidents, sports injuries, carrying the groceries and doing yard work…but that is not the case.

As Doctors of Physical Therapy who specialize in treating the spine and treated thousands of patients in pain, we’ve noticed some things that are often overlooked by conventional thinking.

The truth is that we have lost our natural ways of moving. We’ve been sitting at our desk, hunched over our computers, driving in our cars, and slumped over on the couch.

The sedentary lifestyle that we are living in these modern times has us in chronically poor positions, which our bodies eventually adapt to.

It’s these adaptions that make our bodies vulnerable to injury when we do move and so the blame gets placed on picking things up and “throwing our back out.”

As a society we struggle with tackling this epidemic of back pain because we’ve been going about the solution in the wrong way. We’ve been taking pain pills, applying creams and patches, and getting injections…all to numb ourselves so we don’t FEEL the pain.

Failing to get to the root of the problem is like trying to mop up water off the floor when the faucet is turned on and the sink is overflowing. You’ll never remove the water from the floor if the faucet is still on! The only way to get what you want is to turn off the faucet! Even the best mop on the market won’t do the trick! In the same way, popping pills, applying creams and often getting injections doesn’t get to the root of the problem and therefore you don’t get the results you truly desire. This approach eventually leads to more severe issues where costly surgeries are needed in order to repair mechanical damage.

When an operation is needed…we all pay for it!

If we keep going at this pace the future doesn’t look so bright. We’ll only see higher healthcare costs, more pain and suffering, a decline in function and an authentic sense of movement that will never be expressed.

Movement is part our essence as humans and if we lose it we will lose a part of who we are!

==>Learn about how you can get to the root issue of what is causing most of your pain.  

Our intention with this blog post is to make a massive dent in the universe and we’ll be asking for your help!

Back pain is somewhat like a fork in the road in terms of dictating your future. We can truly get to the root of the problem and abolish the pain or we can continue doing what we’ve been doing by talking pills, making trips to the doctor’s office and getting costly surgeries.

The 1st video you see below contains detailed instruction on what we feel are the most effective corrective exercises for fixing general back pain for the general population.

It is our intention with this video to empower and inspire you to take and ACTIVE role in the health of your back.

We will walk you through all the dos and don’ts of each exercise. It’s important to remember that each exercise has a specific intention and it’s incredibly important that they are performed correctly for the best results.

We also feel it’s important that you understand the WHY behind each exercise. A big part of what we do as physical therapists is educating our patients on WHAT is really causing their pain and what they the NEED TO DO in order to fix it!

The best long-term results are experienced in patients who learn how to manage themselves and don’t have to constantly depend on external sources for help.

After watching the video please let us know if you have any questions in the comments section.

Here are the locations of the different exercises we covered:

  • lumbar rotations – 5:01
  • prone on elbows – 6:47
  • pressups – 8:11
  • figure 4 stretch – 9:40
  • hip flexor stretch (edge of bed) – 11:34
  • hip flexor stretch (half kneeling) – 13:16
  • bridge: 14:40
  • banded bridge: 16:28
  • hard style plank: 17:45
  • bird dog: 20:14

Here is a place where you can get resistance bands for the bridges.

We also use the resistance bands frequently in our Sitting Solution program and find them to be an extremely effective, cost efficient tool to have around the office.

Many people find it helpful to have a clear program laid out for them to do. We also feel it’s important that the right cues get delivered at the right time so that you feel what you’re supposed to feel and therefore get more in touch with your body.

 

In this 2nd video (below) we will walk you through the following routine:

A1.  lumbar rotations x 1 min; rest 15 sec

A2.  pressups x 10; rest 15 sec x 2

B.   figure 4 stretch x 45 sec R/L x 2

C.   hip flexor stretch x 45 sec R/L x 2

D1.  bridges x 15; rest 15 sec

D2.  hardstyle plank x 1 min; rest 15 sec

D3.  bird dogs x 10; rest 30 sec x 2

As explained in the video this is a suggested program that you can use, however feel free to alter the reps and sets as needed. Everyone is going to be different in terms of how mobile and stabile they are in different areas of their body.

Please listen to your body, be safe and be smart!

It’s also important to note that the exercises we’ve laid out in these videos are only part of the solution we are proposing in getting you out of pain.

The other issue that needs to be addressed is incorporating more movement throughout the day. Not only do we need more movement, but we need QUALITY movement in specific and intentional directions to offset the negative effect that chronic sitting and a “flexion based society” has had on our bodies.

==>Go here to learn how our SITTING SOLUTION program can help you get out of pain, restore your posture and offset the negative effect that sitting has on your body.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

As we mentioned back pain affects all of us! It’s become a tremendous expense in healthcare and it’s causing us to live unnecessarily painful lives, which carries over to poor health and well-being.

We are committed to making a difference by bringing more awareness to this issue and giving people the tools and resources to manage their own pain without having to go down the rabbit hole of pain pills and surgeries.

You can play apart in bringing this awareness by sharing this article with your family, friends and social networks.   Awareness is always the greatest agent for change!

The future we envision is one where people have learned to manage their own pain and prevent the chronic cycle of pain and suffering that so many our experiencing today.

We hope you found this information useful and we look forward to hearing how this goes for you!

 

To your health,

Chad Walding, DPT, OPEX L1, RKC
Brenda Walding, DPT, FDN

 

PS

==>The Sitting Solution will not only fix your back pain but also ALL the other pains your experiencing!

 

23 Responses to 7 Simple Steps to Fixing Back Pain (by Doctors of Physical Therapy)

  1. Chris

    Thanks so much for these very informative videos, I will definitely be putting these exercises into practice
    Chris

    • Chad Walding

      Thanks Chris…you’re very welcome! We are glad you liked them!

      Chad

  2. Pascal

    Woke up with a stiffed back.
    I did this routine and the relief is immediate :-).
    This is something i need to incorporate in my morning routines. Thanks a million Chad for posting this.
    Are there any exercices we can do with the foam roller for low back pain?

    • Chad Walding

      Hey Pascal! Glad you got some relief!

      Regarding your question…I mentioned this to you on Facebook but I’ll mention it again here so others can get my thoughts.

      I don’t really find foam rolling the low back very helpful. The priority there is typically extension (as we did in the video with pressups) and midline stabilization.

      The best uses that I have found with the foam roll with regards to the spine/posture are for thoracic extension, soft tissue mobilization to the surround erector muscles and a pec stretch.

      You can find a video of these here:
      https://youtu.be/Q7sBMicSn14

      Thanks again for sharing Pascal! We really appreciate that!

      Chad

  3. Rita Purser

    Really like the excellent videos and will definitely keep at them.

    • Chad Walding

      Awesome Rita! Thanks so much for your kind words and support!

      Keep at them and let us know how it goes or if you have any questions:)

      Chad

  4. Sue

    Do you recommend doing this before or after regular exercise? I love these..thanks so much!

    • Chad Walding

      Hey Sue…great question! These could be use in the pre-or post workout period although if I had to pick one over the other I would suggest doing them BEFORE you’re workout in order to prep your body for more aggressive work.

      If your workout is fairly low in intensity/load then you could do them after…BUT if it’s more on the aggressive side with heavy loads, complex movement patterns, etc…I would suggest doing them before in order to wakeup the back a bit.

      Make sense?

      Thanks for watching, we appreciate your kind words and please let us know how everything is going of you:)

      Chad

  5. Lisa

    Hi Chad,
    I am loving your videos and have looked for any and all that you have on you tube over the last few weeks. I have facet joint syndrome and my facet joints are quite arthritic. I’ve had injections done already and have totally modified my crossfit workouts (no impact, no heavy lifting or over head lifting and only really light weight kettlebells) for the last year to avoid spinal compression. I’m frustrated that I still experience pain daily (especially if I sit for too long). Can you suggest any particular exercises or mobility movements that I should add? I would also appreciate knowing what I should avoid in terms of movement patterns or stretches that might just be exacerbating my problem.
    Thanks you again for the great videos!
    Lisa

    • Chad Walding

      Hey Lisa!

      Thanks for the kind words! I’m assuming your pain is localized and not radiating or shooting down your legs since it’s more in the joint.

      And it it’s sounds like you’re fairly active since you’ve been doing crossfit but something must have happened to make you drop the load when lifting. Was this pain or something your doc recommended?

      And I’m also sensing that you’ve got diet in lifestyle down since you’re into those kinds of things so inflammation is being managed right?

      Also…drinking about half your body weight in ounces of water with a pinch of high quality salt so your tissue is not hydrated will help (you may be doing this though:)

      With what it sounds like you having going on you should be pretty good with the pressups I’ve shown here in this video (about 10 every 2 hours). You can also do those in standing by placing your hands behind your hips and leaning back to end range.

      Also…I would encourage you to stabilize the midline as much as possible with things like a hardstyle plank (in the video), kettle bell carries, suitcase carries, racked carries etc….watch for your pelvis tilting forward as you do though!

      Hip and ankle mobility will also be very important to decreased the stress on the back!

      The direction I would suggest you AVOID would be repetive flexion so I would stay away from things like sit ups, toes to bar, GHD situps, etc.

      Prolonged sitting will also more than likely be a problem so getting up and moving every 30-45 minutes will help. If you need help here then I would recommend our Sitting Solution book which lays out a clear program that you can follow throughout the day that gets you moving in a bunch of different ways.

      Let me know if you have any questions about that or if I can help in anyway!

      Thanks for watching and I hope this helps!

      Chad

      • Lisa

        Wow, Chad! Thank you so much for the tips.
        It was the Rheumatologist who told me no more lifting or anything that would compress my spine ( I also have scoliosis, pelvis is rotates anteriorly and 3 discs are mildly herniated).
        Diet is totally dialed in—strict Whole30 autoimmunie protocol paleo–as anti inflammatory as I can get. I add in turmeric and daily bone broth.

        I’ve been doing a lot of repetetive flexion and will cut that our and replace with planking. Can I still get away with kettle bell swings and should I continute to avoid jumping rope (I currently replace that with rowing which also tends to hurt a bit after about 1000 meters)?

        I would book an appointment (or 20!) with you if only I didn’t live half way across the world in Switzerland 😉

        Thanks again,
        Lisa

  6. Beau Carlson

    I’ve been previously diagnosed with a herniated disk and have been experiencing pain and numbness in my right leg for quite some time now. Is it possible that these stretches and exercises can help to possibly reverse the disk problem and alleviate the numbness in my calf and foot? Thanks.

    • Chad Walding

      Hey Beau,

      Yes…it’s very possible! What I suggest you really focus on is the pressups which is the first exercise we cover in the video.

      Do 10 of them and then see what happens to any numbness or radiating pain down your leg. If you get up and walk around and notice a change in sensation then you know you’re on the right track. Also…if you had any radiating type pain with that numbness and it’s starts to move up the leg and more centralized to the low back then you know you’re on the right track.

      If however you notice the numbness getting worse OR if you loss range of motion in your back then you know you’re moving in the wrong direction.

      If that’s the case I would suggest seeking out a certified Mckenzie practitioner in your area.

      You can find one here: http://www.mckenziemdt.org/approach.cfm?section=int

      Having said all this…give the precepts a shot and let me know how it goes and what you feel…ie what changes you notice.

      Thanks,

      Chad

  7. Cynthia M.

    Thank you for these videos. I just started on physical therapy for my lower back and it’s good to see these exercises done the “right” and “wrong” ways. My PT caught me doing the hardstyle plank exactly the way you pointed out as wrong…and I didn’t realize it. I’ll be sharing this with my friends.~Cynthia

    • Chad Walding

      Hey Cynthia! Yes…quality is everything when it comes to movement and structural balance. Thanks for kinds words and spreading the word. I hope your PT continues to go well and please keep us updated on how you’re doing!

      Chad

  8. Aloma Sullivan

    I HAVE DONE MOST OF THESE EXERCISES IN PHYSICAL THERAPY ORDERED MY ORTHOPEDIC. NOT ONLY DO I HAVE BACK PAIN, (TROUBLE WALKING, ETC) BUT I HAVE SEVERE KNEE PAIN, THEY CRACK AND POP. I HAVE TROUBLE GETTING OUT OF CHAIR, WHEN I GET ON THE FLOOR I HAVE VERY HARD TIME GETTING UP. SUGGESTIONS ???

    • Chad Walding

      Hey Aloma,

      It sounds like you have a lot going on as well as some pretty serious mobility issues. I would imagine that many of your movement patterns are thrown off a bit from being in years of pain so things are getting worse when you do move…because you’re moving incorrectly.

      If you’re able I would try to find a movement specialist in your area. Someone who can help you in that way…who can look at HOW you are getting up from he chair, HOW you walk, HOW you sit, HOW you stand, HOW you pick things up etc…

      You’ll want to address those issues as well as do the exercises listed here. There is more to the puzzle in the case however.

      I suggest seeking out a certified “SFMA” practitioner in your area. You can find that here:http://www.functionalmovement.com/experts

  9. Ely Estillore

    Hi Dr. Chad,
    I ordered and paid the video for of the Sitting Solution plus the exercise band.
    Unfortunately, upon reading few pages the night was getting too late and I closed it off
    but forgot to save it. The following night
    I tried to open it but it wasn’t there anymore
    and I have to order and pay again. Is there a way I can retrieve it back.
    Thank you so much for your help.

    Ely Estillore

    • Chad Walding

      Thanks Ely…I’m forwarding this message on to our customer service team. You should be hearing from them shortly but if not let me know here in the comments section 🙂

      Chad

  10. Douglas

    Fantastic Video. I have suffered a weak back on and off and recently put it out slightly by attempting a pike push up, not really knowing what my form was looking like! Great video and will now do the exercises regularly !!

    • Chad Walding

      Awesome Douglas! Keep me updated on how you’re doing and let me know if you have any questions 🙂

      Chad

  11. Physiotherapy Toronto

    I am a physiotherapist practicing in downtown Toronto. I really appreciate all the information you have provided. The videos are great and I plan to use them with my clients. Your exercise suggestions are very comprehensive and I tend to use most of them also. I really like your approach. It is important to stay active and take responsibility for our bodies. Sitting all day is not ideal but is necessary for most of us to earn a living. Instead of settling with pain, you have created a empowering message! Thanks.

    • Chad Walding

      You’re very welcome 🙂

      I’m a physical therapist as well (although physio sounds cooler:) so I’m really glad to see you’ve found some benefit in my content. I appreciate your kind words!

      Chad

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