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.
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!
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
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.
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