If you’re suffering from low back pain that just won’t quit, physical therapy may provide some relief for you. Up to 90% of the population experiences back pain at some point in their lives, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Physical therapy works to build muscle strength in the back, along with other muscles supporting the spine, including abs. Some people find their low back back pain disappears entirely after therapy while others may simply find a little relief.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends completing strengthening exercises anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, one to three times each day while recovering from an injury. Talk with a doctor before beginning any exercise program, and avoid doing anything that causes excessive pain because you could harm your back further.
Although physical therapy can greatly help reduce the symptoms of low back pain, making lifestyle changes to stay pain free is very important. Good posture, frequent exercise, and using proper form when lifting heavy objects is the ultimate recipe for a healthy low back. However, when back pain does strike, a solid regimen of stretching, stabilizing, and strengthening will help you feel good again.
Stretching ensures tight muscles regain full range of motion, and the muscles stretched aren’t limited to the back. Stretching the hips, legs, and abdominal muscles will also help to alleviate back pain. The entire body is connected, and stretching and strengthening these areas also helps to support the lower back.
One stretch involves lying on the back and bending the knees, hugging them into the chest. This provides a light stretch to the lower back. Then, place both feet on the floor and bring one leg to the chest before lowering and switching to complete the second side. For another stretch, stand close to a wall. Bend at the hips and place your hands on the wall until the body is resting at a 90-degree angle. Feel a gentle stretch in the back.
Low back pain frequently results from weak or unstable muscles. Completing stabilization exercises can reduce these issues and, over time, help alleviate low back pain.
One stabilization exercise involves an exercise ball. Lay your stomach on the ball, walking the hands away until the ball rests under your legs. Then, stretch one arm out in front of you, balancing on the ball, before resting it back on the ground and repeating on the second side. If you don’t have an exercise ball, this exercise may also be done supporting the body on the ground, on all fours.
Building strong abdominal and lower back muscles will protect the spine, keeping it healthy and minimizing pain. An excellent, simple core muscle builder is a plank position. Hold the body at the top of a push up, arms straight underneath the shoulders and pressing into the floor, legs straight. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute. If the pose feels like too much, try resting the knees on the floor for added support or balancing on your elbows instead of your hands.
What are your physical therapy techniques for low back pain?
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