Build your core and flexibility to avoid lower back pain

What Causes Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain can be caused by many different factors. Often conditions that accompany normal aging may affect bones and joints in ways that cause chronic pain. Other common causes are nerve damage and injuries that fail to heal properly.

Back pain often lasts longer than 12 weeks so is regarded as a chronic pain. It may be caused by a single factor or any combination of these factors:

  • Years of poor posture
  • Improper lifting and carrying of heavy objects
  • Being overweight, which puts excess strain on the back and knees
  • A congenital condition such as curvature of the spine
  • Traumatic injury
  • Wearing high heels
  • Sleeping on a poor mattress
  • Ordinary aging of the spine (degenerative changes)

Physical exercise can be a very effective way to decrease the pain and discomfort experienced by long term back pain sufferers. Furthermore, if the sufferer has had back pain for more than three months, exercise programs can help them feel less pain, and move around and get on with their normal activities.

Four exercises that will help reduce risk of lower back pain

1- Hip hinge

  • Starting with soft knees, bend/squat movement by pushing the hips backward – as if trying to reach the wall behind.
  • Although the knees will bend slightly, the emphasis should be on pushing the hips backward.
  • Begin with a small movement then return to the start position by driving through the feet and extending the hip (using gluteals and hamstrings).
  • Final posture should maintain neutral spine position with slightly contacted muscles.
  • Repeat for as many reps as possible with the correct form throughout.

2- Cat-camel

  • Start in a quadruped position (on all fours).
  • Begin by initiating a posterior pelvic tilt and simultaneously rounding the upper back (thoracic spine) and allowing the head to drop.
  • The movement is then reversed as you return back to neutral, followed by an anterior tilt, and thoracic /cervical extension.
  • This is repeated as a slow, continuous movement for one minute.

3- Big Three modified curl up

  • Elevate your hips off the floor, while leaving your elbows in contact with the floor.
  • Repeat as many times as possible with good control before you start to feel any strain.

4- Big Three-Birddog

  • Start in a quadruped position on all fours.
  • Raise one leg and alternative arm at a time, return under control.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Alternate from left to right side as many times as possible with good control (and pain-free).