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Woman receiving instruction on a bird dog exercise from her physiotherapist
Woman receiving instruction on a bird dog exercise from her physiotherapist
Woman receiving instruction on a bird dog exercise from her physiotherapist

by Adam Brown    MClScPT    FCAMPT   cert.MDT
Registered Physiotherapist
updated July 18, 2020

 

Most of us will experience low back pain at some point in our lives at one time or another. There are many reasons for this fact, some of which cannot be prevented. But a huge proportion of back pain that we see in the clinic can be prevented. Here are our top 5 tips for ensuring your low back remains as pain free as possible.

 

1) Sit up straight!

Look at all of the places that you sit regularly and for extended periods of time (the office and your car are prime targets) and adjust the seating position to promote good posture. Your physiotherapist can help you to sort out what the ideal set up is for you.

 

2) Move often

The tissues of your spine depend upon frequent movement to periodically offload ligaments and discs and promote good nutrition of all of your spinal tissues. So get up and move around a little bit every 20 minutes at least – even if it is just for a short walk around the office.

 

3) Abs of steel (but ditch the sit-ups)

The abdominal and other core muscles support the spine and prevent injury to the static stabilizers (ligaments, discs and joints). However many people are training these muscles incorrectly. Train to improve the endurance of these muscles in the position of a neutral spine (standing). Sit-ups train your abdominals to forcefully flex your low back – a position that is commonly associated with disc injury. A quick session with your physiotherapist can help you develop a great routine.

 

4) Learn to Lift

Poor lifting technique is second only to poor posture for causing low back injury. We all should understand the fundamentals of good lifting mechanics and ensure that the next time you reorganize the furniture in your living room you do not have to work a disc herniation into your new found Feng Shui.

 

5) Don’t ignore the early signs

A low back that has good range of motion is less likely to become injured than one that has stiffened up from recent neglect. When you feel stiffness begin, try to stretch the low back to restore its full range of motion, particularly extension (bending backwards). If you are having trouble restoring your mobility quickly this is an excellent reason to see your therapist and avoid pain before it begins.

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