First of all, move. A common misconception is that activity should be avoided when you experience low back pain. Some specific movements should likely be modified (or avoided), but our patients are often encouraged to perform specific movements. Ultimately, movement and exercise are crucial for long-term relief of back pain. In fact, natural movement can unload your spine and stimulate healing. Part of our approach with patients is to identify which movements should be encouraged. Also, we identify which movements patients should limit or avoid. The correct form of movement is often a necessary remedy to speed up recovery.
FOCUS ON POSTURE
Second, sit up straight. After 12 years of leaning over patients, I understand the importance posture plays in symptom development and symptom prevention. The reason – centration. Centration (described by Kolar) provides us with an advantage. When lost, it provides us with a disadvantage. In our office, we use a Lego analogy with patients. For Legos to work properly, they should be carefully placed on top of one another and properly secured into place. If one Lego is not secured, it will throw off the rest of the stack. The stack will be less stable and will be able to tolerate less load. Ultimately, by placing our patients’ joints in a centrated position we are allowing optimal load distribution throughout the system. Another benefit is patients reduce how much work is required (from the muscles) to maintain that position.
In our office, we often refer to the image below (courtesy of Craig Liebenson and https://jcphysiotherapy.com/blog/joint-centration/). Most of us can improve our posture, try it now!
STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE
Finally, strengthen your core. We are yet to tell a patient they have too strong of a core. Increase your core strength for an extremely effective way to reduce low back pain and reduce future risk. For a quick and safe way to strengthen your core, check out our FREE EBOOK HERE. Please note that not all core exercises are created equal. Some very common core exercises actually increase stress on your back and can increase your symptoms. For a much more thorough plan to increase core strength, schedule an evaluation with one of our doctors to determine what exercises will benefit you the most.