Causes of Back Pain and Exercises to Ease It: “Doc Talks”
Dr. Daniel Nuzum: So, what can someone do for themselves if they have low back pain? What kind of exercises would help with low back pain?
Let’s talk about low back pain for just a minute. Low back pain has all kinds of causes. There are a hundred different causes of low back pain. We’ve got stiff muscles; tight muscles in the low back. We have loose muscles in the abdomen; loose muscles in the pelvic floor. Those are causes of low back pain. We have loose muscles in the rear-end, in the backside. That contributes to low back pain. We have weak muscles in the shoulders can also bring on low back pain. We have poor posture; we have sitting too often, driving a truck, driving a car; people that just do a lot of driving for a living. That sitting position is very hard on the low back for hours and hours on end.
These are all things, not including injuries. So, if somebody has injured their low back from lifting something, or from a fall, or from being hit or ran into, or those types of things, those are all common injuries to the low back.
We have people that have had massive antioxidant deficiencies have very brittle discs. And so, their discs get injured. Disc problems are very, very common low back pain sources.
So, we have all these different things that can bring on low back pain, but if you go to a surgeon, they’ll recommend surgery. If you go to a chiropractor, he’ll recommend an adjustment. If you go to an acupuncturist, he’ll recommend acupuncture. You go to a physical therapist; he’ll recommend modalities and exercise. Depending on the case, all of them could be correct.
So, being that this is—we’re not treating anything here, something that I would tell you, if you asked me, “Doc, what kind of exercises could I do for my back?” There are basic things that you can do.
One is to strengthen your abdomen. Doing things to tighten up the abdominal muscles and doing things to tighten the pelvic floor muscles. Those types of exercises help to maintain the spine in its erect position. When you’re hunched over a lot, or your posture isn’t good, that puts a lot of strain on your low back.
Think of this. If you bend forward at the hips, and your head’s down here, and you stand up straight, and you, let’s say from that position, you lift a 10-pound weight straight up like that, the amount of pressure on your low back, on the—lifting your body upright, is five times whatever the amount of weight that you’re lifting. So, if you’re lifting, if you’re standing up straight like this and you’re lifting 10 pounds, your low back has 50 pounds of pressure on it.
So, doing exercises that help with your abdomen and your pelvic floor, and strengthening your lower back, and then exercises that help with your hips. So, squatting and dead-lifting type exercises, those types of things are very, very helpful for strengthening your hips and low back.
And so, abdominal exercises, lower body exercises. Planks are another very helpful exercise. Both frontal planks, where you’re lying straight down, face down, and then, side planks also. Get those obliques, those muscles between your hip and your ribs. Those are extremely important to strengthen all of those things.
When the muscles in your abdomen and your torso are strong, they help to keep the bones in place. And if they’re not strong, if the muscles are weak and they’re not able to hold things in place very well, your joints take the brunt of all the pressure that your body gets under. Therefore, the joints are more prone to being injured.
So, things that you can do yourself are, again, low body exercises, abdominal exercises, and things like planks. Planks, front planks and side planks are very, very helpful for strengthening the muscles around the torso and the low back and the abdomen.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Thanks, Doc. I appreciate your wealth of knowledge, as usual.
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