Exercise and Rehab for Lower Back Pain
Time To Feel Good Again!
Rehabilitation athletes are folks who have been in automobile accidents, have had sports injuries, or are on the mend from one incident/condition or another. I wrote this article because unless whoever you are seeing to fix you has you moving in exercises patterns or is watching you as you loaded and moving in a pattern, it will be extremely difficult if not impossible for them to recognize and fix you. Fixing muscle/fascia and bodily imbalances may take more than just a few 15 minute visits with a physio, and small stack of exercises stapled together on 8.5/11″ paper. It’s a process that takes a different approach to exercising (just don’t stop).
If you would truly like to learn something, take a look at the above picture with me for a moment. Imagine that it’s YOUR body in the diagram, and that the muscles and fascia on the right side of your back are 1/16 of an inch shorter than those on your left side, producing stronger, uneven contractions as a result, pulling you out of alignment and actually altering the once straight and aligned skeleton that you once had. No matter who you just went to see to get adjusted, massaged, etc, you will definitely come right back out of alignment again until you fix these muscle imbalances. If you look at the diagram, you can see that there is plenty of muscle and fascia in your back…enough to pull you sideways and right out of alignment again, with all of the accompanying pain. If you were to have your spine adjusted, ribs, hips etc, do you think that the adjustment would hold itself in place after you pick up a heavy box, or barbell, asking your back musculature to contract with unequal forces? Answer: No…that’s why you keep visiting the Chiro. You will need to see a qualified Physiotherapist, Athletic Trainer, or FMS specialist to work with you over a period of time to re-lengthen these muscles, as this is something that cannot be done in a handful of sessions. Here are the basics of what you need to do, if you have pain in your posterior chain (back, hips, glutes, shoulders etc).
- Be seen by qualified Personal Trainer, Sports Doctor or FMS certified specialist. Many folks may also perform self chiropractic, outlined HERE.
- Spend the appropriate time to re-lengthen the muscles. You can still lift during this time, but it will take a new approach that you will learn with professional guidance.
- Perform these re-lengthening exercises before, during AND after your workout. Each time you workout, your muscles will want to continue with their current shape and dysfunction, unless you incorporate the following types of stretches into your routine:
Re-lengthening exercises for back/hips/thorax misalignment:
Psoas Stretch Dr. Eckberg VIDEO
Bretzel Stretch 2.0 Dr. Gray Cook VIDEO (go to 6:15 for 2.0)
Lacrosse Ball Rolling (roll the side of your back that’s tight, more than the loose side on a 3:1 ratio) Dr. Kelly Starrett VIDEO
4. Perform kettlebell or barbell deadlifts, sumo squats, or deadlifts with 2 kettlebells. Use the lacrosse ball technique, the Bretzel stretch and the Psoas stretch before, and after each and every set, as your soft tissue will attempt to tighten up and shorten again immediately after the set. After a quick and correctly applied roll, you will be straight again, or straighter at least, taking you out of harm’s way, and reducing the chance of spinal subluxation/hip shifting during your next set. In this manner, you will steadily progress in balancing out your body’s web of muscle and fascia, and work your way back to health. Most folks start feeling improvement immediately, once the proper rehabilitation exercise protocols are applied.
So don’t be afraid to confront the pain in your body directly. Getting pain out of your body will change many aspects of your life, for the better.
By Dan Piper, CPT, RKC, FMS, Workout4Results.com