One of the most frequent symptoms bringing a patient into a chiropractor’s office is low back pain. Several risk factors have been identified in the cause of low back pain. These factors include: occupations involving repetitive physical labor, previous history of low back pain, and sedentary lifestyles. Examples of occupations involving strenuous activity would be construction, heating/cooling, plumbing, lawn care, hairstylist, farming, and factory work. Having a prior episode of low back pain increases the risk of having another episode in the future; therefore, individuals with a history of low back pain should employ prevention strategies to reduce the likelihood of having a flare-up. A sedentary lifestyle means the individual typically does not engage in planned physical activity (exercise) on a regular basis and does not refer to the physical demand of their job. Essentially, having too little movement or too much movement in your life increases your risk of low back pain!
To decrease the risk of having back pain, individuals can use prevention strategies. Workers that perform repetitive, physically strenuous activity may want to engage in targeted strengthening and endurance exercise outside of work to adequately prepare their body for their occupational stresses. A resistance training routine would include both the upper and lower body with an emphasis on compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. By engaging multiple muscle groups, the exercises will more closely translate to the work duties.
If a patient has a prior history of back pain, the patient may employ targeted exercises for the muscles surrounding the low back including: quadruped bird dogs, side planks and dead/dying bugs. In addition, regular low back range of motion assessments can be performed to gauge the overall mobility of an individual’s low back. When it is determined that the range of motion is obstructed, it may suggest performing range of motion exercises such as standing back extensions, prone press ups or dual knees to chest. The range of motion exercise to perform is based on which exercise helps improve range of motion for that unique individual.
Sedentary individuals would be recommended to transition to routine exercise. Regular exercise is recommended for improved physical and mental health along with prevention of low back pain onset. The general guidelines for exercise include: at least three days per week of 20 minute sessions of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise or five days per week of 30 minute sessions of moderate intensity aerobic exercise. In addition, individuals are recommended to perform resistance exercise for two days per week incorporating both upper and lower body muscle groups. Vigorous exercise would include sprinting, plyometrics, swimming, speed biking, running, etc. Moderate intensity exercise would include walking, jogging, leisure biking, etc. The general differentiator between moderate and vigorous intensity exercise is the level of perceived exertion.
By employing prevention strategies, low back pain risk can be reduced.
If you have any questions about how McAndrews Chiropractic Clinic can reduce your risk of low back pain, do not hesitate to contact our office!
Yours in health,
Joshua Lederman, DC, MS, CCSP, Cert. MDT