Monday, November 13, 2006

Exercising for back pain

Chronic low back pain is common. However, finding an effective treatment is not. Doctors today are still in search of the elusive lumbar spine pain generator

Not wanting to complicate matters further, the real question I wanted to ask was - Is exercising useful for back pain?
Literature reveals the Cochrane review
A summary of their review says
"Exercise therapy appears to be slightly effective at decreasing pain and improving function in adults with chronic low-back pain, particularly in populations visiting a healthcare provider. In adults with subacute low-back pain there is some evidence that a graded activity program improves absenteeism outcomes, though evidence for other types of exercise is unclear. For patients with acute low-back pain, exercise therapy is as effective as either no treatment or other conservative treatments."
So there is evidence that exercise for low back pain works ! but which exercises ?

Here is a list of a few of them

First the basics
    1. Avoid exercising if you have acute back pain, consult your doctor first
    2. Don't expect miracles. Exercise is helpful, not curative
    3. Always do a few warm up stretches first
    4. Start with sets of 5 repititions, 4 times a week and work upto 10 repititions

here goes.....

  1. Pelvic Tilt - Lie on your back with knees bent. Put your hands on the abdomen. Then pull your abdomen towards the floor. Use your stomach muscles. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat.
  2. Back Lift - Lie on your stomach with your arms overhead. Lift your head and shoulders, without looking up. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat.
  3. Abdominal Curl - Lie on your back with your knees bent. Curl up to raise your head and shoulders. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat.
  4. Wall slides - Stand with your back against the wall with your knees bent at 90 degrees. The knees should be slightly apart. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat.
  5. Leg raises - Lie on your stomach. Raise the leg from the floor. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat. Then lie on your back. Again raise the the leg as much as you can. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat.
  6. Knee to chest stretch - Lie on your back with both knees bent. Hold one thigh and bring knee upto chest. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat.
  7. Hamstring Stretch - Lie on your back with knees bent. Hold one thigh behind knee. Now straighten the knee as much as you can. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat.
  8. Heel raises - Stand on both feet. Raise heels. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat.
  9. Hip flexor stretch - Lie on your back near edge of bed, holding knees to chest. Slowly lower one leg down, keeping knee bent, until a stretch is feltacross top of the hip/thigh. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat.
  10. Aerobic exercise - Low impact aerobic exercise is an essential component of any back training program.

These exercises are a good starting point. A swiss ball could also be used.

For the more enthusiastic, I would recommend the core spinal fitness systems from MedX


Dr. Kalpesh said...

Very interesting page. lots to learn from your page. keep it up. its really helpful to people with orthopaedic problems.

amit_ said...

Nice blog Qaed.

See if you can add images to each of the exercises. Will make it even more effective.

Keep writing :)

Anonymous said...

Back Pain is a pain in my… well… back!
I was hit by a car a few years ago and since then I have suffered a lot of lower back pain and back ache! I was on strong painkillers for awhile but then I was getting addicted to them so had to drop them before it got too bad. That was about a year ago now and since then I have been looking for alternate ways of relieving the pain and aching until a month ago I was struggling to find anything that helped but I managed to get hold of some Cheap Relyon Beds and I finally got a good nights sleep! It was great!
Upon waking from my beautiful bed the relief only lasted until I got to work then the suffering began once more.
Can anyone give me any advice to ease my pain?