Tip #10 – Low Back Pain

Tip #10 – Low Back Pain


Hey everybody! It’s Shane at MATRIX Personalized Fitness. Today I’m going to bring you a tip from the
studio. I figured I’d answer one of the most common
questions that I typically get from people. And that’s about how to deal with low back
pain. I suffered from sciatica. I had numbness down into my foot, a number
of years ago. I went to the doctor, did physical therapy,
took up yoga, and tried acupuncture. I really believe it was a combination of all
these things that allowed me to recover from it. But there were a couple of things that I found
most useful. And that’s what I’m going to share with you
today. Before we begin, the one thing I want to say
is that realize there’s a lot of different reasons for having low back pain. So, if you’re having nonspecific low back
pain, a dull achiness across the lumbar spine, that’s something you can probably deal with. But it is always a good idea to go to your
doctor and have things checked out. If you do have sensations radiating down one
leg or the other, definitely go to your doctor and have them investigate it. What you should be looking for from your doctor
is a chance to go to physical therapy. The best route to take care of pain is through
movement and exercise before you try and do anything surgical. Just one point to make with this. Oftentimes, people will go and get an MRI,
and they’ll find out they have a bulging disc, or an issue like that. There’s been a number of studies that investigate
a cohort of people who don’t have symptoms of low back pain and a cohort of people who
do have symptoms and are suffering from low back pain. They do imaging on both of them and both groups
tend to have about the same amount of bulging discs. It really just comes down to whether your
body is seeing that bulging disc as a threat or not. This doesn’t mean it isn’t something that
shouldn’t be taken care of, but you should definitely want to make sure you’re starting
with non-invasive, exercise-based approach. So, with that being said, I wanted to share
with you some of the things that really worked for me, so that you might be able to try them
when you’re having issues. The first two are actually some very simple
stretches. For the first one what you would need is a
countertop. I’m going to demonstrate it for you here with
this block and the table that I have. It’s really simple, you’re looking to line
up your heels right underneath of your hips. You place your arms out on top of the countertop. Then you let your chest start to sink down
through the middle. You’re just going to hang out there for a
minute or two, giving your muscles time to relax. Quite often, what’s going on in most of the
nonspecific low back pain, the ones that are localized to the low back, this is actually
a muscle spasm. A spasm that’s constant because your brain
is thinking things need to be held safely together. What this exercise looks like is very simple. As I mentioned, your hands come on to the
bench. You line up your heels right underneath your
hips. You take a breath in and then just sink your
chest down, spending about a minute there. I’m not going to spend that much time, but
it gives you the idea. And that really gives your body a chance just
to relax. Allowing the muscles to let go. And hopefully it will start to help make things
feel better. It was something I did every single morning
when I got out of bed when I was suffering from low back pain. And it’s still something I do to this day
because prevention is the key. The second exercise is called a piriformis
stretch. The piriformis is a muscle that runs from
your hip around and attaches onto your sacrum. And for a number of people, the sciatic nerve
actually runs right through this muscle. So if the muscle is aggravated or inflamed,
then it’s possible that you’re having nevre issues because that muscle is actually pressing
on the nerve itself. To stretch this muscle out, you would bring
your leg into a Figure-4 position, keeping a nice long spine and starting to lean forward. Particularly if you’re having any type of
issue, you’ll feel it very quickly. Even if you are pretty flexible, you will
feel it pretty quickly as well. This again is something you’d want to hold
for a little bit; 30 seconds to a minute and really work on breathing through it. The stretch can be accessed from a number
of different positions. You can do it seated just like I am. If you’re a yoga practitioner, it’s called
pigeon pose, with the legs out in front of you like this and the other leg is back behind
you. You can also do it, if you need to feel more
supported, by bringing your leg up on top of the couch or a bed and leaning forward
from there. With both of these exercises, one of the first
things you need to know is that if you are in a bout of low back pain, it’s really important
that you don’t overdo the stretches and the releases. That in itself can cause things to tighten
up even more. So, this is something you want to do in little
increments here and there. And you want to assess and reassess to make
sure that it is actually making you feel better. Now, once you’re getting to a point where
you think mobility is going to be more important than stretching and relaxing, there are some
really good exercises that you can do. And these are things that should be done frequently. Once you’re out of low back pain, keep doing
these things because, by keeping mobility, you’ll be less and less likely to have another
bout again. And I believe that’s what’s really kept me
pain-free for the last couple of years. So, the most basic version of this is done
by laying down on your back and drawing your knees up into your belly. From here, you just gently circle the legs
out and around. Making sure that you don’t rollover. Try it in both directions. This is a very safe and easy way to start
to mobilize the lumbar spine. If you are having an issue where you’re having
nerve pain going down the leg, do be careful with this one because you are bringing your
spine into greater flexion, which might cause even more issues. What tends to help people who are having that
type of pain is to do the same motion in the opposite direction. That would look more like this. Lay on your belly. Starting with your belly flat, you roll to
one side. Slowly start to come up and back. Work across the horizon. Come across and settle down on the other side. Then sliding back into the midline. That one is safer if you are having something
going on because going into extension actually closes down the discs and gives your spine
more room to move. When you start working on these, you want
to start very small at first. Then start to get bigger through your movements. You should not be pushing away and cranking
into them. If you want to progress, move on from these
laying down positions into something seated. The first variation where I pulled knees to
belly, that can be simulated sitting up by just easily rolling down and around. Then you can take the other one, where you
were on your belly and came up, and do it seated by bringing yourself back into extension,
here. The important part here is that you keep breathing,
smooth and easy. Move cleanly. You want to move pain-free, and you’ll slowly
work into greater and greater ranges of motion. From there, once you found that seated is
pretty good and it’s assessing and reassessing well, you can begin to work from standing. To do things standing is very similar to seated. You get nice and tall. You bend into the knees. You side bend. You’re thinking about drawing the navel in. You’re trying to open up through the low back. Come across the horizon. Then you can come into the side bend. Come back into neutral or you can continue
all the way back around. Really think about keeping the spine long
so that there’s plenty of space for all the discs to move and all the vertebrae to move
interchangeably. And that’s how you teach your brain exactly
what range of motion you have available. Once you get that, then you can start coming
into lunge positions and other activity specific positions to really help you in whatever activities
you need to do. Hopefully you found that valuable. These are the exercises that helped me the
most when it comes to low back pain. If you have any questions or comments, post
them below or head over to our websites and send some comments out there or give us a
call. I hope you enjoyed it and I’ll be back next
week. Take care!

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