Is low back exercises sufficient for treating low back pain?

Low back pain is a common problem. In most of the cases it's our own creation. I'm saying- own creation. It's because, we all have some bad habits in our daily activities, one or the other. These bad habits are the main culprit for our low back pain. To get relief from low back pain, we should avoid these bad habits and at the same time we should perform some back strengthening exercises known as low back exercises.

Now one may say- are low back exercises going to help us in relieving low back pain (as we already know the reasons behind the low back pain and we can avoid them)? Are the low back exercises still necessary?

When I was studying for my medical degree, we had to study a lot both at table and at patient's bed side. I used to read books while lying on bed. I had my reading table and chair but I loved reading books at bed. While I was on patient's bed side, I stood at bed side casually without giving any attention to my posture.

I started to feel low back pain. Initially it was very little and affected me little. With some rest it usually went away. Without putting any attention to the pain, I continued to maintain my regular physical activities. After a couple of years with running same activities, my pain became worse. I started to take pills for my pain. Then I thought, pills are not my permanent solution. Again regular pain killers are not good for health. So I needed an alternative solution to my problem.

First I searched for my bad physical activities and postures that are responsible for my low back pain. Then I started to avoid those physical activities responsible for my low back pain, corrected my defective postures and started doing some low back exercise. Wow!! After only a week's work, my low back pain started to go away significantly. Still now I maintain those activities and I've got no low back pain. So what are those?

What I avoided:

  1. Reading in lying on bed at prone position with a pillow under the chest.
  2. Seating on a chair with leaning forward position by bending my back.
  3. Lying on soft bed
  4. Avoid being in a specific posture/position for long time

What I changed in my posture:

  1. Be straight while I'm Seating
  2. Lying on hard bed
  3. Using pillow below my legs while I'm lying in supine position

Started doing

  • Low back exercises

The above mentioned measures worked for me. You might need some measures more according to your existing activities. So find out and change your activities along with doing low back exercises. You'll have no low back pain without using a pain killer again.

Obesity causing back pain
Obesity causing back pain

Now let's come to the point indicated in the title. I'm doing my low back exercise regularly. But whenever I go back to my bad posture habits, my low back pain starts to come back. So low back exercise along with some healthy lifestyle is necessary. Only low back exercise won't keep low back pain away. Low back exercise will strengthen your back muscle and will help to keep & maintain our movements and postures. But bad lifestyle habit will injure/over stretch back muscles which will lead to development of low back pain.

Obesity is a contributing factor for low back pain. So if you are obese then try to reduce weight to get relief from low back pain.

Central obesity is the obesity centered around abdomen. This obesity causes alteration of point through which gravitational force acts. This causes extra pressure over our spinal column to maintain a certain posture. This ultimately leads to straining of muscles of back causing low back pain.

In women, pregnancy is another common cause of low back pain. Women in their pregnancy should be under regular consultation of their gynecological consultant.

Pregnancy in a similar way like obesity, alters the weight bearing point of the body for which back muscle has to work more to keep erect posture. Extra work causes the back muscle to become fatigue which produce low back pain. As in the later part of pregnancy, the unborn baby weighs more, pregnant mothers suffer from low back pain during this period. So more rest is needed for them.

Thus low back pain has many causes, many factors. Low back exercise will not give you relief from low back pain alone. Other associated factors need to be addressed properly. Make change in your unhealthy regular activities, reduce weight, do regular low back exercise and be healthy.

Thigh is parallel to floor, leg is vertical and eye & it's target is at the same level- recommended posture... back should be more straight though.
Thigh is parallel to floor, leg is vertical and eye & it's target is at the same level- recommended posture... back should be more straight though.

What you should avoid to prevent low back pain:

  1. Sitting with over bending your spine in any direction while sitting, or lying, during watching television etc
  2. Being in a specific posture for a longer duration of time
  3. Lifting heavy weight in one hand without supporting other hand by similar weight
  4. Picking something (especially heavy weight things) from ground by bending at waist level
  5. Lying on soft bed which can't maintain natural curvature of your spine

What should you do to prevent low back pain:

  1. Lying on a bed that can maintain your curvature
  2. During lying on side, keep a pillow in between two knees and during lying supine position, keep a pillow below the knees.
  3. Regular low back exercise
  4. Always try to maintain a posture that keep your natural spine curvature as it is
  5. During lifting something, sit by bending your knees and waist
  6. Always lift weight by keeping balance both side of your body
  7. Try to be in neutral position as much possible so that your muscles get more rest and less stretched.
  8. When you sit in front of computer, maintain eye and computer monitor at same level so that you don't need to bent forward and you can sit with a straight back.

Do you do low back exercise regularly?

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