Lower back pain- what is it?
One of the most common complaints we see at Lifespan Osteopathy is lower back pain.
Technically speaking, lower back pain is pain that occurs anywhere between your lowest ribs and the bottom of your buttocks. This pain might also refer down your legs, although this is not always the case.
People present with this condition in a variety of ways- some complain of feeling quite stiff and sore in the mornings, but once they’re up, showered and dressed, they feel a lot better.
Others state that their lower back discomfort is relatively constant throughout the day, and gets worse when they make certain movements.
Another group of people state that their pain is not present in the morning, but tends to build up throughout the day as they go about their business.
Do you fall into one of these groups?
How this post can help your lower back pain:
If you’re experiencing lower back discomfort, please know you’re not alone and there’s plenty of things you can do to help. We see the effects that lower back pain can have on people’s lives, and genuinely enjoy helping them find what works for them.
However you experience lower back pain, this post will help you.
Getting the region moving before you get out of bed and start putting weight through it will help increase your mobility, and decrease the likelihood of you experiencing as much pain and/or stiffness throughout the day.
Lower back pain- how common is it?
Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint (1).
Studies have shown that around 80% of the population will experience it at some stage in their lives. This means that only 1 in 5 people won’t be affected!
According to this study, almost 5% of people aged 24 to 39 years old will be experiencing lower back pain at any point. This increases to almost 20% if you increase the age range to 20 to 50 years.
There are a number of known risk factors for lower back pain. Some are modifiable, others are not. If you’d like to learn more about what you can (and can’t) change to help your lower back pain, you can get the lowdown on lower back pain here.
Lower back pain- 3 ways to help it.
Exercise is a proven strategy to help manage lower back pain. And the good news is- there’s some that you can do without even getting out of bed!
Here’s out top 3 exercises to help manage your lower back pain without getting out of bed.
1. Supine lumbar rotation:
This exercise is designed to help improve your lower back’s twisting ability.
As a result, you should find it a little easier to reach for your glasses or phone on your side table, as you’ll be able to rotate a little more freely.
2. Supine hip external rotation:
Many people don’t realise how closely related your hips and your lower back are.
There are a number of reasons for this, but perhaps the most prominent is the overlap of muscles that control lower back and hip movements.
The largest hip flexors attach on to the front of the lower back vertebrae, before running down and attaching into the hips. Furthermore, the gluteal muscles, which act as the prime movers in this exercise, can have a big influence in states of lower back pain.
Gently mobilising and activating these muscles before getting up and moving around can have a positive effect on your lower back.
3. Supine shoulder flexion:
A shoulder exercise- wait, isn’t this about improving lower back pain? What’s a shoulder exercise got to do with that?
The answer becomes clear once you get to know a little anatomy.
The largest muscle being stretched in this exercise is the latissimus dorsi, more commonly known as the “lats”. This muscle originates in the lower back, and inserts into the shoulders. Stretching the lats and opening up the upper back can take a lot of pressure off the lower back.
You’ll also feel a subtle extension or “backwards bend” of your middle and lower back with this exercise. Extension exercises have been shown to improve lower back pain. This exercise is a gentle way of introducing extension into the lower back.
How does your lower back feel now?
Did you give these three exercises a try? How did you go?
We’d love to hear your feedback on how these exercises went for you.
If you found these exercises helpful, but would like a little more tailored advice on how to improve your condition, our Osteopaths can help.
Why not give us a call on (03) 9372 7714 during business hours, or book online anytime and start your treatment program now?
Don’t forget to share this post with anyone who you think could use a little help with their lower back!
- J. Scheele, E.I.T. de Schepper, J.B.J. van Meurs, A. Hofman, B.W. Koes, P.A.J. Luijsterburg, S.M.A. Bierma-Zeinstra,
Association between spinal morning stiffness and lumbar disc degeneration: the Rotterdam Study,
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage,
Volume 20, Issue 9,
- Meucci RD, Fassa AG, Faria NM. Prevalence of chronic low back pain: systematic review. Rev Saude Publica. 2015;49:1. doi:10.1590/S0034-8910.2015049005874