Lower back pain needs rest and therapy, so careful about these exercises.  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Lower back pain is a fairly common, painful condition affecting the lower portion of the spine.
- There are various causes that may lead to one developing low back pain or lumbago.
- But one thing that is common in all cases is that you should not treat it lightly.
Only those who have suffered lower back pain or lumbago know how debilitating it can be.
The upper section of your spinal column is known as the thoracic spine. The lower section of your spinal column is known as the lumbar region. Lower back pain can result from a strain (injury) to muscles or tendons in the back, or ligament (sprain). Other causes include arthritis, structural problems and disk injuries. Other common causes include improper lifting, poor posture, lack of regular exercise, a fracture, a ruptured disc or arthritis. Lower back pain can make doing even the most routine things highly discomforting.
Initially and more often, all you will notice is a pain in the lower back which mostly goes away on its own in two to four weeks. Physiotherapy and pain relievers can help. Pain often gets better with rest, physical therapy and medication. A few cases may require surgery.
Since the spinal vertebrae also house the very important and delicate spinal cord, it is advisable that one must not goof around with a backache problem. Well-meaning people may want to suggest some exercises or massages, oil rubs, etc. But be careful about not doing anything that worsens your back injury.
While this pain should not put a stop to your workout, you need to practice caution. After all, like a health expert had once told me, “You have two lungs, two kidneys, two ears, two eyes… BUT ONLY ONE BACK!”
Exercises you should AVOID:
- ABDOMINAL CRUNCHES: This type of exercise put a lot of pressure on the lower back. According to Harvard Medical School, “One reason is that sit-ups are hard on your back – they push your curved spine against the floor and work your hip flexors, the muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. When the hip flexors are too strong or too tight, they tug on the lower spine, which can create lower back discomfort.” So, if you have back pain you should definitely avoid this exercise.
- BAR BACK SQUATS: Squats are a highly effective strengthening exercise. It is unfortunate that occasionally they can contribute to injury. The squat is one of the most basic human movements and calls upon the body’s largest muscles, including your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. There are different variations of the squat, but in barbell training, two types are the most common: the high-bar squat and the low-bar squat. As the bar is balanced on the back of the shoulders, it can be a dangerous exercise for the lower back, hips, knees even when done with perfection. This exercise should be completely avoided if you have lower back pain.
- SPINAL TWIST: You need to twist to get in or out of your car, reach for the bird-feeder in the balcony, pick up a baby or turn the pages of a newspaper. The small groups of muscles situated closest to your spinal column, called spinalis muscles, are the muscles that allow you to twist, bend and move your body in various positions and in different directions. This area is the most vulnerable when it comes to injuries from twisting movements. A spinal twist with a bar on the shoulders behind the back is harmful to spinal health and should be avoided unless your doctor advises otherwise.
- DOUBLE LEG LIFT: If you have been to an orthopaedic doctor for back pain, you may have noticed that the straight leg raise test, also called the Lasegue test, is a fundamental manoeuvre during the physical examination of a patient with lower back pain. It aims to assess for lumbosacral nerve root irritation. The “double leg lift” is another exercise that should be avoided by people who suffer from lower back pain. It can create discomfort on the lower back, thus, making your pain worse.
- BENT OVER BARBELL ROW: Lifting any type of weight is often not recommended for people who suffer from back pain. Not all movement is good for a lower back injury. First, focus on your root cause and gradually introduce the weights back in. Until you recover from the back pain avoid this exercise.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.