Back Pain School – Lesson 1
Dr. Theresa went live on LinkedIn recently to kick off the first of the Back Pain School lessons! This session focused on the Big Picture: how the low back functions and what the evidence says about how it can be treated. Check out some of her key points below and watch the video replay for the full depth coverage.
Key Takeaways from the Low Back School, Lesson 1
#1 It is important to REFLECT on the impact low back pain has had on your life.
Low back pain is NOT fun. Since over 85% of us will have low back pain in our lives, it’s important to pay attention to what it can rob us of, for example, activities we love, participation in exercise, lifting up our children or grandchildren, or heavy things like furniture. It can create ripple effects, where because we are not able to exercise, we may eat less healthy foods, we become more sedentary, more anxious, maybe more irritable with our loved ones as we get further into the cycle of pain and fear of pain. This pattern is unfortunately common, but not normal, and we are here to empower and guide you to break out of the cycle.
#2 Structure: Your body is a series of chain reactions, your low back is only one link.
The musculoskeletal system and nervous system are complex on their own. However, those systems working together can create the even more incredible outcome of coordinated movement, or the unfortunate outcome of pain. The way your low back moves (or doesn’t move) is influenced by the movement (or stiffness) at the upper back, at the hips, and even at joints lower down the chain. Each link in the chain is impacted by the links above and below. For example, stiff ankles can create more forward lean in a squat and therefore higher force through the low back. A movement specialist can assess each link in the chain and determine how it may or may not be contributing to ongoing low back pain. Sometimes, a small tweak in how your hips move can make a world of difference in how your back feels.
#3 Function: The low back is designed to LIFT HEAVY THINGS.
The human body has a system of mobility and stability already built-in that allows us to bend over and lift impossibly heavy objects from the ground, objects that are sometimes multiple times our own body weight. We have strong, mobile hips that, when paired with a strong low back (and trained well), help us to move anything we come across: our children, furniture, barbells, laundry baskets. When we lose this ability, we lose part of ourselves, we lose our confidence in moving our bodies.
#4 Research-based treatment for low back pain: LIFT HEAVY THINGS.
The highest quality research that we have (think: large-scale compilations and re-analysis of ALL the research studies done) says that exercise and strength work for the lumbar extensors, or the low back muscles, is the BEST way to decrease chronic low back pain and strength work for the neck extensors, or neck muscles, is the BEST way to decrease chronic low back pain….not resting, not stretching, not heat and ice! Motion is Lotion. We know that moving and lifting things with a history of back pain is scary, but we’re here to guide you through it. Avoidance is NOT a permanent solution.