Low Back Pain can be a huge hurdle to overcome, especially when it seems to keep popping up at the most inopportune times! Finding success in minimizing your pain and frequency of episodes comes down to identifying your low back pain characteristics. A great place to start is by figuring out your trigger mechanism. If you already know what lights up your pain, you can use that information to figure out your mechanism. If not, find out what movements and activities aggravate your symptoms. Does it hurt to bend forward, tie your shoes, or pick something up? Or, does lying on your stomach, or reaching backward, cause pain?
The two most common mechanisms for low back pain are flexion-intolerant and extension-intolerant. If bending forward, reaching down to touch your toes, or tie your shoes causes pain, you are probably more flexion-intolerant. Any movement type that involves forward bending of your low back would fall under this category. If lying on your stomach, performing superman extensions, or reaching/arching backward causes pain, you will probably be more extension-intolerant.
Why is it important to figure out your mechanism? Because it's the first step to finding some relief! If your aggravating movements and activities fit into one of the above mechanisms, try spending some time with your low back in the opposite position. This may seem too simple, and it is only a temporary solution, but it can relieve some of that constant pain and pressure.
If you are flexion-intolerant (bending forward increases your pain), see if this pose relieves any pain:
Lay face-down on your stomach, and slowly prop yourself up onto your elbows (trying not to activate your low back), keeping your weight under your elbows (look up sphinx pose). Hold for 15 sec and relax for 5 sec. Repeat up to 10 times. If this feels okay, you can take it a step further and prop up on extended arms (look up cobra pose). Again, hold for 15 sec and relax for 5 sec. Repeat up to 10 times.
If you are extension-intolerant (extending backward, lying on your stomach increases your pain), see if this pose relieves any pain: lay face-up on your back with knees bent. Bring your knees up to your chest and hold for 30 sec; relax for 10 sec. Repeat 3 times. To take this a step further, bring your knees as close to your chest as possible (look up knee to chest pose).
If these movements help reduce some pain and discomfort, they can be performed several times throughout the day. If they don't seem to be working, you may have a different trigger mechanism or a combination. Please keep in mind these movements are designed to give temporary relief, but won't fix the problem's source. If you're experiencing low back pain, talk to us! We're here to help!