Low Back Issues? Avoid These Exercises & Positions

Many people visit our office due to low back issues (sciatica, low back, hip or buttock pain). As our current patients know, our job is to identify and correct any structural abnormalities in the spine, over a period of time, to reduce obstruction on the nervous system. This allows the body to function properly, often reducing the likelihood of the issue persisting. In addition, we advise on other recommendations that complement this healing process, which usually includes adding, altering, or avoiding something.

Our discussion this week looks at exercises and positions to avoid (see photo below) if you’re having an unhappy lumbar disc (a flexion-intolerant lower back). All of these movements include a forward bend of the lower back. These exercises could be harmful to you, slowing your healing.

Movements, exercises, and stretches to avoid if having low back issues recommended by a West Des Moines chiropractor. Forward fold, toe touch, figure 4 stretch, child's pose, sit up, crunch, knee to chest, lying leg press, cycling.

Yes, these movements may feel good in the moment by stretching your tight muscles. However, your structure, nerves, and discs could be irritated or damaged by the movements.

Injured discs do heal, but the process is often frustratingly slow because discs have limited amount of blood supply. You may need to be more careful with your movements for up to a year to keep from ‘picking the scab’ while you’re healing. 

What’s not pictured?

As we discuss in our complimentary consultation, a big reason WHY structural issues develop within the spine is because of repetitive stresses we put our bodies through from day to day. Here are some things to keep in mind as it relates to low back issues and forward flexion:

TOO MUCH SITTING. Sitting requires you being in a forward flexed position for long periods of time. If you spend much of your day sitting (like at work), make sure you’re incorporating frequent (at minimum 2x/hour) movement breaks to counteract long periods of flexion.

TYING YOUR SHOES. Avoid standing or sitting and bending all the way forward to reach your feet. Instead, once your shoe is on, either stand or sit and bring your foot up on a chair or stool. Keep your back straight while you bend slightly forward to tie your shoes.

GETTING UP AND DOWN FROM A CHAIR. Scoot to the front edge of the chair. Widen your base and place your stronger leg slightly in front. Place your hands on your upper thighs. Keep your back straight (not rounded) as your bend forward at the hip until your butt comes off the chair. Push through your heels and use your glutes and leg muscles to push yourself up to standing.

When sitting down, do this in reverse. Avoid twisting at the waist as your lower down to look behind you as you sit.

YOUR ATTITUDE. When you’re dealing with a low back issue, you may feel afraid to move or exercise for fear that you will hurt yourself. Unfortunately, NOT moving contributes to the deconditioning that is so common with chronic pain. Okay it with your provider first, but more often than not, simply walking for 10-15 minutes facilitates stronger circulation, pumping nutrients into soft tissues and draining toxins.

Even if you DON’T have active pain or symptoms, it’s still important to be mindful of how to safely enter a forward flexed position. Think about hinging at your hip and using your large buttock muscles instead of the small muscles (extensors) in your low back to return to an upright position.

In addition to avoiding the positions above, it’s critical to identify and correct any structural abnormalities in the spine to reduce obstruction on the nervous system. This allows the body to function properly, reducing the likelihood of a low back issue persisting.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today for help correcting any underlying structural abnormalities so you can get on with living your best life!