What is Low Back Pain?

RJ Pruitt

What is Low Back Pain?

Lowback pain is pain or discomfort localized between the bottom middle of the backto the bottom of your butt cheek. I will refer to low back pain as LBP for hereon. 

It is reasonable to estimate that everyAmerican will experience some form of LBP at least once in a lifetime. Thereality is much harsher. Upwards of 70% of persons in most industrializedcountries will experience LBP that may or may not radiate down the leg. Manyother things can lead to LBP, and not all of them require some type of injury. LBPdue to infection, tumor, osteoporosis, fracture, etc. must be cleared by yourphysician or therapist before beginning an exercise program.  I will notbe discussing traumatic LBP today. Nonspecific LBP is the most common form becausethere is no apparent cause for chronic or acute symptoms. Many times developinga focused exercise program can address this this type of LBP.

Chronic LBP is a leadingcause of medical facility visits each year, costing billions of dollarsannually in lost days of work, reduced quality of life, and increased healthcare expenses.

Nonspecific LBP and Exercise

A useful measure againstLBP is regular exercise. Millions of people sidelined by nonspecific LBPbecause it hurts to move. I realize pain tolerance is unique to each of us, butwe should resist the urge to sit still. Some people can "fight"through the pain while others fully succumb to it. Always seek medical advicebefore starting any physical activity, but most research suggests continuing tomove will help alleviate symptoms associated with nonspecific LBP.  

Many cases of nonspecificLBP do not require hospitalization or even physician care, and a fitnessprofessional certified in corrective exercise can identify and address theissue. The corrective exercise specialist may incorporate several functional movementtests before creating a training and recovery plan.

Additionally, modificationof exercises can help manage symptoms. If you do decide the pain is too muchtake time off but set realistic and quick return time. This time should be withor without discomfort still present. Seek medical advice if the problempersists. Remember, we need to practice strengthening core musculature through thedeliberate application of exercises designed to eliminate any muscular imbalancepromoting the discomfort.

Nonspecific LBP program design

Weshould realize that all pain management is specific to the individual. Whatexercises help person "A" may increase pain for person "B."For this reason, I believe you should seek out a certified corrective exerciseor functional movement professional to assess which workouts will be right foryou. Again, if you are under the care of a medical professional, then stick totheir exercise prescription.

Researchsupports incorporating multiple forms of exercise. Try different positions andvariations to find what works best for you.  Chronic or reoccurring LBPthat is not indicative of a more significant injury can be used as a guide toassess program effectiveness. Remember, be patient with your program. Thedysfunction did not happen overnight, and the correctives may take three monthsor longer to take hold.

Thefocus of the program is muscular rehabilitation. Core stability is a systemicharmony of muscle contraction and relaxation to maintain static and dynamicposture. The majority of low back injuries happen when we can no longermaintain a proper position due to fatigue.

Well,that is all for today. Look for me to write more on low back pain in thefuture.

 

Exceedyour expectations,

-RJ


 

References

AmericanCollege of Sort Medicine. (2009). ACSM's Exercise Management forPersons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities. Champaign, Illinois:Human Kinetics.

AmericanCollege of Sport Medicine. (2014). ACSM's Guidelines for ExerciseTesting and Prescription (Ninth ed.). Baltimore, Maryland, UnitedStates of America: Wolter Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

McGill,S. M. (2003, March). Enhancing low back health through stabilizationexercises. Retrieved September 1, 2015, from American Council onExercise: http://www.acefitness.org/pdfs/lowbackstabilization.pdf

Powers,S. K., & Howley, E. T. (2012). Exercise Physiology: Theory andApplication to Fitness and Performance (Ninth ed.). New York, NewYork, United States of America: McGraw Hill.

WebMD. (2010). Living with Low Back Pain. (B. Nazario, Ed.)Retrieved September 1, 2015, from Web MD:http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/living-with-low-back-pain-11/causes?page=3