How Can We Fix and Prevent Lower Back Pain?

How Can We Fix and Prevent Lower Back Pain?

back massage

There are many causes and sources of referral for lower back pain. New ways of working increase our sedentary behaviour, and due to COVID we are spending more time slouching into our home office chairs than ever before. Combine this with the added stress from the pandemic and it’s easy to see why our backs are flaring up.

As physiotherapists we are seeing more patients than ever presenting with back issues for the following reasons:
  • From a young age, kids are spending more time in front of screens in a slouched position for prolonged periods
  • Teenagers spend 6 hours a day sitting at school with bad posture
  • Adults are spending longer and longer periods of time in the sitting position, for both work and downtime. When they do exercise or undertake physical activity, we are noticing that adults are forgetting how to hinge from the hips and bend through the lower back.
The outcome of this continued bad posture from childhood through to adult life is a general increase in lower back discomfort. As physio’s we are increasingly seeing neutral to kyphotic lumbar spine positions, which places increased load through the lumbar discs posteriorly. Combine this with a weekend’s physical activity in the garden and you have a perfect recipe for a bulging disc injury in your average person.

Lower back pain and MRI’s

When lower back discomfort is looked at under an MRI it can read much worse than it is. A little tweak can result in a range of diagnoses from bulging discs and degenerative facet joints to desiccated discs. MRI’s have been proven to not accurately correlate with one’s pain or discomfort, yet they still show pathology. This information can build a negative mindset very early on towards lower back discomfort and can make it harder for the patient to be open minded about the different treatment options available to them.

Hip Hinge Mechanic

patient stretching
How can we treat and prevent lower back discomfort?
Training the hip hinge mechanic from an early age and continually throughout life can decrease the chance of lower back discomfort. Bending through the back isn’t as bad as we previously thought, especially as the back is a strong stable structure. Bending through the back only becomes an issue when it is done repetitively and frequently with load. To be able to hinge from the hips in both sitting and standing and from sitting to standing decreases the chance of loading the lumbar spine too frequently, improving a patients ability to drive through the glutes. That’s why every physiotherapist ever has told you to “Strengthen your glutes”.
Yet to strengthen glutes we must first learn how to hinge from the hips. This is crucial part of any good squat technique and is a forgotten art amongst the new generation of kids who spend more time indoors gaming than outdoors moving.
Purpose Physiotherapists are specialists in teaching this hip hinge mechanic to kids, teens, university students, working adults and the retired. We believe learning this mechanic is the basis to decreasing your prevalence or risk of “lumbar spine disc injuries” and “lower back pain”. Move with Purpose, live with Purpose and see how we can help you prevent, navigate past, and never have to deal with lower back pain again.