Lower Back pain is one of the most common, debilitating conditions that people deal with.
In my office, I help people get out of pain and stay out of pain as a regular part of patient care. Today, I would like to share an idea about how to avoid lower back pain.
Brace yourself before you lift by tightening your abdominal muscles. One study showed that this was even more important than exercise or stretching.
A recent study, with an impressive 10-year follow-up, compared stretching, strengthening and “tightening-before-lifting”.1 600 people were educated and followed for 10 years, checking in every year. The “tightening-before-lifting” group was called the “bracing”, not because they wore back braces, but because they braced the core of their body before lifting.
The 4 groups tested were:
- Strengthening only
- Flexibility stretching only
- Strengthening + Bracing — WINNER
- Flexibility stretching + Bracing
All the groups improved from the beginning to the second year, but most worsened from the second to the 10th year. There was no difference between those who did Strengthening only compared to those who did Flexibility only; both Bracing groups showed better results versus nonbracing groups. Those who practiced Bracing, did exercises more frequently than those who did not practice bracing.
The pain INTENSITY, pain FREQUENCY, and pain DURATION was less at the end of 10 years than at the beginning ONLY for the Strengthening + Bracing group.
Interestingly, it wasn’t just that group 3 had the most improvement; group 3 had the ONLY improvement, long-term.
For more information on how we deal with lower back pain, whether it be a little strain or a herniated disc pressing on a nerve, click on over to our Back Pain page.
You might also be interested in reading about a patient who had lower back pain and infertility.
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2014 Jun 1;39(13):997-1003. Ten-year follow-up of strengthening versus flexibility exercises with or without abdominal bracing in recurrent low back pain. Author: Aleksiev AR