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Physiotherapy Exercises for Back Pain

7th July 2007 at 15:08 BST by Dr C.A.Jenner MB BS, FRCA. Permalink.

This article explains various physiotherapy exercises for back pain.

Physiotherapy Exercises for Back Pain

Introduction

Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions accounting for physician visits.

Research shows that nine out of ten people develop back or neck pain during their lifetime. The occurrence is reportedly the highest in working age, especially in the 35-55 years age group.

In addition, low back pain is considered to be a cause of considerable personal suffering, disability and the most common reason for long-term work absence.

Physiotherapy and Back Pain

Physiotherapy is an essential therapeutic element in the treatment of back pain. It basically engages the body's ability to heal itself using stretching, mobilizing and manipulative techniques.

Exercises prescribed for physiotherapy are known to be highly effective for such treatment.

The main forms of physiotherapy followed for back pain include:

  1. Individual physiotherapy –

    This is the most common form of physiotherapy for low back pain. It consists of combination of exercises, manipulation and advice, devised in specific context of the individual's circumstances and problems. Usually, the exercises in this form of physiotherapy are taught in the clinic and performed by the patient at home.

  2. Spinal stabilization –

    These exercises are meant specifically for tummy and back muscles that protect the spine but sometimes work incorrectly in people with back problems.

  3. Pain management exercises –

    The pain management exercises for low back pain are aimed at improving general fitness and flexibility. These exercises also aim at increasing people's confidence in their movement and activities, without the fear of damaging or re-injuring their backs.

In addition, physiotherapy exercises for back pain generally include:

  • A variety of manual therapy techniques such as mobilization or manipulation
  • Exercises to mobilize or strengthen appropriate muscles
  • Postural retraining, along with general conditioning
  • Education in accurate body mechanics and techniques to prevent recurrence of back injury
  • Modalities such as TENS, ultrasound, heat or ice to reduce pain
  • McKenzie therapy
  • Ergonomic advice

Exercises for Back Pain

In this section, we have listed various physiotherapy exercises generally followed for relief from back pain.

1) Lying supine hamstring stretch

  • Lie on your lower back with a small rolled towel under your waist
  • Place your left leg down with the knee straight
  • Bend your right hip so that your knee is pointing to the ceiling.
  • Hold your right thigh by locking your fingers
  • Keep your elbows straight while holding, straighten your right knee and move the foot toward the ceiling
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 2 times
  • Repeat the same stretch for the other leg

You should be able to feel a stretch in the backside of your thigh.

2) Cat stretch

  • Bring yourself into a hands and knee position
  • Place your hands under the shoulders and the knees under your hips
  • Let your head drop down
  • At the same time, tuck your hips under and raise the middle of your back as high as you can
  • Try to create a gradual curve of your back towards the ceiling
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times

3) Camel Stretch

  • Bring yourself into the hands and knee position
  • Place your hands under the shoulders and the knees under your hips
  • Raise your head up and at the same time, raise your hips up, allowing your stomach to the floor
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times

4) Pelvic Tilt

  • Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles
  • Push your lower back into the floor
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds
  • Take a short break
  • Do sets of 10 each

5) Partial Curl

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  • Tighten your stomach muscles and flatten your back against the floor
  • Tuck your chin to your chest
  • With your hands stretched out in front of you, curl your upper body forward until your shoulders clear the floor
  • Breathe out as you come up
  • Hold this position for 3 seconds
  • Take a short break
  • Gradually, build to 3 sets of 10 each

6) Prone hip extension

  • Lie on your stomach with your legs straight in front of you.
  • Tighten your buttocks muscles first
  • Now lift one leg off the floor about 4-8 inches
  • Keep your knee straight
  • Hold for 5 seconds
  • Now lower your leg and relax
  • Repeat with the other leg
  • Do 3 sets of 10 each

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      About This Entry

      ‘Physiotherapy Exercises for Back Pain’ was posted by Dr C.A.Jenner MB BS, FRCA on 7th July 2007 at 15:08 BST and filed under .

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