Exercise to reduce lower back pain

In this week’s blog from www.orthomedical.in, we are going to share a series of exercise routines you can do to help reduce any lower back pain (occasionally referred to as low back pain), including tension, stiffness and soreness. We came across these set of exercises in NHS (http://www.nhs.uk/) and wanted to share it with our readers. These exercises from physiotherapist and Back Care expert Nick Sinfield help to stretch, strengthen and mobilise the lower back. You are advised to seek medical advice before starting these back pain exercises, and to stop immediately if you feel any pain.
 
Bottom to heels stretch
Stretches and mobilises the spine
 
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Start position: Kneel on all fours, with your knees under hips and hands under shoulders. Don’t over-arch your lower back. Keep your neck long, your shoulders back and don’t lock your elbows.
 
Action: Slowly take your bottom backwards, maintaining the natural curve in the spine. Hold the stretch for one deep breath and return to the starting position.
 
Repeat eight to 10 times.
 
Tips:
  • Avoid sitting back on your heels if you have a knee problem.
  • Ensure correct positioning with the help of a mirror.
  • Only stretch as far as feels comfortable.
Knee rolls
Stretches and mobilises the spine
 
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Start position: Lie on your back. Place a small flat cushion or book under your head. Keep your knees bent and together. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.
 
Action: Roll your knees to one side, followed by your pelvis, keeping both shoulders on the floor. Hold the stretch for one deep breath and return to the starting position
 
Repeat eight to 10 times, alternating sides.
 
Tips:
  • Only move as far as feels comfortable.
  • Place a pillow between your knees for comfort.
 
Back extensions
Stretches and mobilises the spine backwards
 
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Start position: Lie on your stomach, and prop yourself on your elbows, lengthening your spine. Keep your shoulders back and neck long.
 
Action: Keeping your neck long, arch your back up by pushing down on your hands. You should feel a gentle stretch in the stomach muscles as you arch backwards. Breathe and hold for five to 10 seconds. Return to the starting position.
 
Repeat eight to 10 times.
 
Tips: 
  • Don’t bend your neck backwards.
  • Keep your hips grounded. 
 
Deep abdominal strengthening
Strengthens the deep supporting muscles around the spine
 
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Start position: Lie on your back. Place a small, flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your knees and keep your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.
 
Action: As you breathe out, draw up the muscles of your pelvis and lower abdominals, as though you were doing up an imaginary zip along your stomach. Hold this gentle contraction while breathing from your abdomen for five to 10 breaths and relax.
 
Repeat five times.
 
Tips:
  • This is a slow, gentle tightening of the lower abdominal region. Don’t pull these muscles in using more than 25% of your maximum strength.
  • Make sure you don’t tense up through the neck, shoulders or legs.
 
Pelvic tilts
Stretches and strengthens the lower back
 
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Start position: Lie on your back. Place a small, flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your knees and keep your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.
 
Action: Gently flatten your low back into the floor and contract your stomach muscles. Now tilt your pelvis towards your heels until you feel a gentle arch in your lower back, feeling your back muscles contracting and return to the starting position. 
 
Repeat 10 to 15 times, tilting your pelvis back and forth in a slow rocking motion.
 
Tips:
  • Keep your deep abdominals working throughout.
  • Don’t press down through the neck, shoulders or feet.
ModificationPlace one hand on your stomach and the other under your lower back to feel the correct muscles working.
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Degenerative Disc Disease

In this week’s Newsletter from Orthomedical, we focus on a Degenerative Disc Disease which we came across in WebMD (http://www.webmd.com). Contrary to the term disease, Degenerative Disc disease is a term used to describe the normal changes in spinal discs as people age. The discs act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine, but it most often occurs in the discs in the lower back (lumbar region) and the neck (cervical region). The below picture shows the spine and discs in the spine

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As we age, our spinal discs break down, or degenerate, which may result in degenerative disc disease in some people. These age-related changes include:

  • The loss of fluid in your discs. This reduces the ability of the discs to act as shock absorbers and makes them less flexible. Loss of fluid also makes the disc thinner and narrows the distance between the vertebrae.
  • Tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer (annulus or capsule) of the disc. The jellylike material inside the disc (nucleus) may be forced out through the tears or cracks in the capsule, which causes the disc to bulge, break open (rupture), or break into fragments.

The symptoms of Degenerative disc disease is that it may result in back or neck pain, but this varies from person to person. Many people have no pain, while others with the same amount of disc damage have severe pain that limits their activities. Where the pain occurs depends on the location of the affected disc. An affected disc in the neck area may result in neck or arm pain, while an affected disc in the lower back may result in pain in the back, buttock, or leg. The pain often gets worse with movements such as bending over, reaching up, or twisting.

During Clinical trials of  Back Treatment and Support Belt Disk Dr. WG30 which was carried out at the Department of Orthopaedic surgery, College of Medicine, Inje University Seoul Paik hospital, South Korea, in a similar situation experienced by patients during the trails, the interval of the intervertebral discs at the 4th and 5th segments of the lumbar spine were increased by an average of 3 mm and this was due to resultant lowering of intra-discal pressure by the Disk Dr. WG30 which has been shown to reduce pain and provide ongoing treatment through long-term wearing of the Traction Belt. In lumbar disc herniation patients before their treatment , the intervertebral disc or the the nucleus pulposus is extricated from it’s normal anatomic position in the intervertebral space. This herniated disc compresses on nerve roots and causes back pain, sciatics and muscle spasm. After treatment using Disk Dr.WG 30, it was observed that Disk Dr. helps return nucleus pulposus or the intervertebral disc to it’s original position by reducing the pressure in the intervertebral space creating traction through the air cells within the device.

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