A common response to experiencing back pain is to take it easy and perhaps even go to bed. Whilst this might be appropriate in the very short-term, resting for more than a day or two can in fact be detrimental to recovery. Scientific research has shown that the most effective way of treating lower back pain is a combination of spinal manipulation, as performed by chiropractors, followed by exercise. Your back contains two different types of muscles: ‘movement muscles’, the large muscles which control the movement of the spine, and ‘supporting or core muscles’, the small muscles which provide a support system for the spine.
During a back pain episode, pain signals from the spine cause the supporting or core muscles to become inhibited and stop working. This means that the movement muscles now have two jobs: to move the spine and now also to support the spine as best they can.
Once your back pain has gone, the core muscles remain inhibited and your movement muscles carry on doing two jobs. This is why back pain often recurs when people don’t properly rehabilitate their spinal muscles – the movement muscles are not very good at supporting the spine so the spine becomes more vulnerable to re-injury.
It makes sense then, that to aid recovery from back pain and prevent back pain recurring in the future, back pain sufferers should undertake exercise in order to activate and strengthen their core muscles.
Depending upon your specific complaint, diagnosis and current level of pain the spinal rehabilitation exercises will be very different. This is why it is important to see a trained instructor who can prescribe appropriate exercises.
In general, to start with it will be important to focus on exercises which retain a neutral spinal posture and emphasise activation and strengthening of the core musculature. Once the core muscles are stronger the exercises can become more complex and sport-specific if needed.
At Guildford Chiropractic Centre, our chiropractors and physiotherapist are trained in prescribing exercises to improve your core strength. We are also able to advise you on exercise or a return to regular sport, as we believe that when it comes to back pain, prevention of further episodes is vitally important.
*Suzi Corbett unfortnately no longer practises at Guildford Chiropractic Centre. Further details can be found here