How to manage lower back pain
Lower back pain is the most common complaint that we see people for at wandsworth Physiotherapy and Osteopathy. It is estimated that 8 of 10 people will suffer lower back pain at some point in their lives. Lower back pain can be brought on from prolonged sitting at work and poor work station set up and there are things that can be done such as having a DSE assessment carried out on your work station.
However lower back pain is also a sports injury. Many runners suffer lower back pain especially when they up their running volume or run too much on hard surfaces. People also injure their lower backs in high intensity interval classes, lifting weight or simply from not warming up properly prior to exercise.
To help prevent lower back pain and other running injuries here are 4 top tips for you:
1. Only increase your weekly training by 10%. You could measure this in time or distance. Obviously going from running three times a week to five or six times a week is way too much. You may be able to tolerate this for a short period of time, but eventually your body will start to maladapt and you’ll experience pain. If you are an experienced runner you may be able to increase this each week by slightly more – say 20%, however if you are starting to feel a niggle in the back or elsewhere, back off.
2. Gradually build your running volume (how much your run) and keep the intensity the same (how hard / fast you run) to begin with, then with your running volume at a level you are happy with, build your intensity, observing point 1.
3. Undulate your training volume. This means that you shouldn’t just up your running to five or six times a week and just keep going at that level. You have to factor in rest days and relative rest weeks, where your training volume is reduce by 40%. I would recommend that you reduce training volume every 4th week.
4. Factor in complimentary prehab / strength training. Running can be a great form of exercise, but it is one pattern of movement and unless your running technique is very efficient and you have extremely well balanced strength and flexibility you’ll end up developing tissue overload, and strength and flexibility imbalances that will lead to an injury.
I also have put together my top 3 exercises to help prevent and manage lower back pain, whether it’s sport or occupation related.
Lower back mobilisation
This is a great exercise to use as a warm up for or warm down from exercise.
The glute bridge
This is a great exercise for strengthen the glutes and lower back muscles. Running is a very hip flexor dominated movement pattern and glute weakness is common in runners.
Horse stance vertical
This final exercise is my favourite. It’s such a great exercise to strengthen almost your whole body, not just your core. Don’t believe me? Give a it go and see that it’s actually quite hard.