Physical pain is extremely dynamic. There is a lot of different information on this issue. What some people may be surprised to find out is that there is a whole school of thought which asserts that after an injury, you may actually need to modify your fitness routine, not stop it entirely.

Before you go out and run your regular five miles on a broken foot, let me be clear that you must be accurately assessed by a professional that specializes in your particular health issue. Once you have done that, don’t let pain stop you.

PROPER ASSESSMENT

We use Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) as well as Functional Movement Screening (FMS) to identify movement quality. SFMA is used to diagnose imbalances and weaknesses post-injury. FMS helps assess those who have no injury.

Both of these assessment systems provide helpful information on developing a treatment or training plan that is individualized.

EDUCATION IS ESSENTIAL

Unfortunately, many people have been taught that they are damaged, especially when it comes to back issues. They think: "Oh, I have a bad back, I can’t do that." They then start to do things differently. Say they drop a pen. They are afraid to bend down and pick it up. So they alter how they pick it up, further weakening those muscles that need to be strengthened.

We in the healthcare field need to change how we talk to our patients. We also need to educate them. More people need to know that in many cases, movement is the best thing to help with their pain. Inactivity actually perpetuates more pain.

Low back pain is a biological-socialpsychological issue. You need to treat all these areas to rehabilitate your body. That means stopping the bad messaging and embracing the tool of movement to recover.

LOW BACK PAIN

According to the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study, low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. But the good news is that most cases of back pain are mechanical in nature, or not caused by serious conditions such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture, or cancer.

Low back pain can be treated with a myriad of protocols including chiropractic manipulation, as well as exercise or stretching. The most helpful low back exercises I have found come from Dr. Stuart McGill, who has a PhD in kinesiology and is the professor emeritus in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo.

EXERCISES

cat cow cat cow

Cat-Cow: This is a motion exercise, not a stretch. Try to imagine your belly button slowly being pulled up to the ceiling for the Cat, then slowly pulled down to the floor for the Cow. Use your whole back. Hold for no longer than 7-8 seconds. Repeat five times each to begin.

curl up

Curl-Up: This exercise should always follow Cat-Cow, as it is an opposing or anterior exercise. Focus on raising your chest off the ground, rather than your neck or bottom, in a curl-up motion. Breathe deeply. Engage your abs throughout the exercise, but do not increase the intensity of your abs. Instead, choose the appropriate level of challenge and stay there. Alternate each bent knee. Hold for no longer than 7-8 seconds. Repeat five times to begin.

side bridge

Side Bridge: Strengthening all areas of your abs means more support for the spine. The Side Bridge can be done with knees down on the floor for beginners. Do both sides, holding for 7-8 seconds each time. Engage your abs throughout the exercise. Repeat five times each to begin.

bird dog

Bird Dog: Sweep the right hand and the left leg off the ground simultaneously. Hold for 7-8 seconds, then switch to the other side. This motion will enhance stability. Engage your abs throughout the exercise. Repeat five times each to begin.