Chiropractor Chandler AZ

Range of Motion Exercises For Acute Low Back Pain

Acute lower back pain can happen with a sudden movement, twist, bending motion, or lifting activity. People can either experience a sharp, stabbing pain right when they injure their lower back, or they can feel it slowly progress over time. Sometimes the pain can increase for 1 to 2 days before becoming severe and limiting.

During the acute phase, our goals are to decrease pain, muscle spasms, and inflammation in an injured area. This is not the time to be aggressive with the injury. You are essentially going downhill, and our goals are to stop the dissent and get you going in the right direction. Ice is an excellent treatment during this time. It does a tremendous job of decreasing pain and inflammation.

Light movement exercises can be performed to decrease pain. Joint movement blocks pain sensors from sending signals to the brain. Light movement also tells the body that it is okay and not as injured is it may think. All exercises should be performed in a pain-free range of motion. If it hurts, stop! Don't go that far. All exercises should be a nice, slow, and controlled rock in a pain-free zone.

After several repetitions. you might find an increased ability to move further without pain. This is not the time to push your luck.

Sometimes people think that if some is good, more is better. This is not the case with acute injuries. Remember, you are going downhill after injuring a muscle, tendon, or joint. Trying to push too hard during the acute phase increases the possibility of exacerbating your injury or increasing your muscle spasms.

Knee Side To Side

Perform the knee side-to-side exercises in a slow and controlled manner. Start on your back with your knees bent. Very slowly rock them to your left, stopping before experiencing any pain or spasms. Slowly rock back to a neutral position and toward the right, once again stopping if you experience any lower back pain. Slowly rock your knees back and forth 15 to 20 times.

Knee To Chest

Laying on your back with knees bent, grab your right knee with both hands and pull it toward the chest. You should feel a comfortable stretch and hold for 20 seconds and then release the stretch for a few seconds and then stretch toward the chest again. Repeat with the other leg. If those go well, pull both knees to the chest for a comfortable stretch. For a greater stretch, pull one knee to the chest and straighten the other leg.

Hip Stretch

Another exercise you can perform while lying on your back is to pull your left knee toward your chest. You should experience a light, comfortable stretch in your lower back. Stop if it hurts. After holding for a few seconds, slowly lower your left knee toward your right. Repeat the raising and lowering of the left knee 10 times. This exercise can then be repeated on the right side.

Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilt exercises can also be performed if the first two are going well. Either in a sitting or lying position, tip your pelvis forward, pausing for a few seconds before tipping your pelvis backwards. Slowly tip your pelvis forward with a pause before rocking backwards. Repeat this 15 to 20 times.

I like to describe these exercises as rusty door hinge exercises. Slowly rock the back joints to increase movement, just as if you were trying to rock a rusty door hinge gate. With a rusty hinge, there is not any advantage to being overly aggressive and kicking the gate open. It is better to be slow and safe in order to decrease pain and reduce the risk of further damage.

Cat / Camel

Start with on your hands and knees hands shoulder width apart. From a neutral quadruped position, lower the stomach to the ground arching the back. Then slowly round the back, pausing at the top. This exercise is basically a pelvic tilt from your hands and knees, which can be more comfortable for some people. This should be comfortable and not painful. Slow and deliberate movements are important.

Basic Low Back Exercises:

Loosen Up First:

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