As the topic of exercise for lower back pain is huge, and one I’ve covered a few times in the past, I thought I’d give you a high-level view of the advice we offer these days; which is based on the latest research, as well as being grounded in clinical guidelines.
Front, back and sides
Any of you seeing me 3-4 weeks ago might be forgiven for thinking I’ve signed up to the armed forces – such was the shortness of my haircut (courtesy of a local Turkish barber, who is lucky to remain nameless). I did NOT ask for a number 2 all over, but that seems to be what I got. Anyway, enough digression… Front, back and sides, in this context is not a reference to my haircut. It’s a reference to the importance of all your abdomino-pelvic muscles in the intricate support of your spine.
In the world of lower back pain (and other musucloskeletal disorders), there’s been a huge focus on the muscles Transversus Abdominis and Multifidus (“core stability) over the last 10 years. While many of you may have benefited greatly from improving your core (don’t stop if it’s helping you!), there is more evidence supporting the importance of a focus on ALL of the muscles in the area, rather than on just two! Hence the “front, back and sides (FBaS)”. We take this so seriously here that we have been testing people’s FBaS muscle endurance for the last year and have confirmed that those with recurring bouts of lower back pain tend to have a poor balance between the FBaS muscles. Think of it like the guy ropes supporting a tent pole – if some (or one) of them tire faster than the others, the spine will lean to one side and eventually “buckle”.
This won’t be news to Professor Stuart McGill of Waterloo University in Ontario, Canada – he’s been researching this topic for decades, undertaking ground-breaking work in analysing how the human spine and its supporting muscles interact under load and in injury states. I’m a big fan. Anyway, next time you’re thinking of coming to see us, why not ask for a “Front Back and Sides” to go with a Digital Spinal Assessment… it’s evolved to become our gold-standard assessment for people with recurring lower back pain. If you’d like to book, just call Andreea on 0131 221 1415, or email me for more information.