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Lower Back Pain remedies
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Jun 28, 2013
I have had on/off lower back pain for 3+ years now. comes and goes. stress and putting my back in a bad position (typically something totally "normal" like putting a shoe on "wrong"..almost never from climbing or cycling) brings it on. I've had a decent run as of late, but it flared up last week. I do have a great PT, but am looking for suggestions to see what has worked for other people.

Specifically I have a partially herniated disk that registers as pain on both left and right sides of my lower back. Periformis (spelling?) stretch, icing, and stretching my siactic nerve have helped. My PT does body manipulation (not sure what to call it...beyond stretching, but not chiropractic) and dry needling with elec. stim. The latter working wonders.

Anyone have a similar deal? If so what works for you? Diet changes, foam rollers, specific strengthening exercises, types of therapy?

Thanks in advance for suggestions...
Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Joined Sep 23, 2006
195 points
Jun 28, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Back Revolution
Back Revolution

I had a similar recurring back pain for about 20 years. Some 15 years ago a neurosurgeon suggest doing dorsal hyperextensions on either a Roman Chair or Back Evolution (shown in the picture). A bit miraculous, since I have not had back pain since then. Unfortunately, it doesn't work for everyone, e.g., my wife. Anyway, back hyperextensions might be worth a try but should be approached cautiously.

From Loveland, Colorado
Joined May 2, 2002
515 points
Jun 28, 2013
Paul I can honestly say that I no longer feel your pain.
I used to have chronic back pain that I thought was a result of wearing tools for many years. I would wake up sore and went about my life dealing with the pain.
We invested in a Tempurpedic Cloud mattress system, once our bodies got used to the change we got better sleep and many of our pains disappeared.
You may want to look into what you're sleeping on?
Just a thought, and I hope you get better!
From trollfreesociety
Joined Feb 15, 2010
5 points
Jun 28, 2013
Paul, how has your PT not given you an exercise therapy regimen? Definitely start there. You will need to strengthen both trunk flexors and extensors (abs and low back). I also believe whole body exercises are a great addition such as squats, Romanian deadlifts, woodchoppers (with a medicine ball), oblique twist woodchoppers, and Turkish get-ups because they train the core to work synergistically with whole body musculoskeletal functions. Of course, some of these exercises may not be appropriate yet or may require very light weight initially. Your back will tell you. Your PT should help guide you.

Also, you should be doing press-ups. This is a manual exercise to help push the disk back into place. If your PT has any McKenzie training, s/he should know this.
From Los Alamos, NM
Joined Mar 5, 2007
1,680 points
Jun 28, 2013
^^ the above post is on point. Tons of lower back pain comes from a weak core/abdominals. Spend a month with a good PT monitored core routine and see if you don't improve. Good luck with it. gosborn
From North Carolina
Joined Mar 14, 2009
0 points
Jun 28, 2013
thanks for all the suggestions! I going to take the advice and look for a new PT who will give me a dedicated plan to follow. Yes I got a few exercises here and there...but with a busy schedule and a family I need a solid plan of action to follow. Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Joined Sep 23, 2006
195 points
Jun 29, 2013
Don't forget to dopsoas stretching! Its your prime rib muscle and one of the prime hip flexors. When we climb a lot it places a ton of pressure on that muscle. Hip flexion with knee extension also places a lot of pressure on your rectus femoris. Both of these can torsion your pelvis but the psoas has especially deep attachments to the lumbar spine.

Of course the Frenchie's need to have their say. This probably shows the cooler animation of what it does:

If that muscle is tight it can really add to the compression of your discs. If you add tight hamstrings you probably never allow the disc to be unweighted. Stretching the psoas takes much of this away.

Of course, its best to have your therapist show you how to do this because you can totally tweak your back if you're too aggressive or if you overdo it. Here's an introduction.

You have to have your opposite foot further in front than you think. For most people, this works best on the edge of the bed at home. Too low or high and you wont' be able to relax. Its very beneficial to watch someone do it, try to do it , watch again and try again. Most people don't know how to rest into it and you'll have to make yourself relax the opposite hip as well as the involved hip.

I do this two to three times a day. When I'm climbing steep stuff I have to do it more often. If I do a huge hike or ski tour I have to do it more often. If you're doing it right, you'll likely feel it in under your abs and often affecting your breathing.

This is one of my favorites and an old school climber who is also a PT showed it to me. Good luck!
Joined Jan 7, 2004
1,165 points
Jul 22, 2013
Hi Paul,

Sorry to hear you are having low back pain.
For sitting at a desk I like this contraption:
I have found that pilates classes on the reformer have helped strengthen my core correctly, which has helped reduce my back pain as well.

Good luck! Joanna
Joanna K.
Joined Dec 3, 2007
0 points
Jul 22, 2013
Get a Body Back Buddy and stretch. Patrick Mulligan
Joined Oct 12, 2011
1,045 points
Jul 22, 2013
Core strength -- pilates is what keeps me going. Allen Sanderson
From Oootah
Joined Jul 6, 2007
1,115 points
Jul 22, 2013
My story is this: whenever my lower back hurts, I do situps every day and it goes away. Then various people told me situps are bad for your back, so I started doing crunches. They also seem to alleviate any lower back pain. Now I read that crunches are bad for your back too. Some web site recommend "The Plank", but this would not seem to strengthen abs and I haven't tried it. I'm confused, because the experts seem to think situps and crunches are bad for the back, but they are the only thing I've found that helps mine! YMMV! George Bell
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jan 1, 2001
4,925 points

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