Let us start off by saying that there are many different forms of back pain. The type of back pain you are experiencing will often dictate what exercises you will respond to. For simplicity, we have divided back pain into 3 categories depending on what type of movements you prefer. The first grouping are the extension responders, the second group are flexion responders, and the third group often have trouble with stability of the SIJ (Pelvic joint).
Are you experiencing symptoms that:
Extension responders tend to be between the ages of 20 and 65 who experience low back pain, likely accompanied by sciatica (pain that starts in the low back and travels down the leg, or pain present in the leg) that worsens with sitting and bending. Sudden and abrupt movements, like coughing and sneezing can increase the pain.
Typically, if you are an extension responder, you will find relief in standing and walking. There may be associated diagnostic imaging findings of a posterior disc herniation in the lumbar spine at the level of L4/5 or L5/S1. However, obtaining imaging is not mandatory to try movement specific exercises or to seek out the advice of a registered physiotherapist or chiropractor. If this description sounds like you, you may benefit from an extension exercise protocol. Here are our top three exercises for these extension responders.
1. Sloppy push-ups
2. Repeated extensions in standing
3. Standing hip flexor stretch