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What Are The Best Physical Therapy Exercises For Chronic Back Pain

What Are The Best Physical Therapy Exercises For Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain can impact almost any part of the day, from getting dressed in the morning to sitting down for dinner at night. Symptoms might feel mild, but they can fluctuate and become much worse, particularly during certain activities like driving or working. As a matter of fact, back pain is the most common reason for missing a day of work.

Finding ways to settle the pain and get back to normal is essential. Under the guidance of physical therapy, exercises can be a great starting point to get chronic back pain relief in Mechanicsburg.

Why Back Pain Happens

The back is complex, so there are many ways it can get hurt. Sometimes, certain health conditions, such as osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis, can cause back pain. Additionally, although rare, back pain can also be caused by serious underlying pathology that needs to be addressed by a doctor.

However, most causes of back pain are mechanical – meaning, the issue is coming from the muscles, joints, or other soft tissue. Some of the common causes of back pain include lifting something too heavy, twisting awkwardly, poor posture, repetitive movements, or sitting for too long. Even the simplest movements can trigger an episode of back pain.

There are three main stages of back pain: acute (short-term), sub-acute (mid-term), and chronic back (long term), pain.

Chronic Back Pain

Back pain is labeled “chronic” after symptoms have persisted for more than three months. Chronic back pain can affect any part of the spine, starting from the neck to the lower back. It’s common to experience pain, tightness, and have fear of movement. Living with chronic pain can affect an individual’s mood, emotions, and quality of life.

Chronic back pain therapy was developed to specifically address chronic symptoms in the back. A large part of the therapy is exercise.

The Best Physical Therapy Exercises For Chronic Back Pain

For persistent pain, physical therapy is an effective treatment option. A physical therapist will guide the type and technique for each exercise, ensuring the right muscles are activated while avoiding negative symptoms. Here are some of the best exercises that a physical therapist may suggest for chronic back pain:

Knees To Chest

A stretch to ease chronic back pain, bringing the knees to the chest, can help relieve tension in the lower back.

How to do knees to chest:

  • Start in the supine position with both feet on the floor
  • Draw one knee towards the chest, keeping the other leg in place
  • Hold for 10 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is a stretching exercise derived from yoga. It can provide immediate relief of symptoms by lengthening the tight muscles in the back.

How to do child’s pose:

  • Start on all fours (hands and knees), with the hands aligned under the shoulders and the knees aligned under the hips
  • Slowly rock backward, moving the hips towards the heels and the chest towards the floor
  • Walk the hands out in front
  • Hold for 10 seconds

Knee rocking

Knee rocking can help ease chronic back pain by mobilizing stiff joints and muscles.

How to do lumbar rocking:

  • Start in the supine position with both feet on the floor
  • Rock the knees gently over to one side (this does not have to be a big movement)
  • Hold, then rock the knees gently over to the other side
  • Repeat in an alternating pattern

Hip flexor stretch

Hip flexor stretching can be very beneficial for chronic back pain as the muscles at the front of the hip originate from the spine.

How to do a hip flexor stretch:

  • Start in a lunge position with the right foot forward (hold onto a bench or wall for stability, as needed)
  • Lower the left knee to the floor
  • Gently shift forward over the right ankle until a stretch is felt at the front of the left hip
  • Hold for 10 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side

Pelvic tilts

Pelvic tilting is a mobility exercise that can help retrain normal movement and muscle activation around the hips and back.

How to do pelvic tilting:

  • Start in the supine position with both feet on the floor
  • Slowly tilt the pelvis forward to arch the lower back
  • Pause, then slowly tilt the pelvis backward
  • Repeat in an alternating pattern

Individualized Exercises And Advice

Back pain differs from person to person. Our FYZICAL therapists will suggest regressions or progressions of these exercises depending on the symptom severity and cause of the pain. They will also give advice on the specific type, duration, and number of repetitions for each exercise. The exercises should not cause any bad pain, so it is important to inform us if the pain is worsening so that we can monitor what is happening.

Chronic Back Pain Therapy In Mechanicsburg

Most people experience some form of back pain throughout their life, and it can be debilitating. For persistent back pain, get in touch with our experienced physical therapists at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers in Mechanicsburg, PA.

Always seek guidance from a medical professional about any specific health questions or issues.