Back in 2018 I hurt my back. At the time, it didn’t feel like a big deal but as I continued with a squat program and then traveled back to Ireland for 3 weeks I started feeling it become an issue.
It took over 4 years to fix my lower back pain and it still plays up from time to time. When it does, now instead of panicking, I have go-to movements that I use to alleviate lower back pain. These movements have been lifesavers to me.
Before I jump into the movements, first I want to talk about the psychology around pain which is just as important as the physical rehab when it comes to overcoming back pain. The downward anxiety spiral I and others struggle with when they get injured can make your recovery much slower.
Joe Gambino goes into more detail on this in our podcast together. You can listen to that here. I like this framing from Kelly Starret, who uses Byron Katie’s work to let go of 3 major back pain untruths.
Untruth #1: This is bad but it may get worse The belief that it may get worse drives a lot of unrealistic fear expectations. You have some agency and control in making yourself feel better.
Untruth #2: This will never change The body is a miraculous healing machine, and we’ve seen that even discs always heal. You’re not fragile. This notion that you’ll never get better is simply an untruth. It can be serious and it can be a gigantic pain, but I guarantee you we will see improvement over the long haul.
Untruth #3: You can’t take it The feeling that you can’t take this is very real, I’m not denying that. However I want you to understand that if we shift that loci of control, things will change positively and you can handle it.
Step 1: Focus on how you’re spending your day
If you have an injury, it means a lot of things that used to be okay, no longer are. For me, I used to be able to sit all day. When I hurt my back, that all changed. I had to move more frequently to ease the compression on my back. So a simple habit is to walk 6k steps daily or more (ideally 10k+). Three simple habits to make these easier are:
- Walk for 10 minutes after every meal
- Park your car further from the shop/work.
- Every 60 minutes you sit, walk for 2 minutes (at work).
Step 2: Follow these movements for your lower back pain rehab
You can watch here the video.
- Glute bridges
- Bird dogs
- Spiderman lunge
Repeat these movements for 30-60s for 2-3 sets. Give yourself 60s rest between rounds. If 30s are too much with the hanging, use your feet as training wheels. All of these movements help to keep the core strong, open the hips and decompress the spine which will help you stay on top of your lower back pain.
Step 3: Use these to alleviate lower back pain
You can watch here the video.
- Side bends or ½ side bends
- Dowel rod hinge
- Low back release
Repeat these movements for 30-60s for 2-3 sets, resting 60s between sets. I like this combo when I get a flare up. The side bends help to open up my QLs which tend to get tight from sitting and life in general.
The dowel rod hinge helps you use your hips vs lower back when you’re bending. It will also help your deadlift technique which will become an important movement later in your lower back rehab journey. The lower back release gives me a nice release when I feel a lot of tension in my lower back.
So there you have it. These 3 steps are what I use on myself and with my clients who struggle with lower back pain. The important thing with lower back pain and injuries in general is the dose or volume you apply to it.
This is where having a coach to help you stay accountable and give you feedback is essential and it’s something that helped me most on my own lower back pain recovery. If you want help fixing your back pain and feeling a decade lower, DM me “COACH1” on Instagram and I’ll see if I can help you too.