Activities to avoid and change,
Strategies for quick relief,
Stretching for longer-lasting relief,
Corrective Exercises, Yoga, and more…
This pain pattern indicates disc compression at the lumbosacral joint.
If this pain is chronic or debilitating, seek professional help.
Activities To Avoid or Change:
Like this other pain pattern, spending lots of time with your hips flexed (i.e. extended forward or backward) will make this worse. Sleeping in a flexed position, sitting for long periods, driving, etc.
Avoid activities that have an impact on your low back; basketball, jet-ski, trail running, etc. This is an indicator that the lumbar disc is compressed and you may make this problem worse,
For temporary relief:
Icing helps to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Put it right on the painful spot. If it is a larger ice-pack, like this one, cover the low-back as well.
I like these 10×13 ice packs to focus the icing on the right area. They have a cloth covering to prevent frostbite when you’re in too much pain to find and position a thin cloth between the pack and your skin. Here is a post with guidelines on using an ice pack. These ice packs are available here on Amazon.
Stretches and exercises for longer-lasting relief:
Start with these supine twists. They mobilize the lower back and hip without compressing the lumbosacral joint.
In yoga, Spinx is a good start. A version of this was suggested by physical therapist for many years before yoga had its surge in popularity.
The Spinx pose is gentle, gives you lots of control and it is easy to do. Pulling in your abdomen and taking your shoulders back to open your abdomen adds a bit extra to the stretch.
This Upward-Dog position is a good next step. She does a great job of lifting up with moderate bending and without pressing the hips into the mat. Pressing hips into the mat may create pressure on the discs and sharp pain in the low back.
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The stretches above are the place to start. Once you can get your abdomen open, these poses can help build strength and stability.
Bridges are a reliable step in the progression of strengthening your core.. They help build the opposing muscles in the low back and hamstrings. Ease into them and avoid pushing into the sharp pain at the base of the back.
Start out lifting just until you get tension. Pull your belly button in as you reach the top. Hold each repetition for about 2 seconds and drop all the way back down. Do 10-20 twice a day or more. This will build the opposing muscles. Lift until your hips are arched above level.
These will be easier if you do 10 reps of the supine twist on each side before your bridges.
If you have good lateral stability, lunges can be a good choice. They offer a lot of control from side to side. They also build erectors and lengthen the rectus femoris.
Warm up with supine twists, bridges and upward dog.
This high lunge is particularly good for psoas problems as it lengthens the front wall of the abdomen.
Other patterns that may better match your pain pattern…
There are trigger point patterns
that have similar areas of referral
and impaired activities.
There are many patterns in the low back and some other that are similar in how they make it feel stiff on one side. Look at this collection of posts on low back pain.
This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began changing the format of the posts to include more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We’d love your feedback. We are adding posts and converting the old posts as quickly as time permits.
Weekly Featured Post
This post covers the basics of Ice-and-Stretch, a toll that is used extensively in these posts combined with Active Isolated Stretching and Yoga poses.
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