With back pain statistics at epidemic levels, its no wonder that everyone seems to be searching for the "golden key" to overcoming it. Of all the tools and techniques available for ending back pain, lower back pain exercises have stood the test of time. However, not all of them are created equal.
What seems to be one of the most important aspects of selecting lower back pain exercises is the systematic order in which they are prescribed. Many experts agree that the order in which back exercises are given, along with all the little "nuances" that go along with them, such as repetitions, sets, rest times, and tempo speeds at which they are performed, is the key to achieving success. These are referred to as "loading parameters".
Order of lower back pain exercises should be dictated by the unique postural features that an individual has. The concept of muscular imbalance, which involves analysis of which muscles are too tight and which are too weak, is a novel concept in the field of back pain therapy. Based on this unique approach, back strengthening exercises can be prescribed to the weak testing muscles, while stretching techniques are applied to the tight testing muscles.
With regards to loading parameters, each muscle group must be approached with different strengthening techniques, depending on its anatomical function. For example, lower back pain exercises that address the glutes, which are a primarily fast-twitch muscle group, may involve lower repetition brackets, such as 10-12 reps, as opposed to the higher repetition brackets prescribed for primarily stabilizer muscles, such as the quadratus lumborum, which may be issued reps as high as 20-30.
Lastly, lower back pain exercises should be ordered in such a way as to progress from most neurologically challenging, to the least. For example, an exercise such as the hip extension over a Swiss ball, which involves focusing on the contraction of the glutes, while on an unstable surface, may be more neurologically challenging to the back pain sufferer than a prone back extension exercise, which focuses on lower back strengthening while lying on the floor, which involves a quite stable surface.
The success of any lower back pain exercise program rests not only on the actual exercises prescribed, but also in the attention to detail that goes into the loading parameters and order of the entire regime.
Sam Visnic is a Neuromuscular Therapist, Nutrition Coach, and certified NLP Practitioner who specializes in providing safe and effective corrective exercise solutions for back pain sufferers. Sam is the developer of the "End Your Back Pain Now!" system. For his content-loaded blog on back pain relief