Thank you for joining us for today’s livestream where we talked about the worst exercises you can do for back pain. We’ve got some examples here of exercises you shouldn’t do, split into three categories to explain why they are incorrect and will make your back pain worse.
Quite often, the exercises we’re talking about today are given during physiotherapy sessions if you go through the NHS route and they’re given for a reason, but they can make your pain worse in the long-run even if they provide a little relief while you’re doing them.
Type 1: Knee hugs/Knee rocks. Knee hugs can often out a space at the back of the spine where the nerves travel through. This extra space relieves pressure on the nerves, which you would imagine would be a good thing and it’s likely to give you a little relief. However, this stretch stretches out an already over-stretched area and it essentially rips open the injury again as it’s trying to knit itself back together. As you pull the knees towards your chest, the rounding of your spine compresses the disc on the front, which can cause it to bulge out to the back and re-aggravate an injury. Knee rocks is where you rock them from side to side and causes the same complication.
We talk you through in the video which two exercises are better for your spine. The towel exercise to help unload the muscles, and performing a shimmy of the hips first thing in the morning.
Type 2: Piriformis/Hamstring Stretch. We recommend stretching the hamstrings and the glutes, including the piriformis. However, the way in which is common to stretch these muscles puts too much rounding through the spine. Often people lay on the floor and stretch it in a knee hug fashion. You need to keep your spine in a neutral position, we teach you how to do the proper stretches on our Back In Shape membership area.
Type 3: Russian Twists. This exercise combines the worst two behaviours for lower back pain. Bending and twisting. This is a really fast way to herniate a disc as the forward bend and rounding of the spine puts pressure on the front of the disc, pushing it out towards the back and the twisting holding a weight pushes even more pressure through there.