Those days are long gone, with research showing that the best way to work through back problems, or any other injuries, is to keep moving, moving, moving. Rehabilitation exercises help to keep your muscles and joints strong, preventing them from wasting away (or atrophying).
Not only that, a tailor-made recovery program will get you back on the road to physical and mental health. It may be wise to seek the guidance of a qualified professional – such as a GP, physiotherapist, osteopath, chiropractor or sports specialist – to get an accurate diagnosis, and develop an effective and safe treatment plan.
Paul Percy is a principal physiotherapist with Kieser Training’s Mont Albert centre. Kieser Training is a Victorian-based network of physiotherapy, rehabilitation, strength and conditioning centres. Kieser Training aims to provide long-term solutions to musculoskeletal problems, particularly lower back pain (www.kieser-training.com.au).
“Eighty per cent of lower back pain is related to weak core stabilisers, our deep lumbar extensor muscles. Usually people avoid exercise, but the long-term solution is to get these muscles strong again once the acute episode of pain has settled,” Paul said.
“Often we begin training the muscle at a very low weight. The aim is to fatigue the deep lumbar extensor muscles, then give them a period to recover and adapt to the stimulus, before increasing the load to challenge the muscle yet again.
“This helps to rebuild strength in the area and empower people to rehabilitate quickly so they can return to their job, sports or other activities. Even if they can’t do everything to the level they were doing before, exercising through an injury is a huge confidence booster. It helps people see the light at the end of the tunnel, and has a huge impact on mental health.”
Paul said Kieser Training specialised in strengthening and conditioning deep spinal muscles using unique lumbar extension equipment from Europe.
Top tips for your recovery program
- Have patience throughout your recovery process. Be aware that it’s completely normal to feel frustrated, angry or confused about an injury. Seek psychological support if necessary.
- Try to learn as much as you can about your injury so that you know what to expect for your recovery. Ask questions and take responsibility for your rehabilitation.
- Stay positive and motivated, but be prepared for setbacks.
- Know the difference between pain and discomfort. Know when to rest and don’t push your body beyond its limitations. Stay safe.
- Set specific goals and stick to your recovery schedule (such as attending exercising classes or attending rehab sessions).
- From time to time, review your goals and recovery timelines to ensure they are realistic and relevant.
- Be creative about the types of activities you do. Be willing to try new things in order to keep fit, particularly low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling.
- Eat well and sleep well in order to help the healing process.