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BY DR. ARNAN SISSON
01 FEBRUARY 2019
Very often when a person has back pain two things happen. The first is sensitivity. The back is very sensitive to movement, and this leads to quick flare ups of pain. The second problem that arises from back issues is deconditioning. Because you’re not feeling great, you end up walking less and may even get rid of exercise as a whole for months.
A great way to begin the process of rehabbing your back is to build up gentle movement. Walking is great at doing that, but it doesn’t stretch and work the muscles of the lower back quite the same way as a squat. Not just that, but a squat is a fundamental movement that you’ll need to do housework, play with the grandkids, or heck even go to the bathroom!
Half the problem with doing squats is knowing where to begin. So today we’ll go over a few squat progressions that anyone with back pain can use today to get off the pills and get time back with family and friends.
The most basic form of a squat is a sit to stand. You simply find a chair with arm rests and stand using your arms. Try to build up to three sets of 5-10 reps. Once you’ve mastered that you can go armless for the same rep scheme.
That is a great way to get most folks started, but in the case of that being too difficult. Raising the height of the chair will make it more attainable and as you get stronger you can lower the height.
The next step would be to get in a shoulder width squat stance and stand in front of an adjustable chair. Start at the highest height, squat down to tap the chair (don’t rest here) and come back up to standing. This is to be done a few times, and you gradually lower the height of the chair, do a few reps, and repeat until you are at the lowest height. In this position, you’d perform three sets of 5-10 repetitions. Its important the note that if your using a rolling chair to position it against a wall so it doesn’t move while your squatting.
If you don’t have a rolling chair, just using a few chairs at different heights is a great way to do this. Just gradually work your way down to the lowest height.
That progression is a great simple way to build up your back durability and combat back pain slowly. Its important to use pain as your guide though. Squatting should not cause a large increase in back pain during the exercise or beyond 30 minutes after. If it does you need to find an easier progression and work around that for a little while longer.
That’s it for today everyone, remember movement is medicine!
P.S. Want some more help with that back of yours? I’ve just created a 13 Step Check List that will help anyone with back pain or sciatica get started on losing the pills and getting back to exercise. Just head over to http://sissonpt.com/backchecksheet to download it for free. Enjoy!