Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints we see in clinic. Research tell us that up to 90% of the population will suffer from it over their lifetime and each year, 16% of Australians will suffer from a lower back injury.
If you have ever had back pain, you know how difficult it is to exercise during this time, however exercise is no doubt the most effective treatment for this condition. Most people have heard of their ‘core’ and have been prescribed specific exercises to help to treat lower back pain. Following core exercises, we need to continue our strengthening and at this point progressing to weighted deadlifts and squats may be incredibly beneficial and can help reduce recurrence in the long term quite significantly.
The muscles in our lower back are large and strong and, should help to reduce joint stress by carrying load through tension. However, like any muscle we need to place them under sufficient load frequently for this to be the case. Movements such as squats and deadlifts, recruit these muscles in unison with the multiple other muscle groups such as our core and gluteals. These exercises also mimic functional movements, teaching us to utilise these muscle groups when we are lifting and carrying in our daily life.
There have been many studies in more recent years that have researched the use of a deadlift and/or a squat as a treatment for chronic low back pain. One study found that back pain reduced significantly if patients could work up to squatting and deadlifting >80% of their body weight.
Many people worry that heavy lifting such as this will worsen their pain, or have tried in the past and felt this has been the cause of their injury. While people can injure themselves, it is most commonly a case of poor technique and often lifting too much too soon that is the issue rather than the exercise itself. It is all about getting the weight right and ensuring you have the correct technique first.
If you suffer from chronic low back pain, give us a call. Adding in some heavy squats and deadlifts may be the final step in your rehabilitation journey!
Article by Hannah Graham