Exercise is such an important thing for all of us to be doing for a whole host of reasons. Doing the right kinds of exercises for the lower back as part of an overall exercise routine can be such an important thing. Something that I tell people when they come in and they have lower back pain from a variety of different causes, and they’re concerned that this is going to now be a lifelong thing that they’re dealing with, is that once somebody goes through an episode of lower back pain, if they do nothing about it and we just take care of the symptoms, then they are going to be more likely in the future, probably, to develop a similar kind of episode somewhere down the line.
The spine is like a mast on a ship. The ropes are attached to the mast to help unload the mast so that the mast doesn’t fall over and crack. The mast can’t support its own weight without the ropes.
The same is true with the human spine. You take the human spine out and you put it on the table, and you put some axial pressure onto it, it can support about 35 pounds of pressure. We all weigh more than 35 pounds, so we all rely on certain muscles that attach onto the spine to help take the pressure off of the spine. When those muscles are weak, or imbalanced, or not integrated properly, then the stresses that go through us every day, instead of getting taken up by the muscles the way we’d like them to, they start going through the static structures in the spine, the things that can’t get out of the way, the discs, the facet joints, and that leads to a lot of wear and tear within the spine. By getting the muscles right, we take the pressure off the spine and we make the spine a lot more durable.
Doing exercises for the spine doesn’t have to be a life change or even a major commitment, but we do need to be consistent with it. We should plan to do at least 10 to 15 minutes of exercises on a relatively daily basis to retrain the muscles.