Can I prevent low back pain? I can? Really?

6th Jul, 2020

Frustrated with your low back pain?

Now, here’s the real deal… Almost everyone will experience low back pain (LBP) at some point in their life. Hmmm…just like getting a cold🤧, or a headache🥴. But don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Your LBP may come and go i.e. recurrent. For example, if you have previously experienced an episode of low back pain, you could potentially experience it again. However, recurrent LBP is definitely not the end of the world! It should not be perceived as something damaging, disabling, or life-threatening.

It is crucial for you to understand the potential source of your LBP and what triggers it. This way, you will be able to manage your LBP if it ever relapses.

_Don’t worry, we got your BACK !_ 😎

Tips for low back pain:

🧘🏻‍♂️Keep calm and don’t BACK down!

Remain active and avoid bed rest! Don’t let your LBP make you feel vulnerable or disabled…

Complete bed rest used to be the ‘mainstay’ of managing acute low back pain. However, it may be a catalyst for recurrent LBP and has a poor prognosis for recovery. On the contrary, those who stay active despite their back pain have shown to recover better and faster. More often than not, routine use of imaging and investigations is not necessary and your spine is really more robust than you think!

During the initial onset of LBP, any movement or even your resting posture can feel significantly awkward. For instance, you may liken it to limping after sustaining an ankle sprain injury. As long as your pain is well-controlled, your movement can be normalised. More importantly, you should not avoid movement while waiting for your pain to settle, before deciding to try moving again.

🧘🏻‍♂Keep calm and BACK off!

Well, believe it or not…extensive research has shown that LBP can be triggered or amplified by non-physical factors such as:

  1. Psychological i.e. negative thoughts that you will not get better, depression, stress, fear of movement or that the “pain is all in my head”
  2. Health-related i.e. fatigue, other illnesses that coexist
  3. Lifestyle-related i.e. poor sleep quality, having a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, smoking, alcohol or
  4. Social i.e. financial issues, poor support at work or home, low job satisfaction, stressful life events (eg. grief over loss of a family member)

Hence, it is important for you to recognize how the above factors can negatively impact your pain experience. You should strive to adopt a healthier lifestyle, both mentally and physically. As much as possible, try to cease smoking, reduce your alcohol intake, manage your stress levels, and consider a healthier diet.

Yes, it may not be easy but…take baby steps…you will get there!

🧘🏻‍♂️Keep calm and have BACK-ups

What to do when I get ‘flare-ups’?

  1. Coping strategies to managing your pain i.e. meditation, breathing exercises
  2. Create an activity diary to log your activities and identify any patterns that could be contributing to your pain and symptoms. This will help you have a better understanding of any activities that could be provocative, and consider altering your activities in the meantime while you allow your pain to settle
  3. Have a good friend or buddy whom you can talk to if you are feeling stress

🧘🏻‍♂️Keep calm but don’t BACK out!

Typically, people with LBP either avoid moving completely or be extra careful with movements and their usual activities of daily living (i.e. gardening, housework), so as to prevent re-injury.

In fact, current evidence strongly recommends that a faster return to your usual routine and activities actually helps facilitate your recovery!

Taking gradual steps to improving your general health will help to minimise your risk of low back pain. Having sufficient sleep, an adequate amount of exercise and activity, a good work-life balance etc. — are all practical and non-invasive ways to manage and prevent LBP.

Can Physiotherapy help with low back pain?

Undeniably, LBP is a complex condition, considering the many different non-physical factors that could be a catalyst to another LBP episode.

In order to manage your LBP holistically, your Physiotherapist will need to thoroughly understand your LBP through interviews and physical assessment. We will also look at your movement patterns and posture and give you ergonomic advice. Adjunct therapy (e.g. manual therapy) may be utilized acutely so that you are able to move better with reduced pain.

We can also integrate specific active coping strategies catered to your lifestyle needs or demands.
Of course (as mentioned), staying active is ultimately the mainstay in LBP prevention. Just like brushing and flossing your teeth, adopting consistent preventative habits and exercises help keep your neuromuscular systems ‘pristine’. 😉

Your therapist will guide you through a series of graded exercises to ensure you can move with ease!

Here are some exercises for low back pain:

4-point kneel cat-camel

Bird dog

Thread the needle

Child’s pose

Book now or give us a call to schedule an appointment to see our Physiotherapist who will be able to partner you to recovery as we address your low back pain!

DISCLAIMER: These advice and exercises should not replace the need for a consultation with a Physiotherapist especially if your condition doesn’t improve. Therapeutic exercise should be carefully selected to suit your condition.


Foster, N. E., Anema, J. R., Cherkin, D., Chou, R., Cohen, S. P., Gross, D. P., … & Woolf, A. (2018). Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions. The Lancet, 391(10137), 2368-2383.

Malfliet, A., Ickmans, K., Huysmans, E., Coppieters, I., Willaert, W., Van Bogaert, W., … & Nijs, J. (2019). Best evidence rehabilitation for chronic pain part 3: low back pain. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(7), 1063.

Oliveira, C. B., Maher, C. G., Pinto, R. Z., Traeger, A. C., Lin, C. W. C., Chenot, J. F., … & Koes, B. W. (2018). Clinical practice guidelines for the management of non-specific low back pain in primary care: an updated overview. European Spine Journal, 27(11), 2791-2803.

Rabey, M., Smith, A., Kent, P., Beales, D., Slater, H., & O’Sullivan, P. (2019). Chronic low back pain is highly individualised: patterns of classification across three unidimensional subgrouping analyses. Scandinavian journal of pain, 19(4), 743-753.

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