Exercises for the back
Q: I am a 31 years old male. About two years back while massaging my friends back, suddenly I sprained my waist, just above my hips. The position of the massage was that my friend was lying chest down & my right leg was on the middle of his back while I tried to pull his hands from behind. It was a little difficult to walk after the sprain. As per Orthopaedic doctor, I am doing some back exercises regularly. X-ray was done on L/S Spine AP and Lateral. X-ray report stated lumbosacral spine shows no bony lesion except loss of lumbar lordosis. Most of the doctors have dismissed this as having anything to do with the bone or the structure. Some months back when the pain had seemed to have disappeared, one of my friends tried experimenting by pressing the affected area of the lower back to test whether the pain is still there. To my surprise the pain could be felt when pressing and when the hand was pressed deep inside the region of the lower back, circle of the waist line as well as at the middle of both the hips, I could feel pain. Therefore I told my friend to massage the entire region. When doing that (massage) he sometimes used to do it with all his strength. After some days, I noticed red colour swelling all over my waist and hips area, which disappeared after a week, while I continued with the massage. After some weeks I could understand it is not making me any better therefore I went to a doctor who prescribed me some exercises & ultrasound. I have not taken the ultrasound yet but doing the exercises regularly. Secretly I am still doing little massaging of the affected area very gently (once a day). I am applying hot pad which runs on electricity on the affected area once a day. Right now the pains have reduced greatly, but I find difficulty to lift heavy objects as well as carry them on my shoulders. I am in a great dilemma whether to take ultrasound or not. One of the doctors has suggested ultrasound is not required, but others have suggested it. My query is whether the experimentation or trial & error with number of doctors & treatments have harmed me or not? I am also at a loss whether this irresponsible treatments & experimentation will leave a chance of the pain to come back. I am interested in your view. Lastly I do not know whether the doctors who have prescribed me the exercises are the right ones or not. Could you please explain the following - Light back exercises 4 sets of 10 repetitions 3 times a week and build up.
A:Long standing pains do respond to ultrasound very well. You will not experiment with it, but it will help your back to heal faster. You can get it done at any nearby physiotherapy clinic. Doing exercises while the pain persists is not advisable. It will aggravate your symptoms. Let your pain subside, and then go for exercises. I can advise you a few of them as follows:
a) It is always better to do exercises under supervision in the beginning. Your physiotherapist should be able to help you.
b) The pelvic tilt: Lie flat on your back (or stand with your back to a wall), knees bent, feet flat on the floor, body relaxed. Tighten abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis, so that the curve of the small of the back is flat on the floor (or against the wall). Tighten buttocks muscles. Hold for ten seconds, then relax.
c) Partial sit-ups: Do this exercise only if your doctor recommends it. Lie flat on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, with your arms by your side for easy balance. Tighten your abdominal muscles, lift your head so your chin touches your chest, then raise your shoulders off the floor slightly as you reach for your toes. Hold for five seconds, then slowly lower your head to the floor.
d) Cat stretch: Kneel on the floor on your hands and knees. Relax your abdomen and let your back sag. Then tighten your stomach muscles and arch your back.
e) Partial Press-up: Build up the counts gradually.
Walking is the best exercise for your back. Please stop doing the massage on your back.