How One Client Reduced Low Back Pain with Corrective Exercises

If you think that having low back pain means there is a problem with your lower back, think again.  Low back pain is related to numerous ailments, but causes are not yet known.

Below is a picture of one of my clients.  Forgive me for the quality!  He came to me complaining of consistent low back pain.  He said he had been to various doctors including chiropractors and hadn’t found any relief.  So, the first thing I did was an in depth assessment including taking pictures of his static posture.

You can see from this picture on day 1 the angle of his shoulder joint.  Much of his face is covered by his arms.  This is limited mobility.  Now, if you’re trying this at home — it’s possible to pull your arms back further by thrusting your hips forward and arching your lower back, but that only gives you false range of motion.

Before corrective exercises were introduced.

For the first three weeks of his program, we only worked on restoring normal range of motion.  This included self myofascial release, a.k.a. foam rolling, stretches, and mobility exercises.  He did not lift a single weight!  Plus, he had homework exercises to do daily at home.

Within a couple weeks, he was reporting reduced lower back pain.  We continued to work on restoring muscle length not only in his shoulder joint, but also in his hips.  I began to add in some light strength training.

This is a picture I took to measure progress 7 weeks after the start of his training program.  Notice how the line through the shoulder joint is much straighter compared to the first picture.  This is where your arms should be positioned while overhead.  This is pretty close to “normal” mobility in the shoulder joint.

7 weeks after corrective exercises. Notice how much more of his face is visible.

You may be wondering how improvements in shoulder range of motion affect the lower back.  Well, you have a large muscle called the latissimus dorsi (you may know it as the “lats”) that is connected to much of the spine, pelvis, and shoulder joint.  When the lats are restricted, they don’t allow you to lift your arms.  Also, if they are tight, they will pull on your lower back.

Latissimus Dorsi Muscle. Photo credit: TeachPE.com

It’s truly amazing how the combination of the right exercises can resolve posture issues.  And one benefit of restoring proper function is less pain.  In less than two months, if you could get yourself out of chronic pain, wouldn’t you try?  Visit us or a qualified personal trainer in your area!

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