All Posts Tagged: low back pain

Cycling and Low Back Pain in Glasgow & Ayrshire

Cycling and Low Back Pain in Glasgow & Ayrshire

Cycling and Low Back Pain in Glasgow & Ayrshire

Cycling is known to be a very fun and effective way to exercise. There is some doubt, though, as to how posture when riding, can affect the lower back and whether cycling is effective in healing lower back pain.

Cyclists ride either round-back, flat-back, or curved-back, depending on the degree of pelvic rotation and spinal flexion. It seems that the choice of position when riding a bike is mainly related to saddle height, saddle angle or turn, and the form of handlebar. Some handlebars offer multiple options as to where you can place your hands, e.g. on the grips (most upright), on the bar closer to the stem (medium position), or on the drops — the lowest option offered on the under / racing handlebar type curl.

One would imagine flat-back posture might be better for the lower back, precisely because it prevents the two extremes. However, this position is synonymous with greater wind resistance and is likely to be avoided by more serious riders trying to cycle as efficiently as possible. One pilot study looked at the lumbar spine angle of young adult recreational cyclists as they utilised all three postures in ten-minute intervals with different bike configurations and found that the “curve-in back” position caused by gripping the drops resulted in the greatest increase in spinal flexion over time. In individuals with a low back problem, this increased spinal flexion can lead to increased pain and associated symptoms over time.

Another study looked at how a bike is fitted, the position of the cyclist, and the perception of comfort, fatigue, and pain. Twenty bikers raced for 45 minutes in three out of nine possible places at 50 percent of their total aerobic strength performance. The three positions were defined by two parameters: knee flexion angle (20°, 30°, 40°) and trunk flexion angle (35°, 45°, 55°), in a random order. The results showed that having the trunk upright (not bent forward) and the seat height adjusted so the knee flexion angle was 30° was the most comfortable position for participants. In addition, the researchers found that tilting the seat forward reduced the low back discomfort in people with the condition.

As part of the healing process for low back pain, Osteopaths also urge patients to exercise. Due to its low-impact nature, as well as being really fun, cycling is a perfect choice. However, it’s important to make sure your bike suits in such a way that you can ride easily with a good balance and not worsen your condition.

If you are suffering from low back pain or any condition you may feel the need for treatment, please book online at

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Choose Your Osteopath First for Low Back Pain

Choose Your Osteopath First for Low Back Pain

Seeing an Osteopath first will also reduce a patient’s risk of needing to perform a surgical operation to treat back pain. A research released in Spine in 2013 looked at statistics from government employees and found 43 percent of those with a back injury who first approached their doctor, ended up getting surgery when just 1.5 percent of those who first had Osteopathic treatment eventually had surgery for back pain — a major disparity.

Will it matter what sort of health care provider a patient first sees for treatment when it comes to a condition like low back pain? A report released in 2015 investigated this issue and concluded that a patient’s originally treated form of healthcare provider, had a significant effect on both their short-term and long-term prognoses.

Researchers in the study examined 719 patients with low back pain, 403 of whom first met with a general practitioner and the remainder were first receiving treatment from an Osteopath. Studies found that not only did the patients in the Osteopathic Treatment community report a significant decline in their low back pain, they were much more satisfied with their treatment. The study concluded they strongly recommended Osteopathic care for patients with low back pain as the main and initial treatment option.

In a 2019 study, researchers reviewed medical records from over 216,000 patients without a history of opioid use and who had new-onset back pain, to see if initial provider choice influenced future prescription narcotic use.  The results showed that in the short-term 22 percent of patients required an opioid prescription; however, patients who first met with an Osteopath were much less likely to need either a short-term or long-term medication plan, than those who first saw a general practitioner. The study authors concluded, “Incentivising use of conservative therapists may be a strategy to reduce risks of early and long-term opioid use.”

A subsequent research tracked a group of 2,870 patients for four-years, with acute and chronic low back pain. The researchers found that Osteopathic treatment offered more beneficial short-term outcomes for patients with chronic back pain, while patients with both acute and chronic low back pain showed better long-term outcomes, especially in chronic patients with leg pain extending below the knee.

Try Osteopathic treatment FIRST to find the most comfortable, reliable and cost-effective approach to treating acute or chronic low back pain! Book online at

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Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain – Injuries of the Seasons

Every season brings different activities that require us to do some of the physical activity that we may not want to do but have no choice. Shovelling snow comes to mind in the winter (at least in some parts of the country) while spring, summer, and autumn may include sweeping, mowing, and raking in the garden. All these seasonal events are the”… I’ve got to..” daily living activities (ADLs), rather than the ADLs we want to do. Let’s just think of snow shovelling. Of course, if snow isn’t a matter where you live, this knowledge can also be applied to gardening, digging a hole, or some other shovelling activity related to the garden.

Next, a few details that help us understand why back pain when we shovel is so common: 1. About 2/3rds of our body weight is supported as we lean over, in addition to what we are lifting. Thus a person of 180 pounds (~80 kg) must lift 120 lbs(~54 kg) of body weight whenever he or she bends. 2. A weight of 5 lbs (~2,25 kg) will put 50 lbs (22,5 kg) of load on your back when it is held at the end of a shovel in front of you! 3) Our legs are much smaller than our arms and back. If a person can press 300 lbs (~136 kg) on the bench, they can normally press 500 lbs (~236 kg) of the legs-almost 2x more. Yet most of us, when shovelling, use our arms and not our legs. 4) Most of us use poor technique to lean over, raise the shovel with the arms and back (not the legs), and easily stretch and twist the back as we throw the material from the shovel! 5) Then, this faulty action is repeated many, many times, and on top of that, it’s not something we’re used to doing and, therefore, we’re not physically adapted or “in shape” for shovelling. It’s no wonder with all these “truths,” why we can still barely move after an hour of shovelling!

I suppose it makes more sense to hire a gardener (or convince your own child) to do the shovelling, but let’s presume you have to do it yourself … We can’t change the fact that most of our body’s weight is above our waist so we’re stuck with it and we won’t lose excess weight in time before shovelling. Nevertheless, we can certainly put less material on the shovel so there’s less pressure on our back. It’s necessary to use your strong leg muscles to squat down while keeping your back as straight / vertical as possible – Do NOT bend over. Try to stick your bottom out (to maintain an inward curve in your back), raise the shovel / material load straight up with your hands, holding the arched back / bottom out pose. Keep your arms / elbows straight and walk the load of the shovel to the dumping location – do not try to throw the load away by twisting your body.

When you injure your back-using a cut comparison on your face-avoid picking on the wound to repair it. Using ice / rest accompanied by gentle stretching and adjusted exercises if your back hurts after shovelling – don’t go back out and shovel (i.e. don’t pick at your cut!). Some wise shovelling considerations include warming up before you start, keeping “in shape” by year-round workouts, maintaining a good balanced diet and getting enough sleep.

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Low Back Pain

Low back pain? – What to do straight away (Part 1)

At some level, low back pain (LBP) will most likely hit all of us, at least that’s what the statistics say. How we respond to it can be vital to its advancement or cessation. Here are some “highlights” of what to do if this happens to you.

STOP:  The most important thing you can do is stop what you are doing — that is, if you’re lucky enough to get pre-warned before the LBP strikes crisis point. This move can be crucial, since it may be too late to reverse the cycle quickly once it hurts too much.

The “trigger” of LBP is often cumulative, meaning it happens gradually over time, usually through repetitive motion overloading the area. As previously stated, if you are lucky enough, you’ll be warned that before LBP becomes an occurrence that disables / prevents. Normally, the nerve endings in the damaged tissue activate muscle guarding as a protective mechanism when the tissues in the low back are over-stressed and initially wounded. This “muscle spasm” reflex limits the flow of blood leading to more pain producing a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped!

REACT: This is the “hard part” because it needs you to actually do something, but once you prove to yourself that this strategy really works, you will not hesitate. You will need to determine your preference for “direction,” or the position that reduces LBP. Once you’ve developed yourself, you can do exercises to help relieve back pain. To do this job, you need to be able to do these exercises in public without attracting too much attention, so that you can feel comfortable doing them anywhere at any time.

EXERCISE A: When bending forward feels relaxed, the alternative exercise is to sit down and (a) cross one leg over the other, (b) lift the knee to the opposite shoulder, and (c) push the knee in different positions to adjust the “pull” area. Stretch out each tight area by applying an arch to the lower back, move the trunk to the side of the flexed knee (sit tall and twist — if it doesn’t hurt) and switch between those positions (10-15 seconds at a time) until the stretched area feels “loosened up.” A second exercise is to sit and rotate the trunk until you feel a stretch. Again, during the twists alternate between different degrees of low back arching, feeling for different stretch areas until it feels looser, usually 5-15 seconds per side. A third exercise, as if to tie a shoe, is to sit and lean forward and hold that position until the tightness fades away.

EXERCISE B: When bending backwards feels better, exercise choices include putting your hands in the small of your back and leaning back over your fists, or bending backwards and keeping the position for as long as you need to feel relief (usually 5-15 seconds). Try to place a rolled-up towel from a sitting position (make one with a towel wrapped tightly like a sleeping bag held with rubber bands) in the small of the back to increase the curve. Lying with the roll on your back and a cushion under your lower back will feel great too!

Part 2 to follow!

Adapted article, credit:–what-to-do-immediately–part-1-/

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