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Getting to the bottom of lower back ache

Stand Corrected

Learn how to turn your back on pain.

Stacking and float

Lower back pain is highest on the list of things we treat here at Beyond Movement. 80% of the population will experience lower back pain at least once in their lifetime and 8% of the population will actually become disabled by it.

A quick anatomy lesson

Your discs are like jam doughnuts. The jelly usually sits in the middle of the doughnut and absorbs shock. The out part is like a crust, providing stability and linking each vertebrae. With a disc injury, the jelly is putting pressure on the crust.

This is usually caused by a combination of posture and exercise, and can come on from a sudden movement like picking something up from the floor or a deadlift, even gradually from poor posture. This is generally characterized by pain in the mornings, pain bending over or when putting your socks on.

Irritation/inflammation of the joints that connect one vertebrae to the next is usually the second most common. Generally a little more acute, and aggravated by bending back (extension), or rotation.

Muscle strains are also common for those training. And of course, sometimes we see that these issues can co-exist.

Do I need and X-ray or MRI?

Clients often ask whether it’s necessary to have scans of their back. In some cases these are warranted, but remember that there have been MRI studies completed of healthy people, without back pain, and up to 87% of ‘healthy  backs’ have changes such as disc bulges and degeneration.

How do I get rid of it, and stop it from coming back again?

Here at Beyond Movement we see best results with a combination of hands on treatment, soft tissue release/sports massage, joint manipulation and restorative exercises to improve range of movement. Yoga poses such as Cobra and Child’s Pose can be excellent for discogenic lower back pain.

This, combined with lumbopelvic core strengthening such as Reformer Pilates can strengthen weaknesses and prevent recurrence of injury.

Strengthen the muscles related to lower back pain with David's four favourite moves

If you are worried about worsening your symptoms, talk to a specialist directly

01 Thoracic rotation


Increase movement, lower pressure

Lay down with your knees touching on the right side of your body and your palms touching. ‘Rainbow’ your left arm over your body and turn your head. Repeat on the other side.

Stacking and float

02 Cobra Stretch


Get the jam back in the doughnut

Lay face down with your palms on the floor below your shoulders. Keeping your elbows squeezed into your sides, push your chest away from the floor.


Stacking and float

03 Glute bridge


Stabilise hips and pelvis

Lie on your back with your feet flat and knees bent. Keeping your hips, knees and feet inline, squeeze into your glutes to lift your bum from the ground. Hold a few seconds then lower down with control.


Stacking and float

04 Dead bug


Strengthen deep core muscles

Start on your back with your arms above your shoulders. Suck your belly button towards your spine to keep your back as close to the floor as possible. Slowly extend your right arm above your head and your left leg away from you. With control, return to the start position and repeat on the other side.

Daivd McGinness is head of Beyond Movement at Virgin Active Strand