There are many myths surrounding the lower back and pain, one being to never let your back bend when lifting anything. Now while your discs are extremely robust, strong structures it is true that they can of course become injured when we don’t take care of ourselves, physically and emotionally.

It is very common to associate bending activities as being more likely to cause injury to our spines and discs. As a result, many try to avoid bending, thinking this is helping protect their backs from injury. Unfortunately, this may not be the best way to approach in reducing the risk of low back pain or injury.

Recent research is demonstrating that those who tried to lift using their knees with a straight back were found to experience more back pain than those who lifted freely and with confidence.

Click here for a news report video highlighting these findings.

Many of our daily activities such as picking up the kids, getting something out from the bottom drawer in the kitchen or your golf clubs out the car, sorting out the flower beds in the garden or performing sporting activities, all require our spine to go into flexed positions. Therefore, avoiding flexion is not training your body physically to get used to these types of positions and movements, nor is it giving you the confidence to explore these movements.

Of course, in order for your spine to remain happy, able to function well, move freely and tolerate load you need to look after it. This means understanding yourself as an individual, looking at all the variables we know are linked with pain and injury, such as:

  • The physical such as muscle function, movement efficiency, strength and conditioning and general exercise levels.
  • The psychological such as stress, anxieties, mood, thoughts and beliefs about back pain and injury, and having confidence to move and use your back, even under load.
  • The social (or lifestyle factors) such as work life balance, fun, enjoyment, social interaction and sleep.

So In a nutshell, your discs can become injured just like any of part of the body. But protective approaches such as avoiding certain positions or movements, like bending, not partaking in exercise and loaded activity is most probably more harmful than beneficial and will NOT reduce your risk of re-injury.

Please click here for a specialist physiotherapy assessment, with one of our South Cambridge Physiotherapists, to help you best manage your back issues.