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By Andrew Barton, Allsports Physiotherapist

Tradies, does your body groan and ache at the end of the day?

This is an all too common complaint we hear in our clinics from tradies. A lot of the time, the main issue is a sore lower back. Low back pain can affect many people and can have significant physical and psychological health impairments. Low back pain affects work performance and social responsibilities, including family life. Other than the impact on an individual, low back pain is a significant factor in escalating health-care costs for our community. [1]

I recently met with Alex, a 20 something-year-old chippy that presented with what he called “back strain”. Alex was in agony after he’d spent the last few days nailing off skirting boards in a large house. He said that his back had become gradually stiffer and stiffer until he sat down for lunch. When he tried to stand up, he felt a sharp pain and had trouble bending, sitting, and getting up out of the chair.

After a thorough physiotherapy assessment, we identified that Alex had irritated the soft tissues around one of the joints in his lower back. This meant that the muscles surrounding his joint went into protective spasm, making it hard for him to move (BTW – this is a totally normal response from the muscles, it means they’re doing a good job). The treatment included some hands-on manual therapy, which improved Alex’s pain and range of movement and he was able to continue work the next day. To help keep him on track, Alex was given some exercises to do at home and we will continue to monitor his progress in the upcoming appointments.

Below are some of the exercises that helped alleviate Alex’s lower back pain and get him back on track.

Alex the Tradie’s Top 5 Lower Back Exercises:

1.     Knee rocks

 

 

 

* Performed for 30 repetitions to both sides

2.     Hamstring stretch

 

 

 

 

*Note: Alex wasn’t this flexible! Alex just gently pulled his leg towards his chest and then straightened his knee until he felt a slight stretch at the back of his thigh.

*Hold for 30 seconds on both legs

3.     Knees to chest

 

 

 

 

* Performed for 30 repetitions

4.     Hip flexor stretch

 

 

 

 

 

*Hold for 30 seconds on both legs

5.     Glute stretch

 

 

 

*Hold for 30 seconds on both legs

With any physical job, having the correct balance of strength and flexibility are paramount to helping a healthy body withstand everything that’s thrown at it.

Low back pain is extremely common – 80% of the population experiences a sore back at some point in their lives, but most people make a really good recovery within 4-6 weeks. [2]

There are a lot of ways to be proactive including weights, Pilates, yoga, specific rehabilitation [physiotherapy], and general body exercises to name a few. If you’ve given these things a go, and still have questions about your back, get in touch with one of your local Allsports clinics. Our highly trained physiotherapists will work with you to help you understand what’s going on and help you address the issue causing your grief.

To book an appointment with a physiotherapist visit our website, or click here to find your local Allsports clinic.

References

[1] Helewa, P.L., and Goldsmith, C.H. (2018). Low back pain: prevalence and risk factors in an industrial setting. The Journal of Rheumatology. 28(2), 346-351.

[2] Burns, S.A., and Cleland, J.A. (2018) Effectiveness of physical therapy interventions for low back pain targeting the low back only or low back plus hips: randomized controlled trial protocol. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy. 22(5), 424–430.

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