It seems as though Dr. Google is the most trusted physician around nowadays. The internet is continually being consulted for many reasons but most often, in my clinical world, for lower back pain. Gone are the days when patients seek me out for lower back pain and ask “Dr. Rob, my lower back hurts here, when I do this. What do you think it is? How do I fix it?” More commonly now patients are coming to my clinic and saying “Dr. Rob, my lower back hurts and it’s this muscle….this joint….my piriformis…” etc. Unfortunately, the online advice they are receiving is more often than not flat out wrong and often detrimental to their current condition.

Most commonly I see “back breaker” stretches being utilized when they are 100% inappropriate for the injury scenario. Every single day in practice I have to stop patients from performing back breakers such as: lying on their back and pulling their knees to chest one legged and both legs, lying on their backs and twisting from side to side, bending over to touch their toes, sitting in a chair with their legs wide open and rounding forward to touch the ground to stretch the lower back. These are all common stretches performed because they are being recommended by countless web sites, forums and exercise and yoga classes. The vast majority of us have flexion intolerance and lower back disc issues from every day life creating too much bending over and sitting. The CAUSE of the actual injury is the act of bending over (flexion). By rounding the spine and taking it out of lordosis while we are lying on our backs, sitting or standing and bending over we are creating the same movement pattern that CAUSED THE INJURY AND PAIN.

If you are in pain currently or have had episodes of lower back pain please DO NOT DO BACK BREAKER STRETCHES! Watch my videos on how to stretch properly! Remember, the lower back is designed for STABILITY not mobility! This means you DON’T WANT TO STRETCH THE LOWER BACK! What you need for a healthy, pain free lower back is a STABLE lower back, mobile hips and mobile thoracic spine. So, watch my video on “back breaker” stretches to know which stretches to avoid and then watch my videos on how to stretch PROPERLY and you’ll help get yourself out of pain, stay pain free and most importantly PROTECT YOUR BACK!!