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The NEW Lower Back Plan

Stew Smith, CSCS

We all are susceptible to lower back injuries– military, law enforcement, advanced athlete, beginning exerciser, or sedentary person – we all get back injuries of some sort. The back injuries seen most in doctor’s offices and chiropractic clinics world wide involve the lower back / hip region and can occur from a variety of different causes. According to Dr. Steve Erle D.C. and physical therapist of the Maryland Disc Institute, most of the injuries in the region are lower back muscle pulls or tears, disc inflammation, or the spine itself. These three types of lower back injuries can occur from falling, stretching, lifting, sleeping in an awkward position, or in some cases, no noticeable reason at all. Usually, all occur due to lack in flexibility and balance of hip, abdominal, and lower back muscle strength.

Each of these injuries seems to manifest themselves in the form of the back spasm, which is the body’s way of immobilizing the injury to prevent further injury. Many forms of treatment can be given to these injuries, from heat, ice, anti-inflammatory, electrical stimulation, ultra-sound, pain killers, and muscle relaxers. Some studies have experimented with BOTOX to relax the spasm so the patient can function better and will less pain.

One of the most interesting studies I have heard was the three treatments of 1) Electrical stimulation and massage, 2) Bed Rest and pain killers, 3) nothing but stretching. Strangely, all had about the same full recovery period. The lower back plan discusses and illustrates preventative exercises and stretches to strengthen the torso and create balance between the hips, abdominals and lower back. These three muscles groups often oppose each other and must be equally flexible and strong in order to prevent injury in one or the other. Many advanced athletes may have super abdominals, but have neglected to exercise the lower back. This can cause the lower back stress since abdominals will flex while the lower back stretches. IF the lower back, legs, and hips are not flexible or strong, the lower back will pull involuntarily, usually causing spasms.

More Fitness Resources

As a police officer, you may be sitting for hours in a police car and then required to hop out of your car to chase down a criminal suspect. This requires a foundation of flexibility and proper training in order to accomplish this. There are more exercises and workouts you can follow from any of the eBooks in the PoliceLink Fitness Store or you can surf the article archive at for more information on training. There you can learn about fitness, nutrition, injury prevention, and get free tips to create your own plan.

Good luck with the core injury prevention or rehab program. Be careful when starting any exercise routine especially if you have been previously injured. It is always best to consult your doctor or physical therapist for complete programs as all injuries require different exercises.

Get more law enforcement fitness books at the PoliceLink Fitness Store.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    Working in a grocery store, one thing i would not recommend is using pain killers to TREAT the problem. I asked several people with back issues, (I worked the meat department and being 130 lbs made me worry when the boxes of primals weighed 100lbs- little guy big boxes) and they all said they wished they never took pain pills because it only MASKED the pain and so they kept pushing the problem into the worst case scenario. Pain means stop, not "mask me and I"ll go away." After talking to them, I started doing more to exercise my back and abs along with using a back brace. Mind you I'm not a doctor and have no medical experience. All i know is their issues got worse using pain medication, not better and for the reason I stated.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 7 years ago


    ihad lower back pain for about 4 years went 2 back dotors they said to wear running shoes so i did i could``nt beleave the different it made i could not walk one block withoout sitting down i drove truck for 30 years know i am security officer i can walk miles now my wife had the same thing with some bad disk`s the kind shoes are asics gel

  • 100_09932_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    FYI COPS: I was diagnosed with lower disk problems from wearing the duty belt. I went to several "specialists" to ease the pain, nothing worked. I kept waking up in more pain. I finally found a real specialist and he found out I had Bursitis of the Hip, the duty belt lays right on one of the burse and inflams it causing the smae symptoms as lower spine problems. The major difference is worse after sleeping (sleeping on that hip) and the pain not going all the way to the feet. He estimated about 20% of people coming to his office for lower spine problems had bursitis of the hip. The fix is a months worth of antiiflamitory compared to surgery and shots. Cris Taylor

  • My_pics007_max50


    about 7 years ago


    WOW..amazing that I happen to stumble over this article at the time that I am having back pain myself. The pain is breath taking. Can hardly do anything but sit, take a breath and pray that I get some relief. Not sure what caused this injury. I workout but have skipped a few days so don't think that's the problem. Then again, it could be the way I slept. Who knows. All I do know is that, I'll try anything to get rid of this pain. It's no joke. Painkillers aren't even working. Even thos as strong as percacets. Oh well...I'll try to take the advice of this story and see what happens.

    Lisa B.

  • Waassappening5qp9ca4qb_normal_normal_max50


    about 7 years ago


    Good info thank you.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 7 years ago

    Through taking kinesiology and exercise physiology, I have learned that stretching and strengthening abs are not enough. Like this article states, the whole core has to be strengthened (abs, obliques, and mid-back.) The best and weirdest treatment I have ever seen for a back injury was wrapping the injury with boiled tobacco leaves. This brings an increased blood flow to the area helping it heal faster. I saw Marc Paul, University of Nevada Athletic Head Athletic Trainer, do this.

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