Many of our patients have an active lifestyle which may include upper level strengthening involving full body movements or “functional movements”. In our clinics the squat is considered a Stage 3 exercise for low back pain. Stage 3 exercises involve full body strengthening after issues such as pain and numbness, decreased lumbar range of motion, and initial spinal stabilization exercises have been resolved. This third stage is required to return an individual from the critical steps of basic rehabilitation to functioning in life. The body never contracts muscles alone or move joints without a coordinated sequence of neuromuscular events involving many body systems. So should you return to squatting after a lumbar injury? “YES.”
How should I start to squat?
You should never begin squatting without the help of a professional. In our clinics our specialists examine your form and teach you how to perform this activity properly. In fact, it may take years to master your squat. This exercise requires constant self-correction to avoid lumbar injury. You will also need to be evaluated for lumbar spine and lower extremity flexibility, joint motion, and lower body strength. If you would like to learn the proper way to squat with us click here.
Squatting should mimic the bio-mechanical motion of performing a sitting <->standing motion. A person’s center of gravity should fall upon the natural curves of the spine, hips, knees and ankles that were made to receive weight bearing activity. When pressure from a barbell or weight falls outside of these very special places then the body may take on stresses that tend to injure rather than provide anabolic activity.
When a person’s center of gravity is translated over their base of support at the bottom position of a squat then this exercise becomes highly productive to build strength and balance.
But what if I can’t even walk right because my low back pain is so bad?
Then you are not ready to squat. Period. If you are feeling any pain in your low back, numbness and tingling in the legs, or can not walk without low back pain then squatting should not be performed. You need to perform Stage 1 and Stage 2 rehabilitation with our physical therapists. These stages sometimes involve spinal mobilizations, specific flexibility, spinal range of motion and muscle training. If you would like to have a free 30 minute conversation about your specific condition and how we might be able to help you then click here.