Low Back Mobility: Directional Preferenc

When you experience pain or injury the initial reaction is stop all activity and rest. While some amount of rest may be required for injuries that are severe, the sooner you start to move again the better off you will be. Anytime you experience pain, that is a sensation that is generated in the brain. For example: If someone touches your arm, the receptors in the muscle and skin send a signal to your brain. Your brain processes that information and decides whether that pressure on the arm is something that is safe or if it is threatening/damaging. If it is not anything harmful, which it shouldn’t be, then no pain signal is sent. If some one punches you in the arm the brain processes that as a threat and warns you by sending pain as a signal that something as wrong.

Whenever we have pain or injury there are typically movements that will make the pain worse and others that may be uncomfortable but less painful. A good general rule is to move your body as soon as possible into directions that are less painful. The two videos below discuss the concept of movement preference, which involves moving your body repeatedly in the direction of less pain. This has been shown to be highly valuable for the treatment of low back pain with emphasis on frequent movement into the preferred direction in a comfortable/non-aggressive manner. Once the movement preference is discovered it is encouraged to be completed as much as possible with avoidance of the movements/positions that make the pain worse. Below are a view videos that discuss and illustrate this concept.

*The most important question to ask yourself is: As I repeatedly do this movement is my pain getting: 1)Better 2)Worse 3) Staying the same. If the answer is better or  at least staying the same Do that a lot up to 10-15x every hour if possible. If its getting worse….stop. Below are 2 videos: One involves supported positions which are typically more comfortable for more irritable acute pain but less convienent to do because you need to get on the floor. 2nd video progresses to standing movements which are easier to do repeated throughout the day.


Begin with supported positions

Progress to standing

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