Do you have a fear of bending your back?
Are you concerned about doing forward folds in yoga or even reaching down to pick something up off the ground? Perhaps you’ve had a back injury and you were advised to avoid forward bending at all costs forever.
So, is forward bending AKA lumbar flexion really that bad for your low back?
In short, NO! Forward bending, backward bending and twisting your back are all normal and healthy motions to do on a regular basis.
The goal of rehabilitation after an episode of back pain or injury is to restore pain-free and full range of motion. I see patients on a regular basis who have been told that bending is harmful, can injure discs and can create long term injuries. This is simply untrue.
If you have low back pain and forward bending makes your pain worse, your physical therapist may recommend avoiding bending for a short time while your pain decreases. Then, slowly adding in forward bending as part of your recovery process is key in restoring normal movement in all the joints and muscles of your back.
In summary, our back was built to move in all different directions.
It is safe, it is normal, and it is healthy.
With pain or injury it may be recommended to limit certain motions for a short time. Slowly, motion in all directions should be reintroduced in order to fully return to work and play.