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Up to 85% of people report that they have experienced an acute amount of midline low back pain at some point in their life.

Low back pain can be a complex condition with multiple factors and symptoms. This article will help guide you should you find yourself with an acute or more recent flare-up of low back pain. We will focus on what is known as midline low back pain, or lumbago which does not radiate into the lower body. Many people think that resting the back and not moving as much will eventually allow the back to calm down so it can be moved. 

However, all of the current research supports early mobility and the gradual progression into different patterns of movements as the best antidote for improving mobility and function and reducing low back pain over time.

What to do if you are experiencing general midline low back pain:

Move your back in different ranges (forward bending, extending backward, side bending, and rotation) and find the ones that are tolerable to you or reduce your symptoms soon after you first experience low back pain· Find the motions that may gradually reduce pain and increase mobility· Once your back pain starts to improve symptom-wise from moving, gradually begin moving in other ways that may be different than you are used to.· As your symptoms continue to improve, gradually begin to progress back into your normal life activities· If these basic guidelines do not help decrease your pain, you may benefit from a musculoskeletal evaluation from a licensed Physical Therapist here at OrthoCarolina to further identify the problem.· If you begin experiencing any symptoms such as numbness in the inner groin region, changes to bowel and bladder function, symptoms in multiple areas, any profuse weakness of the lower extremities, or sudden giving out of the legs you should seek more immediate care from a healthcare provider

Here are some common movements and examples of how to progress toward more flexibility and exercises:

Common extension-based movements and examples of how to progress toward more relative extension are as follows:

Common side bending-based movements and examples of how to progress towards more relative bending are as follows:

Common rotation-based movements and examples of how to progress toward more relative rotation are as follows:

A special thank you to Ethan Pierson, PT, DPT for providing this article. 

This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you are seeking specific orthopedic advice or assistance, please consult with your OrthoCarolina physician or locate one in your area through OrthoCarolina’s website at

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