Low back pain rehab & personal training for adults with a history of lumbar pain

'There is no such thing as non-specific back pain. There is always a cause. In nearly all cases, the pain is relieved or worsened by specific motions, postures, and loads.'
Dr. Stuart McGill, Professor Emeritus of Spine Biomechanics at Waterloo University, Canada and author of The Back Mechanic, Low Back Disorders and Ultimate Back Fitness

If you have low back pain or sciatica that increases or decreases when you move or change posture then this is an indication that the cause of your pain is mechanical in nature.

As a McGill Method certified practitioner with 12 years experience working as a personal trainer, I can help you to:

1. Understand the cause of your low back pain
2. Learn how to avoid provoking your pain triggers
3. Build yourself a robust, resilient back
4. Achieve your health & performance goals

All my programs are provided 100% online, allowing you to access them wherever you’re based in the world, with minimal equipment required.

1. Understand the cause of your low back pain

Andy performing a seated compression test

It’s empowering when you understand the mechanisms that cause your low back pain.

I interview you to find out as much as possible about your lifestyle, habits, injury history and any other factors that may contribute to your low back pain.

Then I take you through an in-depth bio-mechanical assessment to observe how you move and identify the postures, movements and loads that provoke your pain.

Once you learn how to avoid provoking your pain triggers your back will be able to begin healing itself.

2. Learn how to avoid provoking your pain triggers

Andy performing a golfer's lift

I’ll teach you basic movement tools and ‘spine hygiene’ so that you can go about your daily routine without provoking your back pain. The goal at this stage is to wind down your pain sensitivity.

For your pain to desensitise and your back to heal you need to avoid provoking your pain unnecessarily. Imagine repeatedly stubbing your toe. Each time you do it, it will become more and more sensitised until the pain eventually becomes unbearable. In this sense, your back is no different.

To begin with, I’ll show you how to adopt pain-free postures (sitting, standing and lying down) so that you can get relief from your back pain.

Then I’ll teach you movement strategies so you can move without provoking your pain. We all move using habitual patterns of movement. If you’ve experienced a gradual onset of pain there’s a good chance that pain-causing movements are embedded into your daily routine. I’ll help you to identify these and teach you how to move with confidence in a more spine-sparing way.

As we expand your pain-free movement capabilities, you’ll need to improve the endurance of the muscles that stabilise your torso. This will make your back more resilient and resistant to injury.

3. Build yourself a robust, resilient back

Andy performing a birddog

I’ll provide you with a personalised program of exercises that improve your stability, your muscular endurance and your control of your spine. Your program will be designed to challenge the muscles that stabilise your spine whilst applying a minimal amount of stress to your joints.

Exercise is often given as a generic recommendation for low back pain, but you may have found that some types of exercise make your back pain worse (for example, there are standard movements in both yoga and pilates that are pain triggers for common low back issues). This is why for optimal results you need an exercise program that’s adapted to you as an individual.

However, while it’s essential that your program is personalised, there are fundamental components (in addition to core-stabilising exercises) that all successful low back pain programs have in common.

The first of these is a walking program. The frequency and duration of walks will vary from one person to another but the action of walking is necessary to challenge the lateral parts of your spine and too-often- neglected, deep ‘core’ muscles that stabilise your pelvis as you step from one foot to the other.

Secondly, to maintain a healthy, pain-free back you need to learn how to transfer force through your hips and shoulders, instead of through your spine. You may currently have mobility restrictions in these areas which prevent you from doing so. It’s important to address these issues, but only once you’re able to stabilise your spine using the appropriate muscles of your torso.

Once you’ve developed an injury-resistant back and have dealt with any mobility issues you can now move on to pursuing other health and/or fitness goals.

4. Achieve your health & fitness goals

Maury with a racked kettlebell

A fitness goal could be related to a specific athletic endeavour, becoming a weekend warrior again or just being able to play with your kids pain-free.

In all cases, to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, it’s critical to select the appropriate exercises in the appropriate doses to make your back more resistant to injury without re-injuring it.

The same applies to health-related goals. You may want to increase your muscle mass, improve your bone density or lose weight. In order to achieve these goals and remain pain-free, it’s important to balance your training stimulus with appropriate rest and recovery.

Whatever your goal, I can help you achieve it by enhancing your strength and resilience via a personalised, progressive resistance training program.

Most importantly, I can help you feel confident in doing so, whatever age you are, whilst minimising the risk of re-injuring your back.