It has become very common that exercises are a great tool when trying to recover from an injury. There is the exact opposite as well, where exercises have either caused or been a factor in your injury. More often than not injuries are from poor form and or too much weight.
When we are working with someone that has low back pain a common exercise that may be given is the plank. On occasion people already “know-how to do” a plank and is a part of their normal exercise routine. Form, especially with the plank, is essential to not causing back pain.
A common fault that we see is sagging through the hips and low back. This does two things, first it actually compresses the segments in your lower back but also stretches the front of the hips and abdomen. If this happens for a second then it can be ok, but most of the time people do planks for at least 30 seconds and to the upwards of 3-5 minutes. The reason we sag is because we don’t have the proper strength. If you were to stand and arch backwards it would probably be ok for a little bit, but if you were stand there for a while it would start to hurt in your lower back. If it would hurt while standing then why do it during your exercise?
The other common fault we see is rotating the trunk and hips during the exercise. This ends up straining one side of the body much more than the other. Additionally when we are rotated down in that position it gives a torquing motion through the lower back and hips. When we rotate like that we add a twisting, compression, and stretching all at once.
If you notice that you are doing one or both of these then it is not a matter of if but a matter of when you will get injured. These motions happen when we don’t have the strength to do the exercise properly.