When you hurt your back, often it can hurt to flex (bend toward). Many times people develop back pain following an episode of bending forward, and then believe that that movement must be inherently bad for backs, and try to stop doing it (think “bend with your knees not with your back!”).
If this has happened to you, here are some tips to deal with acute low back pain; here are some exercises to try; here are some myths about low back pain; and here is a more in depth look at why low back pain is such a big problem.
If you stop doing a movement, it will always hurt/feel bad/be terrifying if you one day then try to do that movement! And we cannot avoid flexion; it is part of being a human. Inevitably you will need to flex. It isn’t bad. Sometimes back pain just happens. And sometimes you do things your body isn’t ready for and that’s why it hurts; not because the movement itself was inherently bad.
Movement optimism (thank you Greg Lehman) means feeling as though you are able to move in whichever way you please and not be worried you will hurt yourself. The way to achieve this is by progressively adding more movement options to your repertoire!
Here are some exercises that show ways to introduce flexion gradually. They are unloaded. Combining flexion with rotation, or doing it with speed, or with weight, increases the load. When I hurt my back 5 years ago, I was too scared to do a russian twist or full sit up for more than a year. Don't be like me.
These exercises get HARDER as the list goes down. Do not suddenly jump into doing these if you arent used to it!
Note this is not meant to be medical advice, please consult a physiotherapist if you are injured, and do not attempt to do these if you have had recently acute pain or are worried... find a physio who will help guide you back to ALLLL the things.