"Approximately 34% of people who experience acute low back pain (LBP) will have recurrent episodes. It remains unclear why some people experience recurrences and others do not, but one possible causes is a loss of normal control of the back muscles (1).”
When it comes to the literature investigating acute and chronic low back pain, there is a handful of evidence supporting altered muscle function and recruitment. The muscles that are typically affected are the deep back and core muscles including the lumbar multifidus and the transverse abdominus. The function of these muscles and other core muscles including the obliques, erector spinae, and rectus abdominus is to provide stability by creating a stiffening effect on the spine (2).
Doing everyday tasks such as squatting, picking objects up off the ground, and lifting things overhead can be very difficult for individuals with LBP. Ultimately the body needs to keep MOVING and people should not be AFRAID to move their back!
Check out this drill designed to promote controlled movement at the low back and pelvis and decrease muscle guarding. A swiss ball is a great object to start as it is light, and it decreases the depth of a squat limiting any excessive posterior pelvic tilt and lumbar flexion, which may be sensitive to some.
(1) MacDonald D et al. 2009. “Why do some patients keep hurting their back? Evidence of ongoing back muscle dysfunction during remission from recurrent back pain”
(2) O'Sullivan P et al. 1997. “Altered abdominal muscle recruitment in back pain patients following specific exercise intervention.”