Before I get into this topic, I would like to state that this discussion is going to focus on movement during everyday activities or in a rehabilitation circumstance. The information here does not apply to a weightlifting, performance-type setting where there likely is a "correct" way of doing a lift that is most efficient and may reduce your risk of injury.
One of the things that I like to tell people who work with me is that there is no "bad" movement as long as your body is prepared for it. This can apply to rehabilitating any part of the body. I ask people to think about how they moved prior to their injury or pain onset. Did they think about their movements? Did they focus on "keeping the back straight" when picking somethig up, "keeping knee out" or "not letting it go over the toes" during stairs or knee bending activity? Most people will say, "No" they did not think about these things. The goal of my rehab with them then is to get them back to this-thoughtless, free, relaxed movement.
How we get to the point of moving all directions without fear, apprehension, and pain depends on each individual, but some movements we may use are shown in the two pictures at the beginning of this article. The one on the left is training your back to maintain good muscle control and is used to progressively strengthen the muscles of your back, butt, and hamstrings. The movement on the right should also be used to train the spine to bend forward again, the way it was designed to move, and the way would normally bend to pick up something light from the floor. For someone dealing with or recovering from an episode of back pain, this may be a challenge at first. However, in order to help recovery and get back to functioning normal, this movement needs to be used and trained so that you can use it in your daily life.
Not progressing to be able to tolerate both types of movement would indicate an incomplete recovery. Some might say that doing knee-dominant step downs or squats is"bad" movement. This is not true. You should be able to do both and although one may cause symptoms at the beginning if you are having pain, it can be avoided short-term, but eventually you should be able to do both type movements!
To summarize, you should not consider any movement to be permanently "off-limits." Yes, during pain or injury recovery, some movements may want to be avoided and others utilized BUT, in the long-term, you should be able to get back to utilizing all movement strategies to function at your best.
If you are stuck with pain and not being able to move the way you want, please feel free to reach out, and I would be happy to talk with you to discuss options for getting back to doing everything that you enjoy.
Thanks for reading,