Easy to follow home exercises.
As mentioned in our previous post on managing back pain, a whopping 85% of us will experience lower back pain at some point in our lives. In previous years, bed rest was prescribed if your back was “playing-up,” whereas today it is recommended to keep moving. It goes without saying that the exercises you do must be appropriate and not too high intensity. However, there are some great exercises you can do which should help alleviate pain. These exercises are extremely gentle, but of course, listen to your body and stop if you experience any pain.
The exercises will help to stretch muscles that are normally tight when you have lower back pain and strengthening the muscles that tend to be weak. Bearing in mind there are many causes, so make sure to get examine by a qualified professional. Depending on the cause and intensity of your pain, some exercises may not be recommended and can be harmful, therefore it is important to get an accurate diagnosis.
Start slow and gradual with these simple stretches:
It is very common for hamstring muscles to be tight when you experience lower back pain. Lie on your back and bend one knee. Loop a towel under the ball of your foot. Straighten your knee and slowly pull back on the towel. You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat 2 to 4 times for each leg.
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip- width distance apart and placed on the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles, and tilt your pelvis towards your heels until you feel a gentle arch in your lower back- then tilt your pelvis back towards you, you’ll feel your back pressing into the floor, and your hips and pelvis rocking. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 8 to 12 times in a slow rocking motion.
Lie on your back with feet hip- width distance apart and knees bent. Push your heels into the floor, squeeze your Glutes, and lift your hips off the floor until shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight line. Hold for 8- 10 seconds, and then lower hips to the floor and rest, repeat 8 to 12 times. Avoid arching your lower back (as your hips move upward) by tightening your abdominal muscles.
Another muscle which can be tight when you have lower back pain is the Piriformis, a muscle that lays deep under the Glutes. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip- width distance apart. Cross the right ankle over the left knee and grip the thigh of your left leg. As you breathe out pull the knee in towards you, hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, repeat twice each side.
Lie on your back and place a small cushion under your head. Keep your knees bent and together. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out roll your knees to one side, followed by your pelvis, keeping both shoulders on the floor. Breathe in as you return to the starting position. Repeat 6 to 8 times, alternating sides.
Child’s Pose/ Lower Back Stretch
Kneel on all fours, with your knees directly under your hips and hands directly under your shoulders. Ensure your spine is in a neutral position and keep your head in line with your spine. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out slowly take your bottom back towards your heels. Hold the stretch for 20- 30 seconds. As you breathe in bring your body up onto all fours again. Repeat 6 to 8 times.
Press-up Back Extensions
Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Push with your hands so your shoulders begin to lift off the floor. If it’s comfortable for you, put your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders and hold this position. Keep Glutes relaxed and not tensed. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat twice.
When the hip flexors are tight posture can be altered, leading to lower back pain. To stretch the hip flexors, kneel with one knee on the floor and the other foot in front with the knee bent. Push the hips forward and keep your back upright. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds. Repeat twice on each side.
Gentle aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming and cycling, will also strengthen your lungs and heart and can help you lose weight, which can reduce the load on the lower back and reduce pain. Pilates may also help with back pain, combining stretching, strengthening, and core abdominal exercises. Ensure you use a reputable instructor and inform them about your back pain so the exercises can be tailored to your needs.
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