Learn some of the many different causes, exercises, special stretches, pain relief, and treatment options
Reduce your Discomfort with these Lower Back Pain Stretches/Exercises
Lower back pain exercises and stretches can play a significant role in reducing discomfort. Staying active can help to reduce the soreness. The following exercises are simple and can be done without any special equipment. Talk to a doctor before you try any of these aerobic, stretching, and/or strengthening moves. Make sure you can stand, walk, and lift light objects before you attempt any of these movements.
Stretches specifically targeted for lower back pain can strengthen the core muscles that support your spine. When your joints are stiff and your muscles are weak, the pain can become even more intense. Moving is the key to preventing stiffness and weakness.
Some of these stretches include an exercise ball. This is a helpful tool that can enhance the stretch without putting strain on your muscles and back. Make sure you do not overexert yourself. If you do begin to feel pain, you need to stop what you are doing and rest. Ensure that you control each movement at a slow and steady pace.
- Knee Fold – Lie on the floor face up. Pull your knees up to your chest and grasp them with your hands. Next, extend out your right leg parallel to the floor. Rest your heel on the floor and use your right hand to pull your left knee toward the floor on your right. While you are pushing your left shoulder back toward the floor, press your knee close to the floor. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Cat Stretch – Place yourself on your hands and knees. Curve your spine into a U shape and hold for 10 seconds. Curve your spine in the opposite direction into a hump and hold for ten seconds. Repeat this move five times.
- Rock your Back – Lie on the floor face up. Pull your knees into your chest and grasp them with your hands. Rock yourself back and forth to massage this area.
- Cobra – Lie on the floor face down with your toes pointing backward. Your hands should be placed near your armpits and press down so that your shoulders rise up. Your arms should be extended fully while you press your hips toward the floor. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Pelvic Tilt – Lie on your back. Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your buttocks and abdomen as you flatten your back up against the floor. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat ten times.
Stretches with an Exercise Ball
- Leg/Floor Ball Exercise – Lie on your back and bend your knees. Rest your calves on the ball. Raise your arm over your head and lower it. Alternate between the right and left sides and then tighten one knee. Relax and alternate between the right and left sides. Straighten the other knee and raise the opposite arm over your head. Alternate the opposite arms and legs. With your legs, walk the ball forward and backward.
- Sit on the Ball – Sit on a ball. Your knees and hips should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Raise your arm over your head and then lower it. Alternate the sides. Raise and then lower your heel. Raise the opposite arm over your head. Alternate the opposite arm and heel. Slowly raise one foot two inches from the floor and then alternate the right and left sides.
- Standing with the Ball – Place the ball between the wall and your lower back. Bend your knees. Hold for five seconds and then straighten the knees. Next, bend your knees while raising both your arms over your head.
Low impact aerobic exercises can help to alleviate back pain, but it is important that you do not perform any high impact moves as this can put stress on your back. Avoid climbing stairs, jumping rope, and running. The following cardiovascular exercises will provide less resistance:
- Aqua Jogging
- Water Aerobics
- Low Impact Cardio DVDs
- Weight Machines
- Body Weight Exercises
- Recumbent Bicycle
A recumbent bicycle places you in a laid-back reclining position as opposed to a regular stationery bike that is in an upright position. A treadmill can aggravate your lower back pain. If the pain does not radiate into your legs, an elliptical trainer will help you burn calories while reducing the tenderness.
Always make sure you do a warm-up and cool-down before and after aerobic exercise. If your muscles are cold and stiff, they are more susceptible to injury. Make sure you warm up the back and muscles you intend to use during the routine. Try doing some shoulder circles, side bends, and spinal twists as a warm-up.
A strong core can add support to your lower back muscles, which can help to relieve back pain and prevent injury. These exercises will strengthen your abdominal, trunk, and pelvic muscles. These exercises include:
- Pelvic Tilt – Lie on your back. Bend your knees. Press your feet down as you are pushing your pelvis upward.
- Double Knees to Chest – Lie on your back. Put your arms on your sides. Extend out your legs. Pull both legs in towards your chest. Grab your legs from behind the knees.
- Curl Ups – Put your hands behind your head. Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Lift up your face toward the ceiling until your shoulders are a few inches above the ground. Hold and repeat.
Things to Consider
Make sure you always use proper posture techniques during exercise. Slouching can cause strain on your back. Proper posture will reduce this strain. While lower back exercises and stretches are essential for reducing soreness, it is important that you talk with your doctor if pain persists or you experience any tingling or numbness in your legs, hips, feet, or back. If you do experience any of these symptoms, this could indicate a more serious issue such as a pressed nerve or disc problems.