Is the pain in your lower back so unbearable that you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning? Understandable reaction, since it is the most irritable pain in the whole body. But the right treatment is out there – it’s just a question of finding what works for you.
Back pain, especially in the Lumbar and Sacral regions is actually caused by bad posture, lack of exercise, obesity, stress and incorrect and repetitive movements. The right kind of physical exercise strengthens the lower back muscles and alleviates the pain.
However, approach physical exercise with a certain precaution!
Just as there are Do’s, there are also a few Don’ts that must be kept in mind. Read on to find out the things to try out and those to avoid when it comes to Lower Back Pain exercise.
Here are a few tips on what exercises to try out
- Partial Crunches should be done in proper form, with feet, tailbone and lower back in constant contact with the floor. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Put your hands behind your head or cross over your chest. Then tighten your stomach muscles and try to raise your shoulders while exhaling. Don’t lead with your elbows or try to pull your neck off the floor. Hold the pose for a second and then slowly lower your back. Do 8-12 repetitions.
- Hamstring stretches – Lie on your back with one knee bent. Raise the other leg, looping a towel under the ball of your foot. Straighten out your knees and pull back the towel slowly, till you feel a gentle stretching along the back of your leg. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-4 times for each leg.
- Wall Sits – Stand 10-12 inches from the wall and lean back till your back is flat against the wall. Slide down gradually till your knees are bent and press your lower back to the wall with bent knees. This reinforces your back muscles. Hold till you count 10 and then slide back up the wall. Repeat 8-10 times.
- Press-up Back Extensions – Lie on the floor with your hands under your shoulder. Push with your hands to raise your shoulders off the floor. If you are able to, hold this pose for a few seconds with your elbows directly under your shoulders.
- Bird dog – Start by bending on your knees and getting into the crawling position. Raise and extend one leg behind you at hip level and hold for 5 seconds. While you hold this, try to lift and extend the opposite arm in the same way. Also try to hold it for longer. 8-12 repetitions per leg are recommended.
- Knee to Chest – Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift one knee to your chest keeping your other foot and lower back pressed to the ground and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 2-4 times for each leg.
- Pelvic Tilts – Lie on your back with feet flat on floor and bent knees. Tighten your stomach as if your belly button is moving towards your spine. This way your back will press into the floor and your hips and pelvis will rock back. Hold this pose for 10 seconds while smoothly inhaling and exhaling. Repeat 8-10 times.
- Bridging – Lie on your back with knees bent. Squeeze your buttocks and dig your heels into the ground while you lift your hips off the floor. Your shoulders, hips and knees should be in a straight line. Avoid arching your lower back or tightening your abdominal muscles during and before the lift. Hold for 6 seconds and then slowly lower yourself down to the floor and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 8-12 times.
Also Lifting Weights may help unless you suffer from acute back pain.
- Toe Touches as they put extra stress on the disks and ligaments in your spine.
- Sit ups as most people tend to use their hip muscles while performing them. They may also exert pressure on the disks in your spine .
- Leg Lifts where both legs are lifted together put unnecessary strain on the back muscles.
Pregnancy and Lower Back Pain
You can also experience lower back pain during pregnancy. There are various reasons for this. A growing uterus and the added weight shifts the centre of gravity, putting stress on the joints of the lower back and the abdominal region.
Pregnant women should exercise certain precautions:
- Stretch First
- Exercise with a partner to avoid injury.
Exercises that are safe during pregnancy are
- Pelvic Tilts, increase strength and support in the lower back and abdominal muscles.
- Leg Lifts while kneeling on knees and hands.
- Back Stretches, also while kneeling on knees and hands.
- Swimming or Walking in waist-deep water.
In case of Back Injuries
In severe cases of back injury, it is advisable to consult your osteopath/physiotherapist/physician before you start exercising. Start with gentle back stretching exercises like yoga and Pilates. This usually speeds up recovery. Don’t try anything more strenuous. And stop immediately in case of any increased pain, and consult your doctor.
Lower Back Pain may seem debilitating, but it can be greatly reduced through proper exercise. So, don’t despair and start right away and watch the magical recovery!