Best Exercises For Lower Back Pain
Being one who has experienced lower back pain (Lumbago), let me just say that it SUCKS! I felt like an old man for years before actively seeking a solution. I always though it was because I was too stiff and needed to stretch and work out more. However, this quickly made it worse. While looking for a better solution I discovered that my lumbago wasn’t an issue of flexibility or strength, but a missing part of that equation I never realized.
The Complete Equation
I was missing endurance. My back was extremely strong, and I’ve always had a strong back. Many of the strongest and most athletic people still suffer from lumbago. I was stiff but it seemed as though my stretching often would aggravate my back over time. Some of the most flexible people known, even contortionists, have been known to have lumbago. The common issue in every case is missing endurance. If you do not have the stamina built in to the flexibility and strength, eventually you will tire out and your large muscles in your legs and back will give causing you to fall victim to lumbago. If you are too weak and don’t have the strength it’s the same thing, as well as, if you are missing flexibility and your muscles and tendons begin to tighten. This is why I call it an equation. If any of these three variables are missing you have a problem. The exercises and poses that follow, will ensure that you build up all three. So say goodbye to that lower back pain for good!!!
Note: Discuss any workouts with a doctor if you experience severe pain or are concerned about an exercise. None of these recommended exercises or poses should be used to treat severe conditions. If severe pain is experienced, stop immediately and consult a physician.
Child’s Pose also known as Balasana (bah-LAHS-uh-nuh) — is one of the most common yoga poses, and there is no wonder why. It’s great for the back, enhances flexibility, reduces stress, and well…it’s easy to do! Get onto your hands and knees with arms extended. Spread your knees apart but let you toes stay touching (if this hurts you can keep your thighs together). Rest your butt on your heels (use a pillow if this is uncomfortable). Bow down allowing your head to touch the floor and keep your arms long and extended. Widen your upper back while softening and relaxing the lower back. Be sure to breath nice and slow. This is also a great time to meditate and slow your thoughts. After 5-10 breaths , gently use your hands to walk your torso back to a sitting position. Also include for a better stretch shifting hands and torso 45 degrees to the left and then 45 degrees to the right holding for 5-10 breaths each side.
The cat stretch is a great exercise for stretching the back muscles, increasing circulation, and flexibility of the spine. Position yourself on the floor with your hands and knees. Suck in your gut, round your back, shoulders, and neck upward and drop your head down. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Then release and drop down your spine, stick out your belly, pull your head back and stick your butt out. Hold again for 10-15 seconds and release. This is one rep. Do 3 sets of 1 rep.
Your back is not always the source of your lumbago. You need to stretch the buttocks and legs as well. The knee-to-chest stretch is a safe and effective way to do that. Lie on your back in a sit-up position with feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee up to your chest while keeping the other foot flat on the floor. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Relax and switch legs and repeat. That is one rep. Do 2 to 4 reps. If comfortable, and that back pain not as severe, you can pull the knee closer with your hands or embraced arms. Also, if comfortable you can even leave the other leg straight on floor to increase the stretch.
The Pelvic Bridge
The pelvic bridge exercise is excellent for progressing those muscles and also bringing back some flexibility. Lay on the floor with your legs in the sit-up position with feet hip width apart, arms out, and hands palm side up. Inhale and raise your pelvis off the ground while squeezing your buttocks until your mid and lower back form a straight bridge. Then exhale and slowly lower back to the floor. This is one rep. Depending on back pain you can start by doing only 6 reps holding each bridge for 5 seconds. Make your goal 10 reps as you get stronger.
Lower Back Rotational Stretch
This is one of my favorite stretches, and I can really feel my hips, butt, and thighs targeted while doing it. Lay on the ground in a sit-up position with feet flat on the floor and knees bent. extend your arms out to the sides palms facing up. Rotate your knees to the right or left side while keeping your back flat on the floor. Ideally go as far to the side as possible until your knee touches the floor on whichever side you chose. Hold for 10-20 seconds breathing slowly, and repeat by rotating to the other side. This is one rep. Do 3 sets of one rep.
Seated Lower Back Rotational Stretch
I enjoy the seated lower back rotational stretch as much as the lower back rotational stretch, and the best part is this is one you can even do in the office. Sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Cross one leg over the other and place the opposite elbow over the knee using it to make a nice amount of tension to stretch the hips, thighs, and lower back. Therefore if you are choosing your left leg and putting it over your right leg, turn to the left and place your right elbow against the left side of your left knee. This will give you the placement to hold your torso facing to the left and apply as much tension as needed. Breath slowly and hold for 10 seconds. Switch to the other side and repeat. This is one rep. Do 3 sets of one rep.