Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common health problems people deal with. Studies show LBP can lead to loss of wages, avoiding hobbies, or limiting activity in general. Although LBP can be caused from a variety of things from arthritis and disc herniation to something as simple as muscular tightness, there are a few exercises that can benefit a vast array of these conditions.
Injuries do not have a “One size fits all” solution, but every little bit can help decrease symptoms. In general, the best place to start for helping decrease LBP is to create a proper muscle balance in the back, core, and lower body. Tight muscles need to be stretched, and weak muscles need to be strengthened.
Here are 8 exercises for low back pain. Remember you must consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs.
1. Single Knee To Chest
2. Piriformis Stretch
Lie on your back with both knees bent. Place the outside of your right ankle on your left knee. Grab your right knee with both hands and gently pull your knee toward your left ear until you feel a gentle stretch in your hip and buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs. Do 2 times on each leg.
3. Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back with both knees bent. Gently pull one knee toward your chest slight as with SKTC then slowly straighten out your knee until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs. Repeat 2 times on each side.
4. Pelvic Tilts a.k.a. “Tummy Tucks”
Lie on your back with both knees bent. Without holding your breath, gently pull your belly button down toward your spine. You should not feel pulling in your back. If you’re having trouble, try it lying on your side. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Lie on your back with both knees bent. Tummy tuck. Slowly lift your right leg off the floor/bed ~4 inches. Hold 3 seconds and slowly lower back down. Switch legs. Repeat 10 times on each leg. Rest. Then repeat 10 more times on each leg.
7. Clam Shells
Lie on your side with your knees and hips bent up like you’re sitting in a chair. Tummy tuck. Keeping your feet together, lift your top knee straight off the bottom knee. Be careful not to rotate your body back – no need to lift your leg that high. Do 2 sets of 10 reps.
8. Hip Extensions
Lie on your stomach. You can place a pillow under your abdomen if you have difficulty lying on your stomach or if this exercise increases low back discomfort. Tummy tuck. Then, keeping your knee straight, slowly lift your right leg off the bed/floor so the front of your thigh just above the knee is not touching. Slowly lower your leg back down. Be careful not to rotate or over extend your back. Switch legs. Do 10 reps on each leg. Rest. Do 10 more reps on each leg.
Again, keep in mind none of these exercises should increase pain. Start with these 8 beginner exercises and stay tuned for a progression for when these get too easy.