If you’ve been plagued by lower back pain and discomfort, you’re not alone. An astonishing 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Not to mention, it is also the leading cause of job-related disability and is cited as the number one reason for missed work time. For a condition that is so incredibly common, it seems that many people feel ill-equipped to manage their everyday symptoms.
Perhaps an overarching issue with managing back pain is that the discomfort makes complete rest tempting, when in fact the real gains come from incorporating the right exercises into your routine. Certain movements can help to strengthen the muscles around the back to better support your spine and lower back in return. We’ve rounded up some of what we feel are the most effective and easily implemented exercises for lower back pain. Let’s get started.
This exercise is great to counteract lower back pain because it helps with balance and stabilization– two things that protect your back and counteract weakness along with the pain associated with it.
To perform this exercise, start on your hands and knees and engage your core muscles. Lift and extend one leg directly behind you, holding for five seconds. Then, repeat this movement on the other leg. Continue to alternate legs and, when you are comfortable, start also extending the opposite arm at the same time as the leg. While you’re doing this exercise, be sure to keep your core engaged and your back flat. Be careful not to raise your limbs past a point where you can maintain control of your lower back positioning. Repeat this exercise 8 – 12 times within pain-free limits of motion.
Grab a friend and try some wall sits! This exercise can be a really fun challenge, and it just happens to be a great tool to help combat lower back pain.
Lean back and flatten your back against a wall. Slowly slide down until your knees are partially bent, keeping your back against the wall and your core engaged. Hold this for about 10 seconds, then slide back up the wall for a break. When you’re ready for another repeat, slide back down and time yourself again. Repeat this 8-10 times.
This movement helps to strengthen both your core and your leg muscles, two systems that contribute to helping your spine and back stay protected and happy. This is a great exercise to keep in your routine even after back pain has passed.
This one may sound simple, but it can pack so many benefits for your lower back! This light stretch can help coax some of the tight, spasming muscles around your back to unlock a bit. Trust us, that’s a very good thing!
Start by lying on your back with both knees bent. Engage your core, and try to flatten your back toward the ground. Keeping your back flat on the ground, bring one knee up toward your torso; reach out with your hands, and give it a gentle pull toward your chest to deepen the stretch and hold for about five seconds. Slowly lower your leg back down, and repeat this with your other leg.
Note: if you’re one of many people who is particularly tight and having difficulty with flexibility, you may find it challenging to reach out and grab your knee as you lift it. In this case, simply use a towel for assistance. Wrap the towel around the base of your knee and use the ends to gently pull your leg closer without compromising your lower back form. This is a common yoga move to help people advance through movements that they may struggle with at first.
Movements To Avoid
Though movement is good for your lower back, there are certain exercises that can exacerbate existing pain. Always use pain and discomfort as an indicator when performing new activities, but also be aware some movements may be best to avoid altogether. These include standing toe touches, leg lifts, and any movement that involves twisting of your back.
How Chiropractic Can Help Lower Back Pain
Regular chiropractic treatment is another great conservative care option for not only overall health but also back pain. The gentle adjustments that your practitioner can apply during an appointment help to realign the spine and extremities for better overall function. These adjustments not only help your whole body feel better, but they can also fend off inflammation and even help support your immune system. This is especially important while your body is in the healing process. Not to mention, your practitioner can help you pinpoint which at-home exercises may suit your injury best.
By scheduling regular chiropractic care, you can help to keep your body and your immune system in tip-top shape. During the initial evaluation, we will go over your health history in detail and construct a plan that you are completely comfortable with before moving forward.