What Kinds of Exercise Help Lower Back Pain?

Published on March 17, 2021 by The Spine Center

Lower back pain strikes almost every adult at some point during their lives. Estimates on how many people around the world experience at least one episode of back pain range from 50-80%.

Back pain may be common, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal. If you have lower back pain, 

our spine experts at The Spine Center of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Walker, and Prairieville, Louisiana want you to feel relief. One of the best ways to do that is to strengthen the muscles in your core and lower back. 

You don’t have to join a gym or completely upend your daily routine. If you add just a few stretching and strengthening exercises every day, you can make a big difference in your comfort and mobility. 

You can even do some of the exercises while you’re still in bed, as long as your mattress is firm. Mix and match the exercises every day so you don’t get bored or acclimated. Back exercises are a great way to wake up your body and get it ready for the day. Here’s how.

Be a bridge over troubled water

Lie on your back, with your legs bent, hip width apart, knees pointing toward the ceiling. Keep your arms down at your sides.

Pull in your tummy, squeeze your butt, and raise your pelvis up toward the ceiling, creating a straight bridge shape that runs from your shoulders to your pelvis. Hold for a count of 15. Lower and repeat five times. 

Do the twist

Lie on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor, mat, or mattress. Extend your arms outward, against the floor, forming a “T” shape.

Lean your knees to the left, toward the floor, while keeping your shoulders in the same position. Turn your head to the right. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then return to your starting pose.

Repeat to the other side: knees right and head left, while keeping your shoulders and arms planted on the floor. Repeat at least 2-3 times a day on each side. This twist is a great way to gently wake up your spine first thing in the morning.

Gently twisting your spine throughout the day can alleviate tension, too. If you have to sit down for your work, just twist your upper body from one side to the next, gently stretching by holding the seat of your chair for support. You can also raise and bend your arms, and then rest your head against the cradle of your interlaced fingers to keep your spine straight.

Curl up

Lie on your back, and then hug one knee into your chest by grasping it tightly with your arms and pulling it toward your chest. Keep your spine against the floor. Count to 10, then release.

When you’re back to neutral, hold the other leg in the same way. Release and repeat 10 times.

Now it’s time to roll over…

Become a cat … then a cow

The yoga exercise called “cat/cow” gently stretches your spine in two directions. First, create a “tabletop” pose by getting onto your hands and knees on a firm bed, mat, or carpet (so you don’t irritate your knees). Keep your head and neck in alignment with your spine, your legs hip-width apart, and your hands underneath your shoulders.

To start, arch your back like a scared cat: Tilt your pelvis toward your face, raising your back toward the sky. Pull in your belly button toward your spine.

Hold the pose for a count of two. Then slowly relax your back muscles and arch in the opposite direction, sagging your abdomen toward the floor. Hold for a count of two. 

Return to your neutral tabletop. Repeat the cat/cow action about 3-5 times a day.

Fly like Supergirl (or man)

Lie face down on your mat or carpet. Stretch your arms overhead and stretch your feet backward, hip length apart.

Simultaneously raise your arms and legs about six inches off the mat. Pretend you’re flying over Metropolis, scanning the streets for crime! Hold for about five seconds, then return to your resting pose. Repeat 10 times. 

Back exercises should become part of your daily routine, even after your pain resolves. If you feel uncomfortable or stiff despite these exercises, don’t suffer in silence with lower back pain. Call us at 833-774-6327 to make an appointment for evaluation and relief at any of our locations. Or, use our convenient form to book an appointment online.

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