Back pain can be debilitating and, if you’re suffering from it, the last thing you probably want is for someone to tell you that you need to keep moving. However, gentle and slow exercises are not only effective at alleviating back pain but can also help to prevent it in the first place.
Not just this but regular lower back exercises mean blood flow in the area will be increased, reducing stiffness and speeding up the overall healing process. It can also help to improve and strengthen your core, arms and legs and prevent injury in these areas too.
The exercises you choose to do don’t even have to be too challenging. In fact, here we round up some of the simplest lower back exercises that any age and fitness ability can do. Remember, if these aggravate your pain, please stop and consult one of our chiropractors for medical advice.
This exercise is one of the best exercises to engage the gluteus maximus – which is the large muscle in your buttocks – and also one of the most important muscles in the body. Not only do you use these muscles every time you move your hips but they’re essential for supporting the lower back.
To perform a bridge, lie on your back and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your arms by your side. Slowly, raise your buttocks off the ground until your body is a straight line from the knees to shoulders. Squeeze your buttocks and then lower your body back down. Repeat this 15 times.
2. Draw ins
This exercise focuses on your transverse abdominis – the muscles in the front and side of your abdomen. Working on these areas can help to stabilise the spine and lower back.
To perform this, simply lie down with your knees bent and keep your feet flat. With your arms by your side, breathe in deeply. When breathing out, keep your belly button pulled in towards your spine. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times. You should be able to feel your stomach muscles tightening.
3. Lateral leg lifts
Your hip abductor muscles work to support your pelvis. Focusing exercises on this area not only builds strength but reduces pressure and strain on your back. As well as this, keeping these muscles strong means your mobility will be improved and your balance maintained.
Lie down on one side with your legs together. Your lower leg should be slightly bent. Raise the top leg, being sure to keep it straight. Hold for a few seconds and repeat, before swapping sides. When doing this activity, it’s important to keep your belly button sucked in to ensure that you’re engaging your stomach muscles.
Often used in yoga, this type of stretch lengthens the back, easing any pressure and tension. As well as effectively reducing pain, it can help to make your back stronger. It’s also great for your upper body.
Get into a crawling position, with your knees hip-width apart. Slowly arch your back, pulling your belly button in towards the spine. Hold for a few seconds, and then relax allowing your stomach to sag towards the floor. Repeat a few times a day.
Your back extensors, which can be found on either side of the spine, help to ensure good posture. If these extensors are weak, it means that support to your spine and pelvis is also weak. However, a Superman can help.
Lie face down on your stomach and stretch your arms out in front of you. Keep your legs straight and flat on the floor. Slowly raise your hands and feet until a small gap is created between them and the floor. Pull in your belly button, to engage your stomach muscles, and keep your head straight to avoid injury. Try to stretch out your hands and feet as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds and repeat 10 times.
6. Dead Bug
Lie on your back and extend your arms towards the ceiling. Slowly lift your legs, and bend your knees. Draw in your belly button to engage your core muscles while keeping your back as flat as possible.
Lower one arm behind your head and extend the alternating leg towards the floor. Exhale as you do. Hold for a few seconds and then inhale and bring your body back to the starting position. Repeat a few times.
7. Partial curls
Strong stomach muscles are crucial for proper spinal alignment and stability. In fact, many patients find that their back pain is a result of weak abdominal muscles. Partial curls can help to build core strength though.
Lie down with your back on the floor and bend your knees. Cross your hands over your chest, and slowly sit up until you feel your stomach muscles begin to engage. Hold for a few seconds and then lie back down into the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
How can Life Effect help?
At Life Effect, we support patients of all ages to regain control of their life – without pain – thanks to a range of solutions for spine, nerve and joint concerns. Not only will we get to the root cause of your pain but we’ll also prescribe a personalised care plan to suit your needs. This will include a number of at-home exercises to work key muscles which will prevent injury, improve flexibility and boost stability.
If you’re suffering from lower back pain, we’ll also look closely at your general posture and advise on how you can manage it in your day-to-day routine. To book your free discovery appointment, get in touch with our team.