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8 Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is very common. It can occur by a fall or unusually strenuous exercise, or when you’re lifting and carrying heavy objects. You may also get it if you spend a lot of time sitting or standing in one position, bending over, especially with bad posture. It can also be from the repetitive stress and impact that certain activities and exercises put on the body.

Identifying Symptoms and Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

There are three types of common lower back pain: muscle-related pain, bone-related pain, and degenerative disc-related pain.


Muscle-related pain. Felt on either side of the lower area of your spine. You may feel pain or spasms on one side, especially when you bend, twist, move or sneeze. It may also spread to other areas, if it does then it’s most commonly felt down your bottom, through the glutes and into the back of the thigh, your hamstrings.

Muscles that surround your back, your hips, gluten, hamstrings and core might not be strong, which will force your back muscles to do all the work.

You might find that whilst doing an exercise, such as running, your back starts to ache. If this is the case then you may have weak hip and gluteal muscles and as they become fatigued, your lower back is forced to work harder to keep you stable and upright.


Bone-related pain. Felt like a general achiness throughout the entire lower back area. If you’re over 65 then there’s a chance you could be experiencing arthritic back pain. If are worried or suspect you have this then see your doctor.


Degenerative disc-related pain. A pain that gets worse when you bend forwards, and also shoots down your legs. You could have a bulging or slipped disc. If you suspect you have this, then seek medical advice from a doctor straight away.

A pinched nerve or herniated disk might be indicated by tingling or numbness in the calf or foot, and if you cannot lift your foot then it could be a sign of nerve damage. You should seek medical advice straight away.


Another area which is key to lower back health is the pelvis. The sacroiliac (or SI) joints usually move well, but if the SI joints aren’t then it can add wear and tear to the lower back area.


Prevention

If you sleep on your back then have a pillow under your knees, and bend your knees if you sleep or lie on your side. You may find a pillow between the knees whilst on your side also helps. Really try not to sleep on your stomach.

Have good posture of standing with your head up, shoulders straight, chest forward, your weight balanced evenly on both feet and pelvis tucked in. Try not to stand in one position for a long time.

If you need to move a heavy object, push backwards so the strain is taken by your legs rather than pushing with your arms. Bend your knees and hips and keep your back straight when lifting a heavy object and avoid lifting them higher than your waist.

Use a straight-backed chair and sit tall, use a footrest to keep a good alignment. Try not to sit in one position for a long time.

If you’re starting back at a new fitness routine or exercise after some time off, such as running or cycling, then don’t come back too strong or too quickly.

Include strength training into your routine is key to preventing lower back pain. Consider strengthening your core, back extensors and gluteal muscles, exercises such as supermans, lateral leg raises, bridges, planks and mountain climbers are just a few you could do in addition to the ones below.

If these exercises cause your back pain to increase, stop and seek medical help. Only work within your physical limits. Doing too much too fast can increase back pain.


Exercises

To prevent back pain, you need to work on strength and flexibility through your entire kinetic chain: your head, shoulders, pelvis and hip, knees, ankles and feet.

Your spine and spinal muscles get lots of support from your core. Additionally, tightness or weakness in your hamstrings, quads, hips and glutes will impact the muscles in your lower back. This in turn will put moe strain on those muscles and opening the up to spasm.

If these exercises cause your back pain to increase, stop and seek medical help. Only work within your physical limits. Doing too much too fast can increase back pain.


Stretches

The nice thing about gentle stretching is that it’s feasible to do when you’re in pain, and can often provide the fastest relief.

Pay attention to your hamstrings when you have lower back pain. If you have tight hamstrings it can accentuate the inward (lordotic) curve in your lower back (lumbar spine). By loosening them you can take quite a lot of pressure off your lower back. You can do hamstring stretches standing up or lying down and if you have a foam roller then try rolling them too.

These 4 stretches below will gibe you some relief you’ve been craving for:

4 Lower Back Pain Stretches

Hannah 💚

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