June 18, 2024

F1000 Scientist

Health to Life

Lower Back Exercises For Back Pain Relief

4 min read

Lower back exercises are an important component of any lower back pain relief program, and it is essential that that they are carried out correctly if they are not to exacerbate the problem. However, whether these exercises are appropriate for you or not will depend upon the cause of your back pain, and if you are suffering from a herniated disc you will need more specialized treatment prior to undertaking any exercise program.

Many people wrongly believe that they should never exercise with back pain, because they feel that will just make the condition worse. In fact, if you allow your back muscles, particularly those of the lower back, to progressively weaken through a lack of exercise during chronic back pain, then your spine will not be sufficiently supported and your back will become increasing weaker and more prone to further injury.

Exercise, therefore, is necessary for a quick and proper recovery, although it is important that you realize that you must not try to lift anything if you are suffering from, or have recently suffered from, acute back pain of any form. If you have chronic back pain never lift with a bent back, but with a straight back and lift with your knees. Any weigh over 30 pounds will too heavy for you, at least until you have built up your core strength.

If you have recently suffered a back injury, you should rest for a few days until the acute pain has subsided and then begin with just a few simple stretching exercises. Leave the strengthening exercises until the pain has subsided or you are liable to make your condition worse.

Many people can get used to the pain, and falsely believe that have become fit enough for more vigorous exercise, and then do themselves more lasting injury. It is very important that the pain has subsided prior to undertaking any lifting exercises or significant stretching, although you can try some simple stretches such as those detailed further below. These will help to relieve the pain by relaxing your muscles, and also improving the flexibility of your joints.

Before attempting any lower back exercises it is important to warm up your muscles. This gets the blood flowing through them and enables the muscles cells to contract without doing further damage. A warm bath or shower will help achieve this. Gentle stretching improves the circulation through the muscle tissue and helps to loosen them up. This helps to improve your mobility and relieve the pain.

Walking is a good exercise to begin with and so is swimming – particularly in warm water. Physiotherapists normally provide hydrotherapy in water at around 40C, close to blood temperature, that helps to loosen up the joints and muscles.

The initial lower back exercises provide very gentle but effective stretching, and work on your back indirectly by the movement of other areas of your body. Lying down flat on your back and slowly bending and straightening one knee, allowing your heels to slide up and down the floor is a gentle exercise that will do you no harm. Do this 10 times with each leg, and you will impart a gentle stretching motion on your lower back muscles.

Then, still lying down, you can try tightening your abdominal muscles with your arms down straight. Make sure you breathe normally doing this to keep your blood oxygenated. This will put slight pressure on your spine and your lower back muscles, stretching them and helping them to recover.

These lower back exercises, and others similar to them, will help provide acute lower back pain relief and help you to recover to a stage when you carry out more demanding exercises. You will never be truly recovered from back pain, however, until you are able to improve your core muscle strength, and the flexibility of your joints and muscles. All of these will provide stronger support for the bones of your spine and muscles of the lower back.

A gentle massage followed later when feel stronger by deeper massaging and stretching offer lower back exercises that will loosen up the joints and muscles and help provide this core flexibility needed for more permanent back pain relief. You can save on the cost of frequent professional massages by using power massage pads that provide the form of deep massage needed to free up the deep joints and relieve deep-seated muscular pain.

Once you are able to, more extensive stretching exercises will be needed to offer more lasting back pain relief from chronic conditions, and inversion tables are ideal to provide stretching exercises precisely targeted to the areas that have to be exercised.

Lower back exercises can be used both to help you regain your strength after acute back pain and to provide chronic back pain relief, but they must be carried out correctly and targeted to the muscles and joints that have to be stretched, made more flexible and strengthened.

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