If you are experiencing lower back pain, you are not alone. One study reported a whopping 25% of patients reporting lower back pain within the three months before the survey, making it the most commonly reported type of pain.
And while you may think that more rest will help ease the pain, doctors are now encouraging patients with lower back pain to get more active, moving their back and the related muscles to help relieve pain.
However, it’s essential that you choose exercises that will avoid putting too much stress and strain on the back. Remember to get approval from your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
Below you will find exercises to help relieve your lower back pain and others that you should avoid. By adding (or avoiding) these exercises to your workout routine, you can work your way to freedom from that nagging lower back pain.
Beneficial Exercises for Lower Back Pain
When starting a new workout, it’s normal to feel some mild pain and discomfort, but as you keep working out, your muscles will get stronger, and the pain and discomfort should disappear. However, if you notice prolonged or intense pain, stop and contact your doctor immediately.
#1. Partial Crunches
Partial crunches are an excellent exercise for people with lower back pain. And they not only strengthen your lower back but your stomach muscles as well.
How to correctly perform a partial crunch:
- Lay on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent.
- Place your hands behind your head or across your chest and raise your shoulders off the floor, making sure to keep your stomach muscles tight.
- Breathe out when you are raising your shoulders, and make sure to keep your elbows pointed out (your arms shouldn’t be covering your ears) and that you are not pulling your neck off the floor.
- Hold for one second, then lower yourself back to the floor in a controlled motion.
- Repeat this exercise for eight to twelve reps, making sure you follow the proper form so that you aren’t causing stress on your spine. Your feet, tailbone, and lower back should remain on the floor during this exercise.
#2. Hamstring Stretches
Many of the muscles that support your lower spine are in the back of your leg. This fact makes hamstring stretches a great workout to help strengthen your lower back. You will need a towel or a fitness band for this stretch to make it more effective.
How to correctly perform a hamstring stretch:
- Lay on your back with one knee bent.
- Put the towel below the ball of the foot on your unbent leg.
- Slowly pull back the towel and straighten your knee. You should feel a stretch along the back of your leg.
- Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.
- Repeat five times on each leg.
#3. Press-Up Back Extensions
How to correctly perform a press-up back extension:
- Lay on your stomach and position your hands directly under your shoulders.
- Push down on your hands. You should feel your shoulders lifting from the floor.
- If possible, place your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders.
- Hold this position for a few seconds.
Pilates is a workout that stretches and strengthens your body with a focus on your abdominal core. You can do pilates without special equipment and, with the help of an experienced instructor, can help relieve lower back pain. Make sure to inform your instructor of your pain before starting your workout.
Exercises To Avoid
#1. Toe Touches
Standing toe touches can overstress spinal discs and ligaments. Toe touches can also overstretch your hamstrings as well as your lower back muscles.
Most people think that sit-ups are a great way to strengthen their stomachs. However, most people use their hip muscles instead of their stomach muscles. Sit-ups can also create pressure on the discs of your spine, which can lead to further injury.
#3. Leg Lifts
Leg lifts are sometimes recommended for lower back pain because they help to strengthen your abdominal muscles. However, when you are lifting both legs simultaneously while lying on your back, you can worsen back pain and cause injury.
Let Thunder Basin Orthopaedics Help You Get Your Back, Back on Track
The most important thing to remember is to stop working out and talk to your doctor if your pain gets worse or doesn’t improve. If you continue to work out while you are in pain, you could cause further damage.
Having a competent, attentive, and dependable orthopaedic team on your side means the difference between a speedy, sustainable recovery and prolonged injury that has lasting repercussions.
From our two locations in Douglas and Gillette, Thunder Basin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine has served clients with prestigious care, compassionate service, and cutting-edge surgical technologies for years.
We specialize in treating various orthopaedic conditions including sports injuries, fractures and other traumatic injuries, degenerative joint disease, sprains, strains, tears, and more. Where possible, we also employ minimally invasive surgical techniques that produce the best outcomes while minimizing your downtime.
If you’re currently experiencing pain or beginning to feel discomfort during your workout or even your daily routine, request an appointment today!