Fit and Free: Overcoming Lower Back Pain With 5 Physio Exercises
Updated March 29, 2023.
Lower back pain is a leading cause of discomfort in people of all ages. Its causes range from specific (trauma, degeneration, disc herniation, or arthritis of the spine) to non-specific (such as poor postural). Whatever the case, it is important that you manage lower back pain before it becomes chronic and difficult to manage.
Naturally, avoidance of the painful area is the response of most people to pain. With back pain, you may feel like getting off your back or bending in a particular way will help, but this could actually lead to muscle spasms and more pain.
Instead of resting, keeping the back moving boasts great therapeutic benefits. You may also strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen which work together to keep you erect and stable. That said, here are our top five exercises you can perform on your own to help relieve lower back pain.
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1. Child’s Pose
This is a forward bending pose that can relax the lower back muscles and bring comfort. To perform the stretch:
- Take a kneeling posture
- Keep your knees apart and lower your butt back onto your heels
- Lower your upper body between your knees, stretching your arms forward along the floor with your palms facing downward
- You can also take your arms back alongside your thighs, turning your palms upwards
- Continue till your forehead is on or near the floor and hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds
- Rest and repeat several times
The cat-cow is an auto-mobilization exercise for the lower back that aims to restore normal movement to the spine and pelvis. To perform this exercise:
- Begin on all fours
- Keep your palms flat and facing forwards and your knees aligned to your hips
- Slowly lower your head by tucking your chest in and raising your back towards the ceiling—this should take 3-4 seconds
- Hold the position for a few seconds and relax your back, sticking out your chest and looking upward
- Repeat between 8 and 10 times before rounding up the set
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3. Double Knee-to-Chest Stretch
The double knee-to-chest exercise provides quick lower back pain relief by reducing pressure on the lumbar spine and stretching the back muscles. To perform the exercise:
- Lie on your back with both legs bent, keeping your feet flat on the floor
- Lift your feet off the ground, directing your knees towards your chest
- Clasp your hands just below your knees and use the hands to pull both knees to your chest
- Hold the position for 20-30 seconds
- Release and repeat at least five times for one set
4. Supine Bridge
The supine bridge strengthens the hip extensors and trunk muscles, promoting trunk stability and relieving lower back pain. To perform the exercise:
- Lie on your back with your arms on the floor at your sides, your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor
- Slowly lift your hips off the floor by tightening your glutes and core abdominal muscles
- Ensure you keep your back straight
- Hold the position for 20-30 seconds and then lower your hips to the floor
- Repeat 10 times for one set
5. Lower Back Rotation
Otherwise known as lumbar rotation, this exercise targets the lower trunk area. To perform the exercise:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
- Keeping your back rooted to the floor, bring your knees together and roll them to the left side of your body
- Pause for 5-10 seconds in the new position before returning to the starting position
- Repeat the same motion on the right side
- Alternate between both sides 5-10 times for one set
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While exercising with back pain can be tough, these exercises should not add to your pain. Pay attention to your body and stop any exercise that proves hurtful. Additionally, you should consider implementing additional natural remedies that may bring some relief to your chronic lower back pain, such as medicinal mushrooms.
If your back pain persists, be sure to consult a doctor as it may be an indication of something more severe.