Lower back pain is more common than you think and in most cases can be resolved with exercise. If you struggling with pain, give these simple yet extremely helpful exercises a go!
Although rarely serious, lower back pain can be extremely debilitating, affecting our function during day-to-day activities as well as sleep and workplace engagement.
I experienced it myself after having (and frequently lifting) my first child. The pain was gruesome, constant and disturbing even when lying in bed at night.
The good news is that lower back pain can usually be fixed or at least largely improved. And if you are lucky enough to have never experienced it, read on! Explore simple ways to minimise your chances of developing it in the first place.
WHAT CAUSES LOWER BACK PAIN?
The vast majority of lower back pain is mechanical in nature. It is usually associated with an injury to the spine or general wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs and bones of the spine as we age.
More rarely, it may be caused by serious underlying conditions that require immediate medical attention.
Inadequate core strength is the price we pay for our modern sedentary lifestyle. It is one of the most common factors underlying low back pain. Prolonged sitting times lead to a muscular imbalance, namely shortened hip flexors versus lengthened and weak glutes.
This muscular imbalance places chronic stress on the lower back. The weak core muscles are unable to stabilise the spine and force the back musculature to compensate instead. Over time this can result in shearing force injuries of the spine.
THE MOST COMMON RISK FACTORS FOR DEVELOPING LOWER BACK PAIN
You can find the most common risk factors for developing lower back pain below.
|Sedentary lifestyle and poor fitness level
|Lead to muscular imbalance and weak core strength
|Wear and tear of the elements of the spine, osteoporosis
|Pregnancy and postpartum time
|Muscular imbalance caused the shift of the gravity centre; poor core strength as a result of abdominal muscle separation or a c-section, prolonged sitting during breastfeeding, carrying the baby
|Being overweight or obese
|Extra weight puts more stress on low back
Beyond the factors listed above genetics, mental health, occupational risks and trauma carry further risks for developing lower back pain.
But let’s get to the point.
WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT OR HELP WITH LOWER BACK PAIN?
The answer is quite straightforward. Lower back pain can be fixed or reduced with a simple exercise routine.
You need to:
2. Correct muscular imbalances by strengthening your gluteal muscles and stretching hip flexors.
I followed it myself when I struggled with lower back pain so badly that I couldn’t sleep at night.
I’d like to share it with you, because it has totally changed my quality of life. Within three months from starting the routine my pain was gone. It’s been five years since and the pain hasn’t come back, even after I had had my second child.
This was my lower back pain remedy
I’d like to share it with you, because it has totally changed my quality of life.
SIMPLE EXERCISE ROUTINE TO HELP WITH LOW BACK PAIN
Perform three sets of exercises 1 to 5.
Important: stretch hip flexors at the end of the routine, holding each side up to 45 seconds.
*If you have a medical condition or injury, consult a health professional before doing these exercises.
1. PELVIC TILTS WITH HEEL SLIDES
Gently squeeze your abdominals to flatten your lower back into the mat.
Slide slowly your right heel to extend the leg, keeping your lower back pressed into the mat. Slide the heel back still holding your lower back flattened into the mat.
Relax your abdominal muscles to lift your lower back as you return to the starting position.
Repeat the move the left side.
Repeat 6 times each side.
2. BIRD-DOG WITH KNEE TO ELBOW TOUCH
Lift opposite arm and leg off the floor. Extend them in one stron line.
Slowly bring your lifted elbow and knee together, then extend again.
Repeat 12 times and switch sides.
Press weight into your heels. Engage your core muscles, squeeze your glutes and the backs of your legs.
Make sure your lower back is stable and doesn’t arch. Keep breathing throughout the exercise.
Hold as long as you are able to keep the correct position without arching your lower back.
4. GLUTE BRIDGE
Slowly peel your hips up off the floor. Keep your abdominals tight to make sure your lower back is not arching.
Slowly lower yourself to the starting position, one vertebrae at a time.
Repeat 8 times.
5. SIDE PLANK
Brace your core muscles and hips to raise your body off the floor – only your elbow and feet touch the ground.
Keep the position for as long as you can and then change sides.
FINAL STRETCHING: KNEELING HIP FLEXOR STRETCH
Lean forward into your right hip. Feel the stretch in your left hip flexors.
Keep the stretch for up to 45 seconds, then change side.
Stretch hip flexors at the end.
Improvement in your core strength and lower back should be noticeable already after 5-6 weeks, but for greater benefits I recommend doing these exercises for at least 3 months.
ARE YOU LOCAL TO BASEL?
Improve your core stability and strength with my signature Stand Up Straight class. The exercise sequence targets lower back area and helps with key postural issues of our modern society.
The trial class is free!