If a strain or minor injury is causing you lower back pain, then a short period of rest and limited activity for 24 to 72 hours is recommended. However, a lack of motion can make the problem worse. Therefore, it is wise to start gentle movement once you feel it is safe. Don’t allow your fear of pain to keep you down for too long. Use small, gentle movements to start, and build from there.
Your best bet is to use lower back pain exercises that move toward comfortable positions. So combining comfortable, non-strenuous exercise with gentle activity is the way to stay flexible and strong while reducing lower back pain.
There are three basic groups of exercise for this condition:
(2) strengthen; and
The easiest form of aerobic exercise for most of us is simple walking. It reduces stress on the lower back by shifting the weight from leg to leg, which is a gentle, steady motion that releases lower back tension. Plus, it’s fun! Who doesn’t want a break in the routine at least once a day? So go for a walk at least three times a week for at least 20 minutes.
Here are some lower back pain exercises to help you stretch and strengthen. As you do each exercise, pay attention to proper form — and again, don’t move any faster or further than you feel is safe.
– Two easy back stretches:
1. A lot of back pain comes from doing desk work. Every hour or so, stand up, spread your feet apart slightly, place your fingertips into the hollow of the lower back, and slowly stretch back so that your shoulders move toward the ceiling. Keeping your balance, reach a comfortable position, and go no further. Hold this position for five to ten seconds. You may want to inhale and exhale “into the lower back” once or twice to help relieve tension. Repeat several times. The reason this works is that it moves the body into a position that is contrary to the sitting at the desk position, so it’s great for breaking up tension. Try it!
2. Lie on the floor in a face-down position. Place the palms against the floor beneath your shoulders. Slowly lift your torso, keeping your hips on the ground as you support with the arms. When you start to feel tension, slowly return to the face-down position. Repeat several times.
– The idea is to curve the body as if you were a cobra. Try to increase the stretch over time, but be careful to avoid pain.
For many of us, it works best to see an exercise demonstrated rather than to read a description. For instance, you can search ” back stretches” on the YouTube site if you want some other ideas. And if you have any chronic back pain or other forms of injury, such as repetitive stress, working with a physical therapist may be your best long-range plan.
– Two easy back strengtheners:
Once you have stretched out, build strength with these exercises.
1. Lie face-down with your arms outstretched. Raise the right leg and left arm several inches above the floor. Count to ten. Rest, then repeat with the opposite leg and arm. As you build strength, think about attaching weights to your ankle and holding a can of soup in each hand. Do this once or twice for recent back pain, then increase your repetitions.
2. Lie face-up with your knees bent. Keep your feet on the floor. Raise your head and shoulders while looking at the ceiling. Count to two. Lower your head and shoulders slowly. Do this a total of 20 times.