4 Exercises for Lower Back Pain Chiropractors Recommend
Dealing with back pain can ruin your daily routine and make it hard for you complete tasks. Read on to learn the recommended exercises for lower back pain.
The cause of chronic lower back pain(LBP) involves many factors. This is different from acute lower back pain, which is usually caused by something like a car accident.
One of the biggest contributors to chronic LBP is a sedentary lifestyle and sitting for long periods of time.
Most people think that if you have lower back pain, you’ll want to do lower back exercises to strengthen your lower back.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s the weakness of the surrounding muscles that help stabilize your spine that contributes to lower back pain.
Some of the surrounding muscles that help stabilize your back include the glutes, abs, hamstrings and hip flexors. These muscles are part of what is called the posterior chain.
Below are a few exercises for lower back pain that are safe, easy and effective.
4 Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Typically with low back pain, the hip flexors are overactive, while the glutes, abs, and hamstrings are underactive. This muscular imbalance is what contributes to LBP.
1. Hip Flexors Stretch - 1 Minute Each Side
Your hip flexors are located on the front sides of your pelvis, to the left and right of your groin. They directly pull on your lower back when overly active, causing pain. This stretch will help relax them.
Get down on your left knee like you’re about to propose.
Put your left hand on your waist and your right hand on the top of your knee.
Keep your back straight and chest out.
You should feel a stretch right below your left side. Lean into this stretch by leaning forward.
To relax your hip flexor further, squeeze your glutes as you do this exercise.
Hold this pose for 1 minute then switch legs.
Ab Strengthening Exercises
Do you remember the last time you couldn’t stop laughing?
Where you ran out of breath and your abs started to hurt?
This is the part of the abs that help stabilize your spine. It’s called the Transverse Abdominis, aka the “corset muscle”.
Your abs are what help stabilize and protect your spine. The tricky thing when choosing ab strengthening exercises is that we want to activate our ab muscles, without activating your hip flexors. Below are a few effective ab workouts.
2. Cat Vomit Exercise - 3 sets of 5-10 seconds
Get on all fours, keeping your back straight
Exhale all the way out until you’re out of breath and hold your breath in
Pull your belly button up towards the ceiling
Hold this for 5-10 seconds
To avoid lightheadedness, take one breath cycle in between reps,(one full inhale, one full exhale) in between sets.
3. Planks - 3 sets of 30 seconds-1 minute
Get on your elbows, with your legs straight and arms parallel to each other
Keep your back, neck, and butt straight and aligned
Pull your belly button up towards the ceiling
4. Glute Bridges
Glute bridges are an excellent workout for your glutes, and also provide a bit of a stretch for your hip flexors.
It may look silly at first, but it’s an effective exercise for strengthening your glutes.
Lie on your back in with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Your feet should be around hip-width apart and your toes should be parallel or facing away.
Make sure your lower back is braced to the floor by contracting your abdominal muscles. Keep your abs slightly activated in this way throughout the glute bridge.
Thrust your hips upwards off the floor towards the ceiling and squeeze your glute muscles while pressing your heels to the ground.
Thrust your hips just enough to where your legs, hips, and abs are parallel. Avoid arching your back.
Preventative Maintenance in the Workplace
The above exercises can only do so much if you don’t change how you move in the workplace.
Here are a few key tips below can help you maintain spine integrity during your workday.
1. Set Reminders for Yourself
You’ll want to set reminders for yourself. It can be as simple as setting a timer on your phone every 15 minutes or 30 minutes to check your posture. Awareness of your body positioning is the first step.
2. Keep Your Abs Slightly Activated at All Times
Think of the last time you took a selfie at the beach and had to “suck in”(we’re all guilty of this). This "slight bracing" of your abs should be what you should strive for on a daily basis.
3. Move Around
If possible, you’ll want to get up and walk around every few hours to take the pressure off of your abs and lower back.
If you have the option to stand while working, the act of switching between sitting and standing will help you stay active and not rely on one muscle group for the majority of your workday.
You'll be able to switch between your abs, glutes, and legs for support.
4. Do Stretches at Work
Stretches like the hip flexor stretch are relatively easy to do at work. You can even see if your coworkers would like to join!
You Can Manage Your Lower Back Pain
The above exercises for lower back pain can help strengthen the surrounding muscles that support a healthy spine.
However, we understand that you can't always manage it alone.
If you are seeing early signs or are currently dealing with lower back pain, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.