10 Exercises to Relieve Lower Back Pain

The lower back is the area of the back that starts below the ribcage. It is also called the “lumbar region”. Lower back pain is a common problem in adults and becomes more frequent with advancing age. Below are 10 exercises to relieve lower back pain

Main culprits of the back pain

Common causes of lower back pain include:

  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Wrong sitting posture.
  • Overuse of muscles e.g., repeatedly doing the same form of exercise.
  • Being overweight.
  • Lifting heavy objects.
  • Dehydration.
  • Nutrient deficient diet.

Painkillers and physiotherapy provide temporary relief but staying physically active and regularly stretching can help as long-term prevention. While doing any exercise, you should first listen to your body. If it hurts, stop doing it otherwise it may aggravate the problem. It is also important to see a healthcare professional if you get back pain after a fall or injury. Here, we are listing 10 exercises that relieve the lower back by strengthening the muscles and increasing flexibility.

Knee to Chest

Knee-to-chest stretch is a wonderful way to restore flexibility in the lower back muscles. It helps in reducing stiffness, lubricates the joints, increases blood flow and delivers nutrients to the problem area. It has a significant impact on chronic low back pain.

To perform the knee-to-chest stretch:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keep your hips level and lower back down on the floor.
  1. Bring one knee to your chest, keeping the other foot flat on the floor or keep the other leg straight.
  2. Take a deep breath and hold for at least 15-30 seconds.
  3. Relax and lower the knee to the starting position.
  4. Repeat with the second leg.
  5. Repeat the stretch 2-4 times with each leg.

Trunk Rotation

Lower trunk rotation is the exercise used to increase core strength, flexibility, stability, mobility, and rotation in the spine. It involves the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae and surrounding muscles.

To perform trunk rotation exercises for the lower back:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on an exercise mat.
  2. Maintain your shoulders and upper body firmly on the floor.
  3. With your knees together, bring them to one side. Your feet should stay against the floor.
  4. Hold for 3-5 seconds.
  5. Contract your abdominal muscles while moving your legs to the opposite side, again holding for 3-5 seconds.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times on each side.

Cat-Cow Stretch

The cat-cow stretch, or Chakravakasana, is a yoga pose that combines two yoga poses:

  • The Cat Pose (marjaryasana in Sanskrit)
  • The Cow Pose (bitilasana)

 It helps to improve posture and balance and also strengthens muscles throughout the back. It also helps to relax and release stress through its synchronized breath movement.

To perform cat-cow stretch:

  1. Start with your hands and knees in table pose, with a neutral spine on the yoga mat.
  2. As you exhale, come into cat pose while rounding your spine outward, tucking in your tailbone, and drawing your pubic bone forward.
  3. Release your head towards the floor, just don’t force your chin to your chest, do it as if you are holding an egg under your chin.
  4. As you inhale and move into cow pose, lift your sit bones upward, press your chest forward and allow your belly to sink.
  5. Lift your head, relax your shoulders away from your ears, and gaze straight ahead.
  6. Maintain a pain-free range of motion.
  7. Do as many as you can in 1 minute.

Pelvic Tilt

Pelvic tilt helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles, engage the core and optimally position the pelvis. The core is made up of many different muscles of the front, back, and sides of the torso. When the core is strong, it provides support for the rest of the body (especially the lower back), preventing postural imbalances and instability that can contribute to pain and even injury.

To perform the pelvic tilt exercises:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent to 60 degrees.
  2. Extend your arms alongside your torso, palms facing down.
  3. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles, imagining your belly button moving toward your spine and bending your pelvis up slightly.
  4. Hold for up to 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

Seated Forward Bend

The seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana) is a classic pose from Hatha yoga. It gives a good stretch to the calves, hamstrings (back of thighs) and spine. It also increases mental calmness and releases anxiety.

To perform seat forward bend exercise:

  1. Sit in Staff Pose (Dandasana), by sitting directly on the top of your sitting bones with your legs straight in front of your body.
  2. Point your toes up.
  3. Lengthen your spine as you inhale.
  4. As you exhale, begin to come forward, hinging at your hips.
  5. On each inhale, lengthen your spine.
  6. On each exhale, deepen into your forward bend.
  7. Keep your neck in line with your spine.
  8. Come to your full extension with the spine long.
  9. Keep the back straight and avoid curving the spine. Do not fold deeper than you can with a straight back.
  10. Take hold of your ankles or toes, whichever you can reach.
  11. To exit the pose, walk your hands back and return to Staff Pose.

You can also use a strap around your feet. Keep your feet flexed strongly throughout.

Flexion Rotation

The flexion rotation exercise is a simple stretch that gives significant relief to the lower back pain.

To perform flexion rotation:

  1. Lie on the painful side, e.g., the right side, with both legs straight.
  2. Slowly bend your left leg, hooking your foot behind your right knee.
  3. Grasp your left knee with your right arm.
  4. Place your left hand behind your neck.
  5. Slowly rotate your upper body backwards by touching your left shoulder blade to the floor until you feel a mild stretch in your lower back.
  6. Keep slowly moving into and out of the rotation stretch about 10 times, holding each stretch for one to two seconds.

Supported Pelvic Bridge

The supported pelvic bridge helps the core abdominal, back, hip and hamstring muscles to work in conjunction to bring and keep the lower body in the air. It allows the spine to experience extension while being gently supported with the help of a yoga block. The yoga block must be solid so that it can bear all your weight.

To perform the supported pelvic bridge exercise:

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, parallel to each other and hip distance apart.
  2. Place your arms close to your sides and extend them to barely touch the heels of your feet with your fingertips.
  3. Press down into the soles of your feet to lift your hips off the floor.
  4. Slide your yoga block under your back directly under your sacrum, not the lower back.
  5. Adjust the height of the block where you are most comfortable and stress-free.
  6. Breathe deeply and stay in this position for several minutes.
  7. To exit the pose, lift your hips off the block. Remove the block and set it aside and gently roll your spine down onto the floor.

Belly Flops

The belly flops are great for spinal alignment and back pain relief.

To perform belly flops:

  1. Roll up a towel or blanket lengthways and place it horizontally across the center of your mat.
  2. Lie, front-side down, placing the rolled towel so that your front hip bones are pressing into it.
  3. Completely relax your trunk, arms, and legs. The head can turn to either side. Hold this position for 2 minutes.

Repeat five times, with a 30-second interval between each belly flop

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose (Balasana) is a resting pose that gives gentle stretch for the back, hips, thighs, and ankles. It helps to relieve the lower back.

To perform the child’s pose:

  1. Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels.
  2. Then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
  3. Exhale and fold forward; lay your torso down between your thighs.
  4. Narrow your hip points toward the navel, so that they nestle down onto the inner thighs.
  5. Broaden across the back of your pelvis at the sacrum and lengthen your tailbone away from the back.
  6. You can stretch your arms in front of you with your palms toward the floor or bring your arms back alongside your thighs with the palms facing upwards.
  7. Breathe deeply and stay in this pose as long as you want.
  8. To come up, first, lengthen the front torso, and then with an inhalation lift from the tailbone as it presses down and into the pelvis.

Thread the Needle Exercise to Relieve Lower Back pain

Thread the needle pose is a stretch that opens the shoulders and stretches the spine. It increases spinal mobility and helps to alleviate chronic shoulder or back pain.

To perform the thread the needle pose:

  1. Start in a neutral position on all fours, keeping your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Inhale and open up your chest to the right as you extend your right arm toward the ceiling. Keep staring toward your raised hand.
  3. Exhale and thread your right hand under your left arm, palm facing up. Rest your head and right shoulder on the mat.
  4. Hold the pose for 5-10 deep breaths on each side.

These are the best exercises to relieve lower back pain. For more visit Khaleej Affairs

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