Lower back pain is a common problem. Unfortunately, its universality does nothing to take away from the discomfort it causes. There are a number of reasons you might experience lower back pain, from a damaged disc to a torn or strained muscle. In some cases, medical intervention may be necessary. In others, targeted stretches and exercises can alleviate the pain.
Exercises are not likely to be a major cure for lower back pain. They can, however, offer long term alleviation of symptoms and provide gradual relief. Here are some exercises you might want to try on your own.
Some Exercises to Try
While full-fledged sit-ups do little for your stomach muscles and can cause injury to your discs, partial crunches are great for strengthening your core, which in turn makes your abdomen more resistant to lower back pain.
Partial crunches are a simple exercise with a few basic steps:
- Lie back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.
- Cross your arms across your chest, tighten your stomach muscles, and raise your shoulders off the ground
- Hold the semi-raised position for a second before slowly lowering your back back down to the floor
- Repeat ten times
While this might seem counterintuitive, stretching the hamstrings is beneficial to the muscles that support the lower portion of the spine. With a simple small towel to aid your stretching, you can see if loosened hamstrings help alleviate your back pain.
Here’s how to execute the stretch:
- Lie on your back with one leg pulled forward, bent at the knee
- Wrap a towel around the sole of your shoe in the leg you’ve kept straight.
- Pull the towel toward you, so that you feel the effects of the stretch in the muscles in the back of your leg, and maintain that position for about twenty seconds.
- Repeat five times for each leg.
This exercise is so beneficial because the muscles of the pelvis often work with the spine. A strengthened pelvis can go a long way toward eliminating the cause of that persistent pain in your lower back.
Pelvis tilts are simple and easy:
- Lie on your back, with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the ground.
- Tighten your chest muscles by pulling your stomach in toward your spine, and maintain this position for ten seconds.
- Repeat ten times.
Lifting weights can be an effective way to combat lower back pain, but it comes with an important caveat. Acute, or sudden, back pain, can be significantly exacerbated by an ill-advised continuance of weight training, and there’s a risk of serious injury. If you feel a sudden pain in your back, you should talk to your doctor before hitting the weight room.
For those with chronic, long-term back pain, however, lifting weights can be an excellent way to strengthen key muscles around the spine and directly attack the source of the discomfort. The key is to remain cautious, and listen to your body’s cues when something seems to be going wrong. If you’re not sure whether weight training is a good option for you, ask a doctor.
Any sort of aerobic workout strengthens your entire cardiovascular system, allowing your blood to pump and your lungs to breathe more efficiently. This in turn can mitigate lower back pain. Any exercise that involves consistent movement and an elevated heart rate will help in this regard, but swimming is an especially excellent form of cardio because it is easy on the body. Running and walking are also advisable, but then can be taxing on your back. When you swim, the water supports the weight of your body, meaning you get the benefits of an aerobic workout without any of the stress on your muscles and bones. Try to focus on straightforward strokes like the freestyle and the backstroke that don’t require any twisting of the back.
Suffering from lower back pain is an unpleasant ordeal. You owe it to yourself to do everything you can to overcome this nasty, persistent problem. The exercises described above are a great place to start. Give us a call at 205-637-1363 so we can help with the exercises mentioned and much, much more, Our mission is to help give you the pain-free life you deserve.