Low Back Pain Exercises
When you’re suffering with low back pain it affects every aspect of your life as it is often difficult to escape from it. Though for many people this is of major concern it is actually only a relatively small number of cases that end in surgery. If managed correctly you can swiftly ease symptoms through exercises done daily at home and physiotherapy if needed. I would always recommend you follow the regime below first for 4-5 days and if there is no resolution of symptoms then seek professional advice.
First and foremost keep moving within pain limits little and often. Do NOT sit still to try to reduce pain. This will result in more stiffness, and consequently more pain. The majority of back pain is caused by an accumulative effect of poor posture leading to joint stiffness, muscle tightness and a lack of range of joint movement. You have to reverse these to alleviate symptoms. If you need to take painkillers in order to get you moving, take them! A lot of people avoid painkillers, and most of the time I would completely agree with this, but there is a time and a place for them. You can, of course, try something natural like turmeric and fish oils that are both anti-inflammatories but in my experience they are better for chronic pain than acute onset pain.
Secondly, use heat on your lower back to decrease muscle spasm, ease off tight muscles and help decrease stiffness. A simple hot water bottle will do or wheat pack that you heat in the microwave or heat pads that you can buy and stick to your clothing. Don’t underestimate just how helpful heat can be. If using a hot water bottle use it daily fro 20-30 minutes.
Try these exercises within pain limits, if they hurt to do you are pushing it too far. This is not a no pain no gain situation, particularly if you have pain into either or both of your legs. That is a sign that the nerves are being irritated, the more you feel that pain the more the nerves are irritated and the longer the pain will last. Respect it, your body is warning you, listen and back off! So, the exercises are…
- Knee rolls
Start position: Lie on your back either on the floor or your bed, whichever is more comfortable. Place a pillow under your head. Keep your knees bent and together.
Action: Roll your knees to one side, followed by your pelvis, keeping both shoulders on the floor. Hold the stretch for one deep breath and return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times, alternating sides.
- Pelvic tilts
Start position: Lie on your back. Place a pillow under your head. Bend your knees and keep your feet straight and hip-width apart.
Action: Gently flatten your low back into the floor and contract your stomach muscles. Now tilt your pelvis towards your heels until you feel a gentle arch in your lower back, feeling your back muscles contracting and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, tilting your pelvis back and forth in a slow rocking motion.
- Alternate Knee Hugs
Start Position: Lie on your back. Place a pillow under your head. Keep your knees bent and together.
Action: Lift one knee up and hug it in towards your chest. Hold for 4-5 seconds and place it back down. Repeat with the other knee. Alternate one to the other 5 times.
Repeat all three exercises 3-4 times a day.
These are very simple exercises. They are trying to open the small joints of your lower back to reduce stiffness and decrease muscle tightness. You may not feel like you are doing very much but they will work to ease movement. As long as you do them within pain limits you can try these even with sciatic leg pain. They are also good to do to maintain back movement or to prevent back pain. If you have a job where you are sat down every day these are a good addition to help to prevent back pain. In this case once or twice a day should be fine.
If you do them and pain increases afterwards then you are doing something wrong, stop re-read this and try again. If pain persists do not continue, please seek advice either with your GP, local physiotherapist or please call The Food Physio on 0800 024 8460 for assistance. Or if you are local you can book an appointment to come and see us.