You probably know by now that low back pain is one of the main reasons for missed work as well as reduced quality of life. Despite this, many people still suffer from it because most of them don’t know how to address the problem properly. Usually affected individuals resort to pain medications to get through the day or they simply endure it thinking it will go away eventually.
Why allow yourself to go through these when there are ways to relieve the pain without relying on pills all the time? Here are some exercise programs that you can easily follow that doesn’t require any equipment or fitness facility.
Exercise Program to Stretch the Back and Legs
Since the goal is to eliminate or at least reduce pain in the lower back area, these exercises should not cause further pain for you. Instead, they should help loosen sore or stiff muscles which are likely to be the root of your pain. If these exercises do hurt, stop and seek professional help. They can advise you on how to do the exercises properly or which ones don’t fit your condition.
1. Piriformis Muscle Stretching Exercise
When this muscle is tight, that’s when some people suffer from sacroiliac joint dysfunction and sciatica-type pain. Since this muscle can be found at the back of your thigh bone until the base of your spine, here’s the step by step stretching exercise for it:
· First, lie on your back and cross the affected leg over the other.
· With both knees bent, clasp your hands under the lower leg.
· Now gently pull the bottom leg towards your chest.
· Hold both thighs closely until a stretch is felt in the buttock area.
· Hold this position for 30 seconds and do it 1-2 times a day.
2. Psoas Major Muscle Stretching Exercise
If you find it difficult to stand for extended period of time or kneeling on both knees your psoas major muscle which is located at the front portion of your lower spine is probably tight. To stretch that, follow these steps:
· Start by kneeling on one knee.
· Then rotate the leg outward and tighten the gluteal muscle on the side you’re stretching.
· Next, use your hip joint to lean forward instead of using your lumbar spine.
· You should feel the stretch in the front of your hip that you’re kneeling on.
· Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat this exercise 1-2 times a day.
3. Hamstring Muscle Stretching Exercise
Tight hamstring is often the cause of low back pain. Aside from that, it can also be difficult to sit up straight when this muscle if stiff. To stretch this muscle that runs from the back of your pelvic bone to just below the back of your knee, do this exercise:
· Begin by lying on your back.
· Then clasp your hands behind your knee with the hip flexed to 90 degrees and the knee bent.
· Now try to straighten your knee with your toes pointed back toward you.
· Hold that position for 30 seconds and repeat 1-2 times a day.
Though the nest exercises still help low back pain, muscles that appear to be weak may not respond to resistance training. So it would be best to consult a spine specialist or chiropractor before you proceed with the next exercises to screen for muscle inhibition.
4. Transversus Abdominis Muscle Strengthening (Abdominal Exercise)
Instead of doing crunches or sit-ups, working on your Transversus Abdominis (TVA) through abdominal exercises is better when achieving spinal stability. Always remember to keep your lumbar spine neutral when retraining the TVA.
· First, lie on your back with knees bent.
· Knees and feet should be shoulder width apart.
· Draw your belly button toward your spine while maintaining a neutral spine.
· Upon exhalation, reach toward the ceiling as if trying to grab a trapeze overhead.
· Then raise your head and shoulders off the floor, just to the point where your shoulder blades are barely touching the floor, and hold 1-2 seconds.
· Inhale upon return and repeat at the end of the next exhalation.
· Hold it for 1-2 seconds and continue doing it until you can’t anymore.
· Do this once a day and 4-5 days a week.
5. Gluteus Maximus Muscle Strengthening (Buttock Exercise)
Gluteus maximus is the largest of the three butt muscles and gives most of the shape to your rear end. When toned, it doesn’t just give you a nice shape but as well as power in sports like running and cycling.
· Start this exercise by lying on your stomach with your hips and legs off the end of a table or bench.
· Squeeze your butt on one side and extend your leg up toward the ceiling while maintaining a neutral spine.
· Keep your movements slow.
· Initially, it is common to only be able to perform a few repetitions at a time.
· Hold the position for 5 seconds on each side and do at least 4-10 repetitions.
· Do this exercise once a day 4-5 days a week.
6. Gluteus Medius Muscle Strengthening (Hip Abductor Exercise)
When you raise your leg laterally at your hip or stand on one leg, you’re engaging this muscle. Now when this muscle is weak, your opposite hip will drop during the gait cycle which can lead to increase in low back pain and hip pain when walking. This exercise can help strengthen this muscle.
· To begin this exercise, lie on your side with your back against the wall.
· Draw your belly button in as you maintaining a neutral spine.
· Raise your upper leg with your toes slightly pointed toward the ceiling and your heel maintaining contact with the wall.
· Perform slowly with a 2 second hold at the top.
· Do 10 repetitions per side.
· Perform this exercise once a day 4-5 days a week.