Do you often feel a sharp stabbing pain when you bend over or stand for long periods? This could be an indication of acute or chronic back pain. Backaches can be annoying – but most often, it does not imply a serious problem. A simple muscle strain or ligament sprain might cause it.
What could lead to a lumbar sprain or muscle strain in the back? Heavy lifting, prolonged sitting and lying down, overuse of muscles, and poor posture while sleeping can cause pain in both upper and lower back. The symptoms of back pain are often discomforting and debilitating. So what can you do to manage the symptoms of chronic backache? The best and most effective way of managing the condition and get rid of uncomfortable backache symptoms is exercising.
Different types of muscle strengthening and stretching exercises can help eliminate or at least ease lower back pain. These exercises are focused on strengthening your core and back muscles. Research suggests that if you exercise regularly, it increases blood circulation to the lower back region, which may alleviate stiffness and expedite the healing process.
The Most Effective Exercises for Lower Back Pain are –
- Knee-To-Chest Stretches
- Rotational Stretches
- Seated Rotational Stretches
- Draw-in Manoeuvres
- Pelvic Tilts
- Lying Lateral Leg Lifts
- Cat Stretches
- Partial Curls
Bridges work the gluteus maximus, which is the main extensor muscle of your hip. The muscle engages at the time of any hip movement, particularly during hip extension movements, like squats. If your gluteus maximus is not strong enough, you may come across back problems. This is because these muscles act as an important stabilizer of the lower back and hip joints during movements, such as walking.
How To do Bridges Correctly –
- Lie with your back on the floor and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart
- Placing your hands on both sides and pressing your feet against the ground, raise your hips slowly off the floor until your body is aligned in a straight line. Keep your shoulders touched to the ground.
- Hold the position for about 10-15 seconds before you lower down your body
- Repeat this 15 times
- Do 3 sets of bridges taking a minute interval between each set
This particular form of exercise can help relieve pain and tension in the lower back.
The Steps to Perform it Are –
- Lie on your back on the ground bending the knees and keeping both your feet flat on the floor
- Pull one knee to the chest with both hands and hold on to it for five seconds. Tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your spine pressed against the floor.
- Return to your previous position and repeat the same with your other knee
- Repeat this with each knee 2-3 times, twice a day
Rotational stretches, as the name suggests, stretch the lower back muscles, thus relieving tension in the trunk. The exercise also works great on your core muscles and improves flexibility. It is one of the most effective exercises for lower back pain.
Steps to Perform Rotational Stretches Are –
- Lie on your back on a mat with knees bent and feet flat against the floor
- Firmly keeping the shoulder on the ground, gently roll over to one side. Make sure you keep your knees bent while doing so.
- Hold on to the position for about 5-10 seconds and then return to your starting position
- Now do the same on the other side
- Repeat on each side 2-3 times, twice a day
Seated Rotational Stretches
A variation of the regular rotational stretches, the seated rotational stretch works the core muscles, strengthens the lower back, and help to manage pain. You do not have to lie on the floor to perform this exercise. You can remain seated while doing so.
Steps to Do Rotational Stretches Are –
- Sit on a chair or stool with feet flat on the ground
- Twist at the core to your left, keeping the spine tall and hips square
- Place your hands at the back of your head, or position the right hand to support the stretch
- Hold the posture for 10 seconds
- Repeat the exercise on the other opposite side
- Repeat this 3-5 times on either side, twice every day
The exercise works the transversus abdominis – the layer of muscle on the lateral and frontal abdominal wall layered beneath the internal oblique muscle. It stabilizes your lower back and spine.
Steps to Do Draw-in Manoeuvres Are –
- Lie back on the ground with feet flat and knees bent, placing your arms on the sides
- Take a deep breath
- Now as you breathe out, pull your belly button towards the spine. While doing so, keep your hips still and tighten the abdominal muscles.
- Hold the position for five seconds
- Repeat this 5 times
Pelvic tilts can help release stiffness in the back muscles and improve flexibility. It is one of the most recommended and easiest back pain exercises.
Steps to Do Pelvic Tilts Are –
- Lie on the back with feet flat and knees bent. Keep your arms to the sides.
- Arch your lower back gently pushing the belly out
- Hold on to this position for five seconds and release slowly
- Flatten your back and pull the stomach in towards the floor
- Again, hold for five seconds before returning to the relaxed position
- Increase the number of repetitions every day, gradually building up to 30
Lying Lateral Leg Lifts
This exercise specifically engages the hip abductor muscles – the ones that support the pelvis and may help alleviate back strain. It is important that you keep these muscles strong, as it greatly affects mobility and helps maintain your balance.
Steps to Do Lying Lateral Leg Lifts Are –
- Lie facing one side, keeping your feet close together
- Place the lower leg in a slightly bent position
- Pull your stomach into the spine to engage your core muscles
- Lift your top leg, keeping it extended and straight
- Hold on to this position for two seconds
- Repeat this 10 times
- Now turn to the other side and repeat the same with the opposite leg
- Do 3 sets on each side
The cat stretch works to elongate and strengthen your back, releasing the tension in the muscles.
Steps to Do Cat stretches Are –
- Get on a mat on the floor with both your hands and knees, hip-width apart on the ground
- Making an arch with your back, pull the stomach up towards your spine
- Relax your muscles slowly and allow the belly to sag towards the ground
- Return to your starting position
- Repeat this 3-5 times, twice every day
Also Read: What is The Best Time To Exercise?
Your back extensor muscles run along the spine. These muscles support the pelvic bones and spine, help you to keep an upright posture and allow you to arch your back. This particular exercise engages the hips and buttocks, back, and shoulder muscles.
Steps to Do Supermans Are –
- Lie on the stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you and legs stretched out flat on the floor
- Now slowly lift your feet and hands off the floor until you feel a contraction in the lower back
- Tighten the core muscles by lifting your stomach slightly off the ground. Reach away with your feet and hands. Make sure you are looking at the ground while doing so, or you may strain your neck.
- Hold the position for two seconds before returning to the resting position
- Repeat this 10 times
Strong, well-built abdominal muscles play a vital role in holding up the spine and keeping the hips aligned. If your abdominals are not strong enough, it may lead to a lack of stability and weak core strength – these conditions can cause backaches. To avoid such complications, you should practice partial curls. It is one of the best exercises for lower back pain, which mainly works the transversus abdominis and rectus abdominus.
Steps to D0 Partial curls Are –
- Lie on your back bending your knees and placing the feet flat on the ground
- Cross both your hands over to the chest and inhale deeply
- Now as you breathe out, brace your abdominals by pulling the stomach in towards the spine
- Lift the shoulders off the floor slowly. Be sure to keep your neck aligned with the spine.
- Return to your resting position
- Perform 3 sets of partial curls, repeating each set 10 times
These exercises for lower back pain can work to improve your core strength, improve flexibility, increase stability, and prevent injury. Furthermore, back pain exercises are an excellent way to avoid recurring backaches. Nevertheless, keep in mind that exercising only helps manage the condition and its symptoms.
What are the other options for back pain treatment? If the pain is persistent and does not subside on its own or keeps coming back despite regular exercise, medical intervention is needed. Certain drugs and medications, including muscle relaxants, OTC and topical pain relievers, and injections, are the most common and useful options for back pain treatment. Nevertheless, consult your physician before you begin with the medications.
Backaches can be discomforting, but with proper medications and back pain exercises, you can look forward to a time where back pain is nothing but history.
Also Read: How to Stay Fit and Healthy?