7 Exercises for Low Back Pain You Can Do At Home

Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Exercises for Lower Back Pain

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimate that upwards of 80 percent of adults will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, about 25 percent of adults have had low back pain in the last three months.

What’s more, low back pain is the leading cause of job-related disability, as well as one of the most common reasons to miss days of work.  The American Chiropractic Association states that back pain in general accounts for 264 million – yes, millions of dollars – and many lost days of work annually.

What is causing all of our lower back pain? One would think that with all of the suffering and the missing work, there must be a major illness occurring! However, most causes of lower back pain are mechanical or non-organic – meaning that they occur from something such as an injury, versus a condition, such as arthritis.

Myself, I am new to the low back pain “ball game.” I’ve watched my husband suffer from low back pain for years.  He has seen several specialists and now does many things to stave off the pain – from exercising to practicing proper structure (sitting upright, and not slouching) are just some of the simple things he does every day to prevent and manage low back pain.

As for me, I’m still learning ways to cope with my low back pain. Here are several exercises for lower back pain that I’ve learned from my research that may help give you lower back pain relief.

1. Crunches

Although we often do crunches to strengthen our abdominal muscles, they are also helpful in reducing lower back pain! Why? While they strengthen the abdominal muscles, they also strengthen the muscles of the lower back – and while we’re strengthening, we are also reducing pain.

For this exercise, you’ll need a mat, a blanket, or a towel. You can choose to do to the exercise on the floor as well.

It may seem basic, but let’s review the basic steps of a crunch:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor or a mat, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. While engaging the abdominal muscles, cross your arms over your chest or place your hands behind your head and lift your chest off the floor. Ensure that you’re using your abdominal muscles to lift your chest – not your arms and head!
  3. Hold the crunch for a breath or two, then lower the back down to the floor. Repeat the crunch eight to 12 times.
  4. This exercise should not put a strain on your lower back – if your lower back is hurting, check your form!

What about sit-ups? Aren’t they better for you? Actually, no, not if you’ve got issues with your back! Doing a full sit-up will place unneeded pressure on the discs in your back and will only cause more lower back pain.

2. Wall Sits

Another exercise that strengthens both the back and the core – wall sits!

For this exercise, all you’ll need is a wall.

Here’s how to perform a wall sit:

  1. Stand about a foot away from a wall, with your back to it.
  2. Place your back against the wall, then slide down, against the wall, as if you’re sitting into a chair. Ensure that while you’re sliding your back down, your back is still firmly pressed against the wall.
  3. Hold the wall sit for 10 seconds. Repeat eight to 10 times.

3. Back Extensions

A back extension is a gentle exercise that will strengthen the lower back while also providing a stretch.

For this exercise, you’ll need a mat, a blanket, or a towel. You can choose to do to the exercise on the floor as well.

Here’s how to perform a back extension:

  1. On your mat, lie on your stomach.
  2. Place your hands directly under your shoulders; place your weight into your hands and push your chest and shoulders off of the mat.
  3. Hold this position for several seconds. Repeat if you’d like.

4. Bird Dog

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, ‘bird dog’ will look familiar to you. The Sanskrit name is parsva balasana. This posture is known to strengthen the core as well as strengthen the lower back.  It also challenges the ability to balance.

For this exercise, you’ll need a mat, a blanket, or a towel. You can choose to do to the exercise on the floor as well.

Here’s how to perform bird dog:

  1. Come to your hands and knees on your mat (tabletop).
  2. Extend your right leg back, keeping it straight. Keep the leg parallel to the floor and flex the foot.
  3. Extend your left arm forward, keeping it straight. Keep the arm parallel to the floor.
  4. Hold for five to 10 breaths before returning the leg and hand to the ground, while lifting the opposite leg and hand off the ground and extending.

Next page: More exercises for lower back pain you can do at home.

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