Home Exercises for Back Pain
Home Exercises for Back Pain
Home Exercises for Back Pain.
Here are some exercises which you can do at home for free without any equipment which are good for alleviating back pain, strengthening your back muscles and increasing your spinal flexibility.
Please note that some of these exercises are best for the initial sore (acute) stage after an injury, and some are more for the rehabilitation phase when you are less sore. You should really see a back pain expert (like me!) if you are unsure which one will work best for your situation.
Partial crunches: This exercise can help strengthen the lower back and abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your neck, and slowly lift your shoulders off the ground, tightening your abdominal muscles. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower your shoulders back down. This is mainly a strengthening and rehab exercise.
Bird dog: This exercise targets the core muscles and lower back. Get down on your hands and knees, and then lift your opposite arm and leg off the ground while keeping your back straight. Hold for a few seconds, then switch to the other arm and leg. This is mainly a strengthening and rehab exercise.
Wall sits: This exercise strengthens the muscles in the legs, back, and core. Stand with your back against a wall and slowly slide down into a sitting position, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for as long as you can, then slowly stand back up. This is mainly a strengthening and rehab exercise.
Cat-cow stretch: This exercise helps to stretch and mobilize the spine. Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Arch your back up toward the ceiling, and then slowly lower your back down while lifting your head and tailbone. This is mainly a spinal flexibility, balancing and coordination exercise.
Pelvic tilts: This exercise helps to strengthen the lower back and improve posture. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and press your lower back into the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then release. This can be useful after an injury.
Knee hugs: Lying flat on your back on a firm surface, gently hug both your knees towards your chest. You can hug just one knee if hugging both is too difficult. Try to hold this gentle stretch for about 30 seconds. This is a great exercise for stretching your back muscles and decompressing the joints in your back if they are irritated.
Low back stretches: Lying flat on your back on a firm surface, stretch your arms out to the side with your palms to the floor. With one leg straight, gently roll the other bent leg across whilst keeping your arms fixed to the floor. This is a great low back stretch which often frees up stiff joints. Take it easy with this exercise if you have just had an injury.
Gentle walking: In my experience, staying mobile with regular gentle walking is one of the most effective ways to both prevent and recover from a back problem. The walking motion puts a gentle rotatory force through the lumbar spine which helps blood flow and flexibility. There is plenty of scientific research to confirm that this is the case.
If you click on the titles of the photographs below, it will take you to a short explanatory video for each exercise.
Once you have a problem under control, both pilates and yoga are effective approaches to maintaining your back health. Which one will work best for you will depend on various factors personal to you, and whether you primarily have a flexibility or stability problem, or both.
As a general rule, if an exercise is causing anything more than a mild discomfort from a stretch, you should stop doing it.
As always, best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program, especially if you have a history of back pain or injury.
Come and see me for an assessment of which back exercises will work best for you at Osteostudio in Ashurst Wood, East Grinstead.
Author: Cliff Russell - Registered Osteopath