Lower back pain is a painful and incapacitating health condition, which is common mostly because it may be caused by numerous reasons.
It may arise as a symptom of an underlying condition like fibromyalgia or kidney stones in some cases. Other times, lower back pain could be a result of an inactive lifestyle, bad form while working out, or monotonous motions.
More recently, more than a third of Britons have reported an increase in back pain due to sedentary lifestyle habits caused by the government-induced lockdowns.
This article will look at 7 exercise routines that can help in reducing or relieving the pain and strengthening your lower back muscles. First, a few tips:
- Stretch your lower back with care; be gentle and cautious especially if you’ve had or have any type of injury or health concern.
- If you feel the pain is getting worse or you’re feeling very sore, take a day off to recuperate.
- Ensure you’re breathing smoothly throughout each routine. Use your breath as a guide to ensure you don’t strain or overdo it.
Piriformis Stretch :
This routine works your piriformis muscle found deep in your buttocks. Stretching this muscle helps in relieving pain and tightness in your buttocks and lower back.
The piriformis stretch can be done following these steps:
- Lie flat on your back with your two knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Place your right ankle at the bottom of your left thigh.
- Then fasten your hands behind your left thigh and then pull up towards your chest until you feel a stretch.
- Stay in this position for 1 to 3 minutes.
- Repeat on the other side.
- To make the stretch more comfortable; you can keep the bottom of your foot planted on the floor. Rest your head on a cushion for support.
This exercise routine works your hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and spinal extensors. It helps in relieving pain and tension across your spine, neck, and shoulders. It has a soothing effect on your body, loosening uptight lower back muscles, promoting flexibility and blood circulation along the spine.
- With your hands and knees on the ground, sink back through your hips to rest them on your heels.
- Pivot at your hips just as you fold forward, walking your hands out in front of you.
- Rest your belly on your thighs.
- Stretch your arms in front of or alongside your body with your palms facing up.
- Breathe deeply and relax any areas of tension or tightness.
- Maintain this pose for 1 minute.
- If you feel you’ll need more support, place a rolled-up towel underneath or on top of your thighs.
- It could also be more comfortable when you widen your knees and rest your forehead on a cushion.
This exercise builds strength in your abdominal muscles, relieving pain and tightness in your lower back. It also helps in strengthening your glutes and hamstrings.
The pelvic Tilt can be done following these steps:
- Lie on your back, bending your knees and placing your feet flat on the floor.
- Contract your abdominal muscles as you flatten your back against the floor.
- Maintain normal breathing, holding this position for up to 10 seconds.
- Release and relax taking a few deep breaths.
- Do 1 to 3 sets, repeat 3 to 5 times daily.
This exercise is a perfect way to awaken your spine while also stretching your neck, shoulders, and chest.
The Cat-cow stretch can be done following these steps:
- Go on all fours in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the ground.
- Press into your feet and hands as you inhale to look up, filling your belly with air.
- Exhale as you tuck your chin into your chest, arching your spine toward the ceiling.
- Continue this movement pattern with each breath.
- Repeat for 1 to 2 minutes.
- For more intense holds, simply remain in each position for 5 to 20 seconds at a time as opposed to moving with each breath.
NOTE: If you have wrist concerns, place your hands slightly forward instead of directly under your shoulders. For knee concerns, place a cushion under them for padded support.
Seated Lower Back Rotational Stretches:
This exercise routine helps to relieve pain, strengthening the lower back and working the core muscles.
Here’s how to perform the seated lower back rotational stretch:
- Sit on a chair without arms, keeping the feet flat on the floor.
- Turn at your core to the right, keeping your hips square and spine tall.
- Place your hands at the back of your head, or position your left hand on your right knee to support the stretch.
- Maintain the position for 10 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise on the left-hand side.
- Repeat on each side 3 to 5 times twice daily.
Knee to chest:
This is a good stretch to relax your thighs, hips, and glutes while promoting overall relaxation.
The knee-to-chest stretch can be done following these steps:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your left knee bent or spread it straight out along the floor.
- Draw your right knee towards your chest, fastening your hands behind your thigh or at the top of your shinbone.
- Lengthen your spine all through down to your tailbone and avoid lifting your hips.
- Take deep breaths, releasing any tension.
- Maintain this pose for 1 to 3 minutes.
- Repeat with your other leg.
- For a deeper stretch, tuck your chin into your chest and lift your head toward your knee.
This routine decompresses your lower back through supported elevation.
To perform the belly flop routine:
- Roll up a blanket or towel lengthwise and place it horizontally in front of you.
- Lie front-side down over the towel or blanket so that your hipbones are pressed into it.
- Relax your body completely. You can turn your head to either side.
- Keep this position for 1–2 minutes and repeat 1–3 times, resting 30–60 seconds between sets.
The Bottom Line
Lower back pain can take a huge toll on you and your life. These easy exercises will have an immense impact on your recovery. They’ll help work your core muscles to improve flexibility, stability, and provide you with relief. We also have a superb guide that covers ways to prevent lower back pain and injuries, and how to strengthen your lower back altogether.