A common question that is asked in our practice is, what are the best exercises for low back pain. Low back pain is an extremely common complaint that is seen frequently in hospitals, emergency rooms, as well as primary care physcians’ offices. We have created what we feel are the best starter exercises for low back pain relief and prevention. Keep in mind that exercise is just part of the problem and without knowing exactly what the structure of your spine looks like, it is hard to determine to what extent this form of exercise will improve your condition. These exercises are common in physical therapy programs with a focus to increase the stability of the low back. A commonly misunderstood belief of stretching is that daily stretching is good for keeping the low back healthy. However, most people fail to realize the importance of keeping motion and stretching certain motions rather then making a gross statement that all stretching is good. Stretching should be focused on joints that were designed for large degrees of range of motion (hip). We want a majority of the motion to occur in the hips where motion should occur keeping the low back for stability and endurance.
Bird Dog (3 sets of 10 reps)
- Starting picture above on the left, focus on brining opposite arm straight forward and your opposite leg straight back. We want this to be a slow process in which we focus on keeping the back perfectly still during the entire time. Imagine you had a cup of water on you low back and you had to perform the entire process of bringing leg and arm out together and then back in without having the water fall off your low back. Rotate after each rep so you do one arm, then then the other side until you have completed 10 reps on each arm and leg pairing.
Bridges (3 Sets of 10 Reps)
- We are going to focus on using one leg to get our butocks off the ground and the other to just keep the stress on the leg that we are focusing on. We want to try and raise our buttocks as high as possible with a slow and steady speed. Complete 10 reps and then switch to the other side.
Planks (3 Holds for 20 sec)
- Focus on keeping your stomach tight and your low back flat as in the picture above. We want to make sure that your are not dispersing the force to your low back but rather strengthening the stability in your spinal segments. Focus on keeping your times capped at holds of 1 minute.
- This is a self massage technique that allows you to break up tightness and adhesions by rolling from your mid back to the top of your pelvis. This technique keeps the mid-back ribs relaxed and mobile. Make sure you go nice and slow but also stop and focus on the tender spots you might roll over as your are going up and down. Try and do 15 times up and down the spine.