Posts Tagged ‘lower back exercises’

The best (and worst) exercises for lower back pain

lower-back-painOver 80 percent of Americans will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. If you have it, you may think rest is the key to recovery. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work.

But most lower back pain will actually get better when you stay active. Exercise can:

  • Ease your lower back pain
  • Help you heal faster after a lower back injury
  • Maintain your strength and flexibility
  • Prevent re-injury
  • Reduce your risk of disability from chronic back pain

Lower back pain exercises

You should focus on activities that strengthen your back, such as walking, swimming and walking in waist-deep water in the pool.

Also, these strengthening exercises can help combat back pain:

  • Back extensions. While lying on your stomach on the floor, press your elbows into the ground and push your upper body toward the ceiling. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, then allow your body to relax. Repeat four to six times.
  • Chair stretch (for hamstrings). Sit in a comfortable chair with your legs straight out in front of you in another stable chair. Reach forward gently to one foot and then repeat with other foot.
  • Hip stretch. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a step back with your right foot and bend your left knee while shifting the weight to the right hip until you feel a stretch. Repeat on the other side.
  • Knee-to-chest stretch. Lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees while keeping your heels on the floor. Place your hands behind each respective knee and bring your knees to your chest for a gentle stretch.
  • Neck stretch. Sit in a comfortable chair with a straight back. Bend your head forward until your chin hits your chest, or you can feel a light stretch in the back of the neck. Return to the starting position.

Note: If at any time you notice increased pain while doing a stretch or exercise, stop immediately.

Exercises to avoid if you have lower back pain

If you have lower back pain, it’s best to avoid these exercises:

  • Heavy lifting above the waist
  • Leg lifts
  • Sit-ups, either with straight legs or with bent legs
  • Touching your toes while standing with legs straight

Many people can relieve lower back pain with simple at-home strengthening and stretching exercises. However, if you have a question about whether you need medical attention, it’s best to talk to your doctor to rule out a more serious injury.

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