The 7 Exercises For Low Back Pain… What Exercises To Do Based On What Position Hurts Your Back Most
For people with low back pain, exercises for low back pain work best when the cause of your low back pain is from a tight or spastic muscle. PROCEED WITH CAUTION WITH THESE EXERCISES. If you don’t know exactly which low back stretches and exercises to do, DON’T do any. Ignorance in this area can hurt you and can make your back pain worse. But… there are easy exercises for low back pain that most people with back pain can safely do. If you feel SHARP PAIN in your low back… or anywhere… while doing any of these exercises, STOP immediately.
Dr. John Falkenroth, D.C. from the Back Pain And Sciatica Clinic in Santa Cruz, CA put together these 7 exercises for people who are suffering from low back pain. Many back problems can be relieved by back exercises. But if you’re getting SHARP PAIN with any of the exercises below, your back pain may be beyond this point. You may have a serious condition that needs expert help. If you’d like Dr. Falkenroth’s help in relieving your low back pain, call us at (831) 475-8600.
WARNING: As a general rule, if your back pain is caused by a herniated disc or a bulged disc, DON’T do the exercises for low back pain that require you to bend your torso forward. Also, DON’T do the exercises that require you to bend your leg(s) up. If your back pain is caused by referred pain from an irritated low back spinal facet joint, DON’T do the exercises that require you to bend your torso backward. Typically, when you do the exercises that are “BAD” for your specific condition, you’ll notice that your back pain, and/or leg numbness and/or tingling will feel WORSE.
If you’d like to see pictures of how to do these low back pain exercises, click on the link below and request the free back pain book.
Back Range of Motion Exercises:
Do these stretches CAREFULLY. Don’t move your back quickly… move it nice and slow. You can stretch your back while sitting or while standing.
While keeping your back straight, move your back forward. Then backward. Then left. Then right. Then move your upper body to look over your RIGHT shoulder. Then move your upper body to look over your LEFT shoulder.
If your back pain is caused by a herniated or bulged low back disc, you may find bending forward very painful… so DON’T bend forward. You may also find bending to one side very painful… so DON’T bend to the side that’s painful.
If you have an MRI, you can ask your doctor to show you the exact direction that your disc has herniated. Based on the location of your herniated disc, your doctor should be able to tell you which position(s) might make your back pain worse… and which position(s) might relieve your back pain. If your herniated or bulged disc is severe, you may not find a comfortable position…all positions may hurt.
If your back pain is caused by a referred pain from an inflamed facet joint in your low back, you may find bending backward very painful… so DON’T bend backward.
Other Back Exercises And Stretches:
Some of these will stretch your back and spine… some will help you keep proper posture… some will strengthen your core muscles. We’ll start with seated exercises, then standing, then lying down. If you have severe back pain, you may not be able to assume some of these positions… let alone do the exercises… so again, proceed carefully. Only do the exercises that you can comfortably do without getting sharp pain or without getting stuck in a position.
While sitting at the edge of a chair… suck your stomach in… slowly bend your upper body forward… bending vertebra by vertebra from the head down. Bend forward at the waist (not at the hips) to feel a stretch in your low back. Repeat.
Chin Protraction And Retraction:
Sit with your head in neutral position – looking straight ahead. While keeping this neutral position, jut your chin forward… then retract your chin back. Repeat.
Stand up and put both your palms on your low back. Breathe in and raise your chest up while bringing your elbows toward each other behind your body. Hold… then exhale, feeling a release in the front of your chest and shoulders. Return to starting position. Repeat.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing forward. Put one foot forward into a lunge position with your back foot staying up on your toes. While keeping your body upright and both hips in line, straighten out your back knee. You should feel a stretch in the front of your thigh and hip on the same side as your back foot. Repeat on the other side.
Kneel on the floor, reach both arms straight out in front along the floor. Move your upper body down so that your buttocks are resting on your heels. Go back to the starting position. Repeat.
Quadruped Arm Raises:
While on your hands and knees… and while maintaining abdominal hollow… and while keeping your back flat, slowly raise one of your arms out in front until it’s parallel with the floor. Lower your raised arm to the floor. Repeat on the other side.
Here are 3 more exercises that are really good for your back pain:
Lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides at 45° angle. Keep a slight chin tuck position… or don’t look up. Squeeze your midback and raise your chest up off the floor. Hold. Go back to starting position. Repeat.
Tighten your abdomen by moving your belly button closer to your back. Repeat. You can also tighten your abdomen while sitting or while standing. This means that you can do this exercise while you wait in line at stores or while you’re waiting for someone. Doing this simple exercise… often… can help strengthen your abdominal muscles… which can help relieve your back pain.
Knee To Chest:
Lie down on your back with your legs bent. Bring one knee toward your chest… hold under the knee joint. Hold. Put your leg back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. If you’re able, bring both knees toward your chest at the same time. Repeat. You can also do this exercise starting with your knees unbent and legs straight.
You can use your hands to help keep your knees bent, but don’t use your hands to help you stretch farther… you may “overstretch” and injure yourself.
PLEASE NOTE: With low back pain, no pain no gain is NOT a good rule. If what you’re doing hurts, STOP… even if you’re stretching. Also, don’t overdo the above stretches and exercises by stretching too far, stretching too long or doing too many reps.
With all of the exercises for low back pain and low back pain stretches that I discussed in this section, you’re probably asking the following questions:
How long should I hold each position?
How many repetitions should I do?
How many times a day should I do them?
When should I do these exercises for low back pain?
Dr. John Falkenroth, D.C. put together the 7 exercises above. To get the above 4 questions answered, get a free copy of the back pain book that Dr. Falkenroth wrote titled, “How To Relieve Back Pain Without Back Surgery.” This book will tell you how long you should hold each position, how many reps to do, how many times to do them and when you should do the above exercises. The book will also give you the other helpful advice that Dr. Falkenroth gives to his patients with low back pain. To get your free copy of the book, click on the box below that says “FREE BACK PAIN BOOK.”
Here’s a patient talking about her experience with our treatment.