7 Key Low Back Exercises to Help Prevent & Reduce Pain
Well now that you have an idea what may be causing your client’s low back pain its time to go back to the basics. Here are 7 key exercises everyone should be doing that has low back pain. If you didn’t watch the first newsletter video click here first.
As you know weak muscles often lead to injuries and when we are talking about the low back, both weak core and pelvic muscles specifically can lead to low back pain and injury. The following exercises can help strengthen the lower back therefore stabilizing the lumbar spine and helping to alleviate and prevent low back pain. Most of these are done with a neutral pelvis. If the client is flexion intolerant then prone press up would be a daily necessity.
7 Key Exercises for Low Back Pain
1. Pelvic tilts
Begin lying on your back with knees bent and hands lying by your side. Slowly tuck your tailbone under and squeeze your core tight, flattening your low back against the floor. Inhale and relax the core, allowing your low back to arch slightly. Continue going back and forth through this motion, of flattening and arching the low back.
2. Diaphragmatic breathing
While lying on your back with knees bent keep one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. As you breathe in through your nose deeply for about 2 seconds, your belly should stick out a bit. Feel the air expanding your stomach and then breathe out slowly through the lips while flattening your low back and tightening your core.
3. Dead bug
Begin lying on your back with your hands extended above you toward the ceiling. Bring your feet, knees, and hips up to 90 degrees. Exhale hard to bring your ribcage down and flatten your back onto the floor. Hold this position throughout the movement. Initiate the exercise by extending one leg, straightening the knee and hip to bring the leg just above the ground. Maintain a tight core with your back pressed against the floor like in the pelvic tilt exercise as you perform the movement, as your back is going to want to arch. Stay tight and return the working leg to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side, alternating until the set is complete.
The plank begins with forearms and toes on the ground. We contract the core and attempt to maintain a stable position with our back straight, quads and glutes engaged trying to maintain an unbroken line from head to toe for 60 seconds. In the beginning it is preferable to take short 10 second breaks when we start breaking good form before continuing on to our 1 minute goal.
5. Side plank
Lying on your side with your forearm facing perpendicular to your body, support your weight on your forearm and the outside of your two feet. Try to keep your body in a straight line. Hold the position without letting your hips drop for the allotted time for each set, then repeat on the other side. Recommend you hold for 30-60 secs. Engage your abdominals at all times to keep the body rigid. Forget to do this and your body will likely sway and lose strength. Try to keep your head and neck straight. Ideally find a spot on the wall and keep your eyes locked on it.
6. Bird dog
Begin in the quadruped position on your hands and knees with your hands placed directly below your shoulders and your knees placed beneath your hips. While keeping your core engaged, alternate reaching forward with one hand while trying to remain stable throughout. We then progress to alternating kicking back with each leg. Finally we progress to a cross crawl pattern between the arms and legs (ie right arm fwd is paired with left leg back etc). Don’t sway or shift weight lateral while keeping your leg and foot in one line.
7. Prone press up
Begin lying flat on our stomach on the ground. Place your hands on either side of your shoulders and slowly press your chest up off the ground. Keep your low back tight and your glutes engaged. Continue to slowly go up and down through this motion. Progressively lift the chest higher and higher off the ground, continuing to go up and down in a pumping like motion. Repeat 15-20 reps at a time. **If the client is extension intolerant please avoid doing.
These are not the only exercises that can benefit a client with low back pain however they are the key foundation ones to do.
In good health,
The Sports Chiropractors of SF Custom Chiropractic
(Dr. J, Dr. Mills, Dr. Jessica, Dr. Li, Dr. Groff, Dr. Remillard and Dr. Pulmano)