Lower back pain is a common issue that can affect people of all ages and can be caused by anything from poor posture while sitting at a desk to carrying a heavy item incorrectly. It can also be a common occupational health issue for a range of professions.
The good news is that there are several useful exercises for lower back pain that may help you to manage the condition. Read on to learn more about these exercises and how to implement them into your daily routine to reduce lower back pain.
Effective Exercises for Relieving Low Back Muscle Pain
Remedying lower back muscle pain is usually a matter of rest and pain relief. If you have simply tweaked a muscle in your back, then your pain should subside within a couple of days, or a few weeks depending on the initial severity of the pain.1
If you experience severe or prolonged lower back pain, consult with your physician to ensure your pain is not linked to an underlying health condition, and to discuss pain management strategies.
Once you have established the cause and severity of your back pain and consulted with a physician, you may want to try some exercises for lower back pain that will help reduce tension and promote faster recovery.
Most exercises for lower back pain are stretches, although strengthening your core is also useful. The stretches highlighted below have been shown to alleviate back pain.2
Naturally, one of the best exercises for lower back pain is a simple back stretch. Lie down on your back with your hands behind your head. Bend your legs and keep your knees together. While trying to stay flat on your back, roll your knees from side to side, keeping your feet on the floor. Do this slowly, and hold the stretch for 10 seconds on each side. Repeat the rolling motion three times.
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Knee to Chest
This is a gentle exercise that may be useful if you are in pain and have limited mobility. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent. Bring one knee up to your chest, and hold it there for five seconds. Then, do the same with the other leg. Repeat this five times. If you can’t get your knee all the way up to your chest, pull it in as far as you can go without causing pain.
Stand upright, then step one leg forward, bending it at the knee. Kneel on the other knee, and keep facing forward, so that you are dropping into a deep lunge. Hold for five seconds, and lift the back knee up again. Repeat three times on each side.
Activating the gluteus maximus can help strengthen the muscle and provide better stability, preventing back pain. Lie down flat on your back with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Put your hands by your sides, and push your feet into the floor so that your buttocks lifts off the ground.
Keep your shoulders on the floor and raise your hips as high ask you can. Hold the top of the bridge for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat this 10 times for one set of exercises, then repeat until you have completed three sets, with some rest in between each set.
There are other stretches that can help with back pain, depending on the type of pain that you are experiencing. With these stretches, it is best to sink into them slowly, hold them for a few seconds, and carefully release.3
Ease into the Exercises
If you are struggling to get started with exercises for lower back muscle pain because you feel stiff or are experiencing muscle spasms, then you may want to try essential oils to relax your muscles and reduce the inflammation. For instance, studies show that lavender essential oil can be helpful for remedying acute back pain. Bergamot essential oil has also been found to help with pain relief.4,5
Additionally, you may find that a warm bath will help relax your muscles and soothe aches and pains. Using an aromatherapy diffuser, such as Relieve, could increase some of these effects and is easy to use on-the-go. If your pain is severe, over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories may also help.
If you decide to try exercises for lower back pain, do them a few times a day, every day while the pain is an issue. Most cases of acute back pain will improve within two weeks and resolve themselves within four. If your pain is severe or does not improve within this time frame, seek advice from a doctor.
It is also important that you seek professional medical advice if you are experiencing issues in addition to back pain, such as numbness and tingling, difficulty using the toilet, etc. Do not ignore any symptoms that are out of the ordinary for you, as they may be a sign of an underlying condition.
If you consult with your doctor about lower back pain, they will ask you about your symptoms and monitor the pain. If they believe that it is a sign of something more serious, they will send you for imaging tests that can identify the cause of the pain.
There are several different types of imaging test available, and these tests will help your doctor determine the best course of treatment for you, depending on whether there is damage to a disc, nerve damage, or another part of your back.6
In the long term, taking steps to prevent and remedy back pain is important. Having a strong core, maintaining good posture, and taking precautions when lifting or carrying heavy objects will help prevent back pain from occurring in the first place.
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