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5 of the Best Exercises to Prevent Lower Back Pain

backpainOur backs are the most critical part of our bone structure, especially since the spine is what links the brain to the rest of the body. In addition to its nerve functions, the back also bears serious weight; the back and spine are part of what support and stabilize the upper body and help it function properly. When someone complains about any bodily ache, it is usually the lower back that is the problem area. Back muscles and joints are under stress constantly, and if not taken care of properly, can start to become sore and painful. Active adults and athletes in particular are susceptible to back pain, as are seniors and the middle-aged. Many choose to take painkillers to numb their pain; however, this will not make the problem go away, and ignoring back pain could lead to even more serious problems in the future. Exercises that target the lower back and the muscles surrounding it are the best, most practical therapy for pain.

With this in mind, here is a list of the 5 best exercises to prevent lower back pain.

1. Knee pulls. This exercise is simple and requires no equipment, and can be done anywhere there is ample space. To perform the exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Take one knee with both hands and pull it up to the chest gently and gradually, until a stretch is felt. Stop at the point where the pain becomes more than mildly uncomfortable. Hold this position for around 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position, and repeat with the other knee. Then, repeat the exercise with both knees held at the same time, for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat this two to three times, for two sessions per day.

2. Lower body twists. This exercise requires you to lie on the ground on your back with knees bent and feet firmly on the ground. To begin, press your shoulders against the ground and roll your bent knees to one side. Hold this position for five to ten seconds, and return to the starting position. Repeat this on the opposite side. Repeat this two to three times.

3. Cat Cow. This exercise is actually a popular yoga pose, and is one of the best exercises to loosen up the entire back and stretch the lower back muscles. Begin by getting on all fours on a yoga mat or towel. Inhale deeply from your stomach, and release through the mouth slowly. While exhaling, push your back towards the ground so it forms a soft curve. This is the Cow position. Then, inhale again and push your back upwards, until it forms a complete arch. This is the Cat position. Repeat this three to five times.

4. Torso Twists. This is another exercise that has its origin in yoga. Begin by sitting on the ground, or on an armless chair or stool. Place your left elbow against the outside of your left knee, and twist to the right. Hold for three to five seconds, and repeat on the opposite side. It is important to remember to not muscle your way into the stretch, as this would defeat the purpose and actually cause the exercise to become worse for your back; instead of pushing against your knee with your arm, simply twist with your back until you have reached the full range of motion possible.

5. Cobra. This stretch is good to throw in at the end of an exercise or therapy session, as it helps loosen and stimulate the back muscles. This is another common yoga pose that has gained popularity because of its simplicity and its long-term benefits for the back. Begin by lying flat on your stomach, with hands pressed against the ground, on a towel or yoga mat. Inhale deeply through the nostrils, exhale through the mouth, and push up from the ground until only the torso is elevated. Be sure to look straight ahead and not let the head droop. Exhale again and bring the torso back down. Repeat this two to three times.

Do not do any of these exercises if you notice increased lower back pain.Having to deal with lower back pain can make simple, everyday task extremely difficult. Most people endure the agony and discomfort of lower back pain for long periods of time simply because they are not aware of relief methods and treatment options. Here at RPI we specialize in a number of different physical therapy techniques that are geared towards proving relief of current back pain, and prevent further injuries associated with lower back pain. For more information on our various treatment options, contact us today.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/lower-back-pain-10/slideshow-exercises

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2013/August/daily-moves-to-prevent-low-back-pain

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/multimedia/back-pain/sls-20076265