Lower back pain is a common complaint that affects millions of people around the world. Whether it’s caused by poor posture, muscle strain, or underlying health conditions, lower back pain can have a significant impact on your daily life. However, the good news is that there are several exercises that can help alleviate this discomfort and improve your overall spinal health.
In this article, we’ll discuss five exercises that you can do right now to help with lower back pain, with the expert advice of Dr. Lee Bazzarone, a retired chiropractor with over 30 years of experience.
Exercise #1: Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt exercise is a simple yet effective way to alleviate lower back pain caused by sitting for extended periods or poor posture. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Tighten your abdominal muscles and flatten your lower back into the ground. Hold for five seconds, then release. Repeat this exercise ten times.
According to Dr. Bazzarone, “The pelvic tilt exercise can help alleviate lower back pain by strengthening your core muscles and improving your posture. By holding your lower back in a neutral position, you can reduce the strain on your lumbar spine.”
Exercise #2: Cat-Cow Stretch
The cat-cow stretch is a gentle yoga pose that can help improve flexibility and mobility in the spine. Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Inhale and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling (cow pose). Exhale and round your spine, tucking your chin to your chest and drawing your belly button towards your spine (cat pose). Repeat this sequence ten times.
Dr. Bazzarone notes that “the cat-cow stretch can help alleviate lower back pain by improving flexibility and mobility in the spine. By moving through these two positions, you can increase blood flow to the area and reduce tension in the lower back muscles.”
Exercise #3: Bird Dog
The bird dog exercise is an excellent way to improve core stability and reduce lower back pain. Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Extend your right arm forward and your left leg back, keeping your hips level with the ground. Hold for five seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Complete ten repetitions on each side.
Dr. Bazzarone recommends the bird dog exercise, stating that “this exercise can help alleviate lower back pain by strengthening your core muscles and improving your balance. By keeping your hips level, you can reduce the strain on your lumbar spine.”
Exercise #4: Hamstring Stretch
The hamstrings are a group of muscles located at the back of the thigh that can contribute to lower back pain if they are tight. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place a towel or strap around the ball of your foot and gently straighten your leg, keeping your knee slightly bent. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat this sequence three times on each leg.
Dr. Bazzarone notes that “tight hamstrings can contribute to lower back pain by pulling on the pelvis and increasing the curve in your lumbar spine. By stretching your hamstrings, you can reduce this tension and improve your posture.”
Exercise #5: Child’s Pose
The child’s pose is a gentle yoga pose that can help alleviate lower back pain by stretching the muscles in the lower back and hips. Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Lower your hips back towards your heels and reach your arms forward, resting your forehead on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to the starting position.
Dr. Bazzarone recommends the child’s pose, stating that “this pose can help alleviate lower back pain by stretching the muscles in your lower back and hips. By taking deep breaths in this position, you can also reduce tension and improve your relaxation response.”
Preventing Lower Back Pain
While these exercises can help alleviate lower back pain, it’s also important to take steps to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Dr. Bazzarone suggests the following tips:
Maintain good posture: Sit and stand with your shoulders back and your chest open. Avoid slouching or hunching over.
Stay active: Regular exercise can help strengthen your core muscles and reduce the risk of lower back pain.
Stretch regularly: Incorporate stretching into your daily routine to improve flexibility and mobility in the spine.
Lift with your legs: When lifting heavy objects, bend at the knees and use your leg muscles to lift, rather than your back.
Take breaks: If you sit or stand for long periods, take breaks to stretch and move around.
Lower back pain can be a frustrating and debilitating condition, but with the right exercises and preventative measures, it’s possible to alleviate discomfort and improve spinal health. The pelvic tilt, cat-cow stretch, bird dog, hamstring stretch, and child’s pose are all effective exercises that can help reduce tension in the lower back muscles and improve core stability. Additionally, maintaining good posture, staying active, stretching regularly, lifting with your legs, and taking breaks can all help prevent lower back pain from occurring. However, if your lower back pain persists or worsens, it’s important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional.
Meet Dr. Lee Bazzarone
Dr. Lee Bazzarone is a retired chiropractor who built a successful career as a practitioner beginning in 1988. He is excited to seek new entrepreneurial endeavors and online initiatives. He is active in his church and works regularly with church youth. With a heart for serving, he and his wife have volunteered for missions in Haiti. Dr. Bazzarone has a wealth of health knowledge and advice as well as deep insight into how insurance works.