Have your friends and colleagues started noticing your presence due the aroma of the excessive back pain cream or spray you apply? If that’s the case, and the pain isn’t getting any better, it’s time you started practising some essential lower back exercises.
Lower back pain could be the result of an injury to a muscle (strain) or a ligament (sprain), improper lifting, poor posture, lack of regular exercise, fracture, a ruptured disc or arthritis.
While in most cases, lower back pain goes away on its own in a few weeks, some cases may need physiotherapy or other treatment.
There are exercises which can help reduce lower back pain which be done in consultation with an expert.
Dr Rajesh Pal, leading physiotherapist on Lybrate, explained to us how to do the bottom-to-heels stretch and back extensions, both of which are good for reducing lower back pain.
Lie on your stomach, resting on the forearms, with your elbows bent at the sides. Keep your neck straight and look towards the floor.
Now, arch your back up by pushing down with your hands. In this position, you will feel a gentle stretch in the stomach muscles. Hold on to this position for about 10 seconds before returning to normal.
How this will help you: Doing this will increase your ability to coordinate movement via your lower back. You shall end up having a stronger back with increased endurance.
While kneeling on all fours, with the knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders, slowly move your bottom back towards the heels.
Take a deep breath while holding on to this position, and then return to normal. You can repeat this 8–10 times.
However, make sure that you stretch only as far as you can.
How this will help you: This exercise helps to stretch the spine and mobilise it.
Along with these two exercises, hamstring stretches, bridging and the lower-back twist also help in lowering back pain. Dr Shruti Bangera, Senior SME-physiotherapy, Portea Medical, explains to us how to go about these exercises.
Lie on your back and bend one knee. Put a towel beneath the ball of the foot on the unbent leg. Slowly, pull the towel back while straightening your knee.
When you feel a slight stretch at the back of your leg, hold on to the position for about 15 seconds. Repeat 2–4 times for each leg.
How this will help you: This exercise relieves the back of the leg, which has some muscles that support the working of the lower back, thus improving the overall functionality of your back.
Lie with your back to the floor, bending the knees and only heels touching the floor.
Digging the heels into the floor, squeeze your buttocks down. Now lift the hips to the shoulder level until shoulders, hips, and knees fall in a straight line. Be in this position for about six seconds. Rest for about 10 seconds once you come back to the relaxing position.
How this will help you: This exercise is highly beneficial as it helps strengthen the hamstrings, buttocks, abdomen and hips, all of which are support systems for the lower back.
Lower back twist
Lie on your back while bending your knees and feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms out to the side in a ‘T’ position.
Keeping the shoulders on the ground, gently roll both knees to one side. Stay in this position for about 30 seconds and return to the original position.
You can also place a pillow under the knees while twisting to each side if the exercise is difficult the first time.
How this will help you: This exercise helps stretch the lower back and glutes.