7 Exercises to Alleviate & Prevent Back Pain

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Most of us are at home more right now during this time. This may mean sitting more with poor posture and possibly moving less with not as many places to go. This can lead to lower back pain. As an antidote, it’s important to be aware of strengthening muscles to improve posture, flexibility and blood flow. When we exercise, we increase blood flow which reduces stiffness and speeds up the healing process. Here are 7 things you can do at home to alleviate and prevent lower back pain: 

  1. Bridges work the gluteus maximus. It is important to keep this muscle strong to help support the lower back. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor and hip width apart. Press your hands and feet into the ground and roll up slowly, one vertebrae at a time until you are as high as you can lift and your buttocks is completely off the floor. Hold and squeeze the butttocks for 2-3 seconds and then lower very slowly. Roll back all the way to the starting position. Without stopping, begin rolling up again very slowly and repeat. Aim for 10 slow and controlled repetitions.  
  1. Static Hip Abduction. This exercise works the gluteus medius. Keeping this muscle strong helps maintain balance and can affect mobility. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place a strap or belt around your legs, six inches above your knees. Lock the strap so you are not able to move it – legs should be locked in a V position. Push into the belt or strap, attempting to move your legs out wider for one minute and 30 seconds and then release. You should not be able to actually move the legs wider during the position. It is important to use constant, full effort to try and move the legs wider for the entire one minute and 30 seconds. 
  1. Supermans. This exercise strengthens the back extensors which run along either side of the spine and helps maintain good posture. Lie face down on the ground and stretch both arms out in front of the body, with the legs and tops of your feet on the floor. Raise both hands and feet off of the floor about six inches. Contract your core muscles, stretch your arms and legs out as far as you can and squeeze for 2 seconds. Raise to the contraction point and lower back to the starting point slowly and with control. Do not rest once you complete one repetition. Begin your next repetition slowly. Aim for 10 repetitions. 
  1. Plank strengthens your spine, rhomboids, trapezius and your abdominal muscles… basically, the whole body. Begin lying face down on the floor. Keep feet together and come up on your toes and forearms. Pull up your abdominal muscles toward your back and contract your glutes. Start holding for 30 seconds and work up to 2 minutes. Keep tension out of shoulders and neck by engaging the core muscles. Hold it to the point of fatigue. 
  1. Seated lower back rotational stretches work the core muscles and strengthen the low back. Sit in a stool or chair without arms and place feet flat on the floor. Position your hands clasped, behind your head and twist to the right. Contract your core muscles and hold for 2-3 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times and then switch to rotate to the left side. **It is important to keep your hips square and your spine tall.    
  1. Knee-to-chest stretches. This helps to elongate the lower back and relieve tension and pain. Lie on your back and place both feet flat on the floor. Use both hands to pull one knee in toward the chest and hold for 5 to 60 seconds. See if you can breathe and hold it until you start to feel some release in the muscles. Switch to the opposite side and repeat.
  1. Cat stretches. This can help lengthen the back muscles, strengthen and ease tension. Place your hands and knees on the floor with your knees hip-width apart. Begin to arch your back and briefly pause. Then move in the opposite direction and pull your bellybutton up towards the spine with your back in a rounded position. Repeat about 10 times. This should be a gentle movement and feel good. 

These exercises will help you prevent injuries, increase stability and improve flexibility. Additionally, pay attention to how you carry heavy objects to identify movements which may be causing any pain you have. As always, if you feel any pain stop immediately. Move slowly and with control. If you need more guidance, please feel free to reach out to our expert instructors.