Our lower back frequently activates to support us through most compound movements, so when we experience pain and discomfort in this area, it can create a daily challenge. Unfortunately, lower back pain is a very common issue that can affect anyone, stemming from poor posture, awkward sleeping positions, pregnancy, overly strenuous activity and other stressors.
But whilst many people will encounter pain in their lower back, not all these instances need to become a recurring or persistent problem. With ongoing research and studies, treating lower back pain is becoming increasingly more effective and safer when guided by a professional physiotherapist.
In this article, the experts at BodyMotion Physiotherapy offer five exercises you can try for lower back pain relief.
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
Ongoing lower back pain is also referred to as chronic back pain or sciatica. It is a musculoskeletal condition affecting nearly 16% of all Australians.
Our backs are built for strength and agility to provide core support during movement. There are five primary bones, with a disc in between each to absorb shock. An intricate network of ligaments is also present to connect and encase these bones alongside layers of muscles, producing further structural support. With so many different components involved, lower back pain causes can stem from a variety of issues.
The discs are often associated with lower back pain problems, but in most instances, it’s not a singular body part that’s the driver of pain. When your physiotherapist works with you to understand contributing factors to your situation – such as your lifestyle and medical history – they can offer a treatment plan to relieve the core issues.
5 Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Physiotherapy for lower back pain can treat the issue as it arises and help patients find ways to relieve pain quickly. While it might be tempting to simply rest, avoiding movement is actually problematic for recovery as it increases muscle tension, guarding and stiffness which can cause the pain to persist. Reducing muscle tension and stiffness can be done through targeted exercises instead, keeping your lower back mobile and active to promote recovery.
These exercises target different areas, working to improve:
- Flexibility (muscular flexibility and spinal mobility)
- Muscle strength
- Restoring normal movement control
Exercises & treatment must be tailored to your specific needs to improve the areas of need without risking further damage. While it is essential to engage a physiotherapist to help you recover, here are some common physiotherapy exercises for lower back pain:
1. Back extensions
If you’ve ever been to yoga, your instructor may have referred to back extensions as a ‘cobra stretch’. They’re a versatile exercise perfect for isolating your lower back and stretching the whole system. Perform the exercise by lying on your stomach, keeping your toes on the floor, lifting your chest off the ground, and keeping your arms extended like the up position of a push-up.
2. Child’s pose
This is another common yoga pose ideal for stretching your back muscles and gently encouraging further mobility. Start the pose on all fours and push your hips down to your heels, keeping your upper body extended and your face pushing towards the ground.
3. Bird-dog pose
This is an excellent, well-rounded exercise, improving coordination, balance and mobility and building your core strength which aids overall recovery. Begin on all fours and simultaneously raise your left arm and right leg in a controlled and slow motion. Move your raised limbs back to the ground and switch sides. Be careful not to arch your back.
4. Bridge pose
The bridge pose is a staple back stretch used to mobilise the spine, enhance movement control and strengthen core muscles. Start by lying on your back with your knees belt and tuck your tailbone in by tilting your pelvis backwards. Continue this movement upwards, lifting the lower back into the air until you’re only resting on your shoulders and feet and then reverse the movement back down.
This is an excellent stretch for improving mobility in your lower back while stretching the muscles in your back and hips, and it also feels great. Lie facing up on the floor, bending your knees, and bringing them into your chest. Once you’re hugging your knees, you can hold this position or gently move around in small circles before bringing your legs back down.
These are simple and practical exercises to help with lower back pain. To find proper treatment and implement these exercises into a comprehensive plan for your recovery, contact us or book an appointment at BodyMotion Physiotherapy today.