6 Exercises to Relieve Low Back Pain

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6 Exercises to Relieve Low Back Pain

In the first post of our physiotherapy blog, we dive into some simple exercises that strengthen and provide mobility to alleviate low back pain.

A lot of people are spending more time at home working, and doing all sorts of things. With that comes a surge in a common problem we’ve all experienced, lower back pain. A sweet dual monitor setup is great and all, but it’s important to make sure your work area is setup right for your body too.  But wait, what if it’s too late and you’ve been working from your sofa bed the last few months?

The key is strengthening the areas around your lower back to provide stability and create mobility within the spine. The areas we want to focus on strengthening are the glutes, hamstrings and core. Overall, we want to work on mobility of the thoracic spine. Here’s a few exercises that can be easily incorporated at home to help relieve low back pain. 

Glute Bridge

Glute bridges help to strengthen the hamstrings and the gluteal muscles. Focus more on contracting the glutes first. 

How to perform the movement:

  • Start by laying on the ground with knees bent and arms out to the side.
  • Raise the hips towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes.
  • There’s an option to hold for 1 second at the top, or slowly lower back down.
  • Repeat 10-12 times.
  • Important: If you feel pain in your lower back, tilt the pelvis towards the floor.

 

Supine posterior pelvic tilt  

This exercise initiates core strength through a controlled movement, and pelvic stability is extremely important for maintaining a strong core.

How to perform the movement:

  • Start by laying on the ground with your knees bent.
  • Tilt your hips towards the ground (posteriorly) by tucking in your tailbone (think about pushing your low back into the ground).
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds while maintaining normal breathing, then relax

Option to add toe taps:

  • This modification adds a bit of a challenge to the core contraction. 
  • While maintaining the pelvic tilt, lift one leg off the ground, and then slowly put lower it again. 
  • Then perform the same movement with your other leg. 
  • Make sure to maintain core stability when adding this movement – if it feels like your lower back is coming off the floor, stick to the posterior pelvic tilt only, or lift your leg only slightly off the ground.

Bird Dog

This exercise challenges you to maintain a stable core while initiating glute contraction.

How to perform the movement:

  • Start on hands and knees, pulling belly button to spine and ribs in. 
  • Slowly lift opposite arm and leg towards the ceiling by contracting the glutes and upper back muscles. 
  • Again, only continue through the movement while feeling like you have control of your core. 
  • Try to keep your hips parallel to the ground. 
  • Then, slowly release down towards the ground, and repeat on the other side. 
  • Repeat 6-8 times per side. 

Lunge with pelvic tilt 

There’s a recurring theme here; keep pelvic control! We are now working towards incorporating the pelvic tilt into another exercise utilizing the lower body.

How to perform the movement:

  • Start in a standing position, and take a large step back with one leg. Then, come up onto the ball of the back foot
  • Contract the glutes, focusing on the glute of the leg that stepped back. 
  • You’ll notice that your pelvis automatically tucks under, moving into the posterior tilt position.
  • Slowly drop your back knee towards the ground, and hold for 1 second at the bottom, then, come back up. 
  • Repeat 8-10 times on one side, and then switch and repeat with the other leg back. 

Single leg Romanian Deadlift 

This exercise is focused more on strengthening the glutes and hamstrings while maintaining balance.

How to perform the movement:

  • Start by putting all your weight on one leg, with a slight bent knee. 
  • Keep your hips square to the ground, with the shoulders, hips and ankle aligned in a straight line. Then, hinge forward slowly. 
  • Hinge forward up to 90 degrees, or until you feel like you can maintain balance. Slowly hinge back to standing.
  • Repeat 6-8 times on the same leg, and then switch sides. 
  • If maintaining single leg balance is too much of a challenge, place the back foot on the ground, and hinge the upper body forward.

Thoracic arm opener 

This exercise is to promote thoracic mobility, and there are many ways to do this, with this is being one of our favorite versions.

How to perform the movement:

  • Start by lying on your side, hips stacked on top of each other and arms outstretched in front of you. 
  • With a straight arm, move your arm over your body to the other side, while keeping your hips fixed in the same position. 
  • Repeat 10-12 times each side. 

 

Hopefully you find these six exercises helpful in alleviating some of that nagging pain. If you haven’t already noticed yet, The Physio Shop specializes in evidence-based physiotherapy and massage therapy in a sweet commercial drive clinic, with a friendly barbershop feel. Plus, we do virtual sessions too, because 2020 right? If you’re dealing with nagging aches and pains, schedule a session with our finest Physiotherapists or Massage Therapists today. Or stop by and say hello to Sophie, that works too.

 

 

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