Lower Back Exercises
Lower back exercises when done properly can significantly reduce low back pain by activating muscles of the low back and “core.” 80% of people will experience some form of low back pain in their lifetime. Therefore, people should be doing some kind of exercise for the lower back to prevent injuries.
Please consult your physician before starting any exercise or rehabilitation program. The following exercises are not for every patient. Visit your chiropractor to have a rehab program tailored to your specific needs.
The typical person who sits most of the day will present as a mechanical low back pain case which is non-disc.
Mechanical low back pain persists when a patient uses the wrong muscles to load the joints.
- Pain is worse as the day passes
- Dull achy pain
- Difficult sit to stand
- No pain below the knee
- No central provocation
- Almost always worse in the morning
- Pain past the knee
- Worse with prolonged sitting
- Pain worse with turning
- Central provocation
Steps to beating low back pain and preventing injury:
1. Learn how to hip hinge (bend at the hip and not with the back)
2. Learn proper sit to stand (taking micro-breaks while sitting all day)
3. Advice from chiropractic physician (work station ergonomics)
4. Manipulation of “restricted” joints by a Chiropractor
5. Lower Back Rehabilitation
6. Follow the anti-inflammatory diet to reduce pain and inflammation
7. Take supplements recommended here (multi-vitamin, fish oil with omega-3 fatty acids, Magnesium, and vitamin D3)
Lower Back Exercises
The Goal is spinal mobility. Good first exercise in a rehabilitation program. Maintain slow and controlled posture. This exercise has to be pain free. Perform 10-20 reps and 2-3 sets per day.
Proper position is on all fours. Bracing the abdominals is exactly what you do when you are going to get punched in the stomach. Place hands around mid-section to check for proper activation. This is very good to train the abdominal muscles in the initial phase of the rehab program. Brace for 3-5 seconds and do 8-10 reps.
This exercise must be done first to maintain activation of the glutes before progressing to glute bridges. Feel the hamstrings and lower back to make sure the glutes are doing all the work. Simply perform by squeezing the glutes together.
Glute Max Bridges
Brace the abdominals first. Then squeeze the glutes together and bridge up. This is a very good exercise for gluteus maximus activation and is key in lower back rehabilitation. Feel the hamstrings and lower back to make sure the glutes have the most tone. If the glutes don’t have the most tone go back to glute squeezes until this occurs.
Start on knees and advance onto feet. Activation of the transverse abdominus (core muscle) contributes to low back stability. Abdominal brace first, then squeeze glutes together to raise up making sure knees, hips, and shoulders are in line. Hold the bridge for 3-5 seconds for beginners and do 10-15 reps. Advanced side bridge can be held for as long as possible for endurance.
It’s very important to brace the abdominals first. Stretch opposite arm and leg out and maintain a slow controlled motion to maintain activation of the core and glute muscles.
Body Weight Squats
This exercise must be done when the patient knows proper hip hinge procedure. Hip hinging is bending at the hips using the glutes to guide the movement. We do not want excessive bending and moving in the lumbar spine.
There are 3 planes of motion sagittal (front to back), frontal ( side to side), and transverse (diagonal movement). Every muscle and joint must be able to move in these planes of motion. So to properly train the glutes movement must occur in 3 planes of motion.
Lower back exercises must be performed under the supervision of trained health care provider. Please consult your chiropractor or physical therapist if lower back exercises are right for you.
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