As part of our ongoing series of blogs focussing on back care week (7th -11th October) we thought it might be helpful to give you an idea of a few basic and gentle exercises for back pain. They are suitable to use for prevention and to help relieve your symptoms.
(Please be aware that these are very general exercises for back pain and may not be suitable for everyone. Seeking the advice of a health care professional, such as your Osteopath, is always advisable before beginning any exercises for back pain. Should you experience pain or discomfort during the exercises (a gentle stretching sensation is ok) then come out of the stretch gently and get into a comfortable position. Seek medical/Osteopathic advice should the discomfort persist).
Back Pain Exercises – Knee Hugs
N.B. These can be done one leg at a time or both together depending on your level of discomfort. Legs are heavy so be careful if drawing both knees in at the same time. Do this stretch slowly and in a controlled fashion, do not bounce or pulse with the knees.
Draw the knee(s) in towards your chest, as far as is comfortable. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Release the stretch a little by straightening your arms, but don’t come out of the stretch completely.
Repeat 5 times.
Back Pain Exercises – Pelvic Tilts
Lie on your back. Place a small, flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your knees and keep your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.
Slowly flatten your low back into the floor and use your stomach muscles to pull your belly button down towards your spine. Then tuck your bottom under, as if gently pushing your lower back flatter into the floor. Gently return to the start position and then tilt your pelvis backwards, as if arching your back gently. Return to the starting position.
Repeat 10 to 15 times, tilting your pelvis back and forth in a slow rocking motion.
Back Pain Exercises – Child’s Pose
Begin by kneeling on all fours, legs hip width apart and arms shoulder width apart. Keep your neck long and don’t fully straighten (lock out) your elbows, keep a soft bend in them. Then slowly move your bottom backwards towards you heels. Only go as far as feel comfortable and if you have knee problems don’t sit all the way back onto your heels. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and take a couple of deep breaths. Relax into it.
Repeat 8 to 10 times.
Back Pain Exercises – Thoracic Rotations
When performing exercises for lower back pain it is often helpful to stretch your thoracic spine too.
Many people don’t realise that having a stiff thoracic spine (the part between your shoulder blades) can mean that you over use and strain your lower back. The root cause of the lower back pain can lie in the thoracic spine. This is especially important for office workers and those with sedentary jobs and can even be performed at your desk.
Sit with your bottom at the back of the chair and your feet flat on the floor. Imagine there is a pole through from the top of your head down your spine to your bottom – you can only rotate around the pole, you can’t lean to the side or lean backwards as you perform this stretch.
Twist around, as if looking over your shoulder and hold onto the back of the chair. Hold for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat to the opposite side.
Repeat 5 times each side.
Read our previous blog on core stability and learn to engage your deep abdominal muscles to protect and strengthen your spine.
Back Pain Exercises