Perhaps getting out of bed is the last thing you want to do when you have back discomfort, if you want to reduce back discomfort from moving through the pain is actually the key to finding relief for the majority of back pain sufferers. Although it may seem contradictory, research shows that exercise relieves lower back pain more effectively than passive methods like medicine, bed rest, and support braces.
Improve your health and reduce back discomfort
In Part I of this series, we discussed why it’s crucial to comprehend the possible causes of back pain in order to determine the best course of treatment. We’ll now concentrate on guiding you through exercises to see which ones will reduce pain and improve the health of your back.
Your body was made to move, so it needs to be kept active to maintain excellent health. Long-term inactivity makes muscles weaker, connective tissue stiffer, and joint lubrication lessen. On the other hand, movement sustains and heals you. Your body responds to your effort by releasing feel-good chemicals and reducing tension.
Poor breathing and posture, hip tension, physical damage, age-related degeneration, sedentary lifestyle, being overweight or pregnant, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle are some of the most typical causes of back problems. The key to alleviating and preventing back pain is employing corrective exercises to mobilize and strengthen the muscles that support and move the spine because the majority of them are linked to muscular problems.
heeding your body’s signals
The mind-body connection serves as a link that enables you to become attuned to your physical state and respond to your body’s cues. Back pain can be dangerous if misunderstood or ignored, while overreacting might result in pointless tests, drugs, and operations that might delay recovery. By using your mind-body connection, you may more easily distinguish between milder sensations caused by muscle strain and joint stiffness and cautionary ones that advise you to avoid certain motions. The latter type of pain is the one we desire to endure in order to get relief.
As you practice the exercises below, mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises can help you improve your mind-body connection.
exercising correctional techniques
Here are three categories of low back pain exercises along with some sample exercises for you to attempt. When performing any activities, stop right away if your pain worsens or something feels “off.” Keep in mind to pay attention to any feelings you have.
These exercises were created by me to address the most frequent causes of back pain, but since not all cases of back pain react to the same treatment, not everyone experiences success with them. Before starting any fitness regimen, discuss the cause of your pain with your doctor to gain their consent. In Part III of our series, we will focus on sciatica and provide additional strategies for managing its nerve-related presentations, even though many of these exercises can help with low back pain symptoms associated with the sciatic nerve.
1. Breathing and postural drills
The cornerstone of all the back pain treatment and preventive regimens I utilize in professional sports is the practice of correct diaphragmatic breathing. By developing optimal breathing biomechanics, you may realign your spine, pelvis, and rib cage while strengthening your core. This is possible because your major breathing muscle, the diaphragm, is also a core and postural muscle that joins to your lumbar spine and rib cage. Additionally, deep breathing helps you recover by lowering your body’s physiological stress reaction.
Try my breathing bridge practice in addition to the 5-7-3 breathing exercise from Part I by following the instructions below or viewing this video (shown above). Read my breathing series for details on how breathing affects general health.
Bridging the breath
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart on the floor. Put your hands on your lower ribs and use a yoga block to prevent your knees from extending out. To prevent your knees from splaying out, hold a foam yoga block or rolled towel between them.
Put your hands on your lower ribs to control and observe how they expand and contract with each breath. Draw your lower ribs together as you fully exhale, engaging your core as your rib cage descends. Without taking a breath in, tuck your tailbone at the end of that exhalation to flatten your low back and lift your hips 3 to 4 inches off the ground.
Take five long, deep breaths while maintaining the bridge position, paying attention to appropriate rib movement, especially on the exhale. Hold this position while engaging your glutes and core to prevent your low back from arching. When breathing, try to keep your ribcage from rising; your jaw, neck, and shoulders shouldn’t be stressed or tense. Keep your hips and back on the floor as you practice your breaths if you feel any cautionary pain when lifting your hips into the bridge.
Ten breaths total throughout two sets of practice.
2. Exercises for hip and pelvis mobility
Your low back’s lumbar vertebrae are meant to be stable and are not intended to twist. The hips have ball-and-socket joints that allow for 360-degree rotation. Unfortunately, you put strain on your low back if your hips are restricted or your pelvis can’t move easily. By achieving a healthy balance of hip and pelvic mobility and lumbar stability, it’s crucial to avoid that pressure. For improved hip and pelvic mobility, it is important to start with the hip flexors. For my three-direction hip flexor release, watch this video.
3. Midback rotation exercises
Your thoracic spine, located in the middle of your back, is intended to allow for rotation; however, when it doesn’t rotate well, your low back is forced to take over. Exercises that rotate the midback are beneficial for reducing low back pressure and promoting healthy spinal motion.
This double bent-knee twist supports healthy rotation from the center of your back while maintaining your low back stable through breathing and appropriate rib movement. Keep these recommendations in mind when attempting any form of midback twisting exercise.
Twisting one’s knees twice
Your knees should be 90 degrees bent and positioned out in front of your hips while you lay on your right side. For a neutral neck, place a pad or pillow beneath your head. Put a pillow or yoga block between your knees. Be sure to stack your hips, knees, and shoulders.
With your palms pressed together and your hands resting on the floor, extend both arms straight out in front of you in front of your shoulders. Breathe in as you extend your left arm to the left, maintaining your lower body stationary on the right and your knees and hips stacked. This is crucial to maintaining the stability of your low back.
Twist from your mid-back rather than your low-back. To hold your left leg in position, place your right hand on the outside of it. To further rotate your rib cage and thoracic spine into the twist, exhale while concentrating on pulling your lower ribs inward on the right side of your rib cage. Hold the position for another four breaths, using the ribcage’s movement during exhalations to direct your attention. After that, let go and restart.
From the left, repeat. Choose a workout from one of these three categories after trying them all, and then perform it every day for at least two weeks. Look for the next article in this series for methods to treat your nerve pain if sciatica is a component of your low back pain. Referring to the fourth article in the series can help you build a proactive maintenance schedule once your back health starts to improve and keep you pain-free.