Can Exercises Ease Lower Back Pain?
Low back pain is a common cause to lead to disability. Chronic low back pain results in a great burden on the medical system and a huge amount of medical costs. At the same time, lower productivity from low back pain workers causes billion of economic losses. Disabled workers face financial issues due to their incapacity to work.
People who suffer from sub-acute, recurrent, chronic low back pain are willing to do something themselves to ease the pain. Exercises that they can do at home can improve low back pain or not.
How Does A General Exercise Programme Improve Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain?
An exercise programme is divided into three parts: muscle strengthening, flexibility and aerobic exercise. People with non-specific chronic low back pain (NSCLBP) may be beneficial from doing this general exercise programme. However, increasing physical activity is not effective to improve acute low back pain. Exercise may even worsen acute low back pain.
Core Muscle Strength
The improvement of core strength is vital to alleviate NSCLBP. Lumbar instability can result from weak core muscular strength. Lumbar instability also reduces lumbar flexibility. In order to reduce pain, low back pain patients always try to limit upper body movement.
However, this will further worsen both lumbar flexibility and instability and form a vicious cycle. The engaged deep core muscles can stabilise the lumbar spine to reduce low back pain. The hydrostatic pressure exists in the thorax and abdomen to hold the spine straight.
Strong abdominal muscles are important to regulate the hydrostatic pressure. Sufficient hydrostatic pressure is the key to avoiding spinal injuries when all lifting and bending movements.
Flexibility And Aerobic Exercise
Exercises increase the flexibility of tendons and ligaments in the back muscles. It directly improves low back pain patients’ range of motion. General aerobic exercise can increase the blood flow that brings nutrients and oxygen to the damage tissues. At the same time, it initials the healing process and reduces the back stiffness.
Stretching And Strengthening Exercises For Lower Back Pain
Find yourself enough space to stretch your arms and legs. Put a yoga mat on the floor.
- Put hands and knees on the floor. Hands and knees are about shoulder and hip width apart. Hold tight the abdominals.
- Raise one arm in front of you and extend the opposite leg behind you. Your stretch arm, back and leg should be in a straight line.
- Hold this position for a few seconds and return to the starting position.
- Repeat the same movement to the other side.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles at all times
- When you feel and you are stable enough. You don’t need any extra movements of the hips during the weight shift.
- On step 3, you can take your elbow into the knee to get more challenge.
- Target at least 5 reps on each side, 10 reps for both.
Pelvic Tilt Exercise
Pelvic tilt is a simple exercise can relax the tight back muscles and make back muscles more flexible.
- Lie flat on the ground and keep knees bent and feet flat.
- Pelvic rock anterior and push the tummy out. You should feel a gentle stretch.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Flatten the low back to reduce the gap between your back and the floor. Press your back muscles into the floor.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Aim for at least 10 reps daily.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
Shoulder blade squeeze is for strengthening the middle back muscles including rhomboids and middle trapezius. It can stretch the chest muscles while improving your posture.
- Stand shoulder-width apart.
- Hold an elastic band with your palms down in front of you.
- Adjust the tension of the band and start with slight tension.
- Pull the band out to the sides and squeeze your shoulder blades toward the spine. You will gently pull off your chest muscles.
- Keep your arm and upper body straight. Engage your core muscles throughout the whole exercise.
- Slowly release the band and return to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times.
The Hurdler Hamstring Stretch
The hurdler hamstring stretch can improve the lower limb and low back flexibility and get pain relief for the low back.
- Sit on the floor with legs straight and toes facing up.
- Bend the other leg and that foot against the opposite thigh.
- Extend both arms to reach the toes with the straight leg by bending the lower back as far as possible. The comfortable stretch is felt.
- Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds and relax.
- Switch to the other side.
This pain exercise guide can be used to improve patients with NSCLBP. Regularly stretching and doing exercises can also prevent recurrent low back pain. People with acute low back pain or other types of low back pain should seek for professional medical advice. Our chiropractors and massage therapists at Kings Park Chiropractic Clinic can help you with any unresolved chronic pain.