Nowadays, millions of people complain about back pain. Lower back pain becomes the leading cause of morbidity and workplace absenteeism in people younger than 40. Our lower back bears the weight of our whole upper body and numerous exposures to stress and frequent movements.
Chronic back pain hinders many daily activities and causes a lot of discomfort. Anyone can experience lower back pain due to numerous reasons. Generally, the lower back pain is not severe and relieves with simple rest and medication. Sometimes, it is a symptom of many back ailments. The following are some common causes of lower back pain:
- Strain to the lower back muscles or tendons while lifting weight from the floor
- Wear and tear of the lower back vertebral disc with age
- Overweight people have higher chances of getting back pain
- Occupational hazards
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Sitting all-day
- Strenuous workout
- Developmental and structural abnormality, such as scoliosis
- Herniated or ruptured vertebral discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Injury in the lower back and fractured vertebrae
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Inflammation of the spinal joints
- Osteoporosis of the vertebrae
- Other medical conditions can cause pain in the lower back, such as kidney infections, renal stones, endometriosis, pregnancy, prostate diseases, and reproductive organ conditions.
Exercises and stretches for lower back pain
People suffer from lower back pain due to continuous standing or sitting posture. You can feel much better after some time of rest or over-the-counter pain reliever medicines. But, if you are still not relieved, the following stretches and exercises may help you:
- Forward flexion stretching
This lumber flexion stretch helps relieve lower back pain and herniated disc. This exercise is an effective method to improve lumber mobility. We can perform forward flexion exercises while sitting on a chair or lying down.
To perform this exercise while seated, sit straight on the chair with feet on the ground separated at shoulder width. Lean forward with a straight back and reach your hands down toward the floor. Maintain this pose for at least 3-5 seconds and then return to the starting position.
While performing this exercise, if you feel worsening pain or develop new pain, immediately stop the exercise and talk to your doctor.
- Abdominal bracing
In abdominal bracing exercises, you have to contract your abdominal muscles toward the spine while sitting straight. Hold this position for a few seconds and relax. Repeat this exercise at least ten times for effectiveness.
The abdominal bracing exercise protects spinal stability from damage due to sudden movement. It improves lower back pain to a great extent.
- Seated march with abdominal bracing
It is a variant of abdominal bracing. In this exercise, first, sit straight, brace your abdomen, and bend your knees. After that, you should pick one bent leg up off the floor and lower it back down. Repeat this with the other leg. Redo this exercise at least 30 times to improve lower back pain.
- Standing lumbar extensions
To practice this exercise, you should stand straight and place your hand on your hips. While maintaining this posture, you have to lean back as much as possible as you can do without facing too much discomfort and return to an upright position. Repeat this exercise at least ten times in one go. Ensure your knees don’t bend while performing this exercise.
Numerous people experience rapid relief from back pain and spinal nerve pressure from standing lumbar extension exercises. It also prevents the development and progression the lower back pain.
- Chair-edge hamstring stretching
To perform this exercise, sit at the edge of a chair with one leg bent and bring the other leg straight forward with the heel rested on the ground and toes pointed toward the ceiling. Now with a straight back, bend forward till you feel a light stretch from thigh to upper back. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds and repeat the same with the other leg.
Stretching the hamstring muscles helps relieve sciatic nerve pressure and improves lower back pain.
You can perform this exercise while standing, lying, or sitting on a chair.
- Seated knee to opposite shoulder exercise
In this exercise, sit straight in a chair with your feet on the ground. Place one leg over the other with the bent leg’s ankle resting on the opposite thigh. After that, pull your bent leg’s knee towards the opposite shoulder and hold this position for a few seconds. Repeat this for the other side.
Practicing this exercise stretches back muscles, relieves spinal nerve pressure, improves spine flexibility, and eases lower back pain.
With these simple stretches and exercises, you feel much better with your lower back pain. But, if you experience pain while performing exercises, talk to your doctor for needful.
Dr. V. A. Senthil Kumar | HOD & Senior Consultant – Orthopaedics, Spine Surgery and Arthroscopy | Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi