Low back pain strikes up to 70% of the first world population (1). The pain may stem from inflammation, spinal misalignment or muscular imbalances. Our lack of mobility and discomfort threatens our ability to work, our happiness and our quality of life.
Exercise can be especially intimidating if you suffer from back pain. You may hide from physical activity to avoid the pain and fear of injuring yourself further. This simple to follow fitness program was created to help you get rid of your back pain. It takes the frustration and guess work out of planning your own pain eliminating program and gives you’re the whys and how’s behind each exercise. Before you begin, get your doctor or chiropractor’s go ahead.
|Eliminate Low back pain Strength Program (2-3 times a week)
|Table Top with arm and leg extension.||2-3||8-12|
|Eliminate Low Back Pain Stretch Program (everyday)
|Hip flexor stretch||3||10 sec|
|Hamstring stretch||3||10 sec|
The Why and How for each exercise:
Clam shell: the clam strengthens and tones the deepest portion of your back muscles known as the
multifidus. It also tones your legs and keeps your deepest core muscles tight, reducing low back pain.
Lie on your side with your hips in alignment with your spine.
Elongate your neck and spine. Notice a natural space in between your side and the floor.
Bend your knees so that your thighs are at a 90 degree angle.
Place your top hand on the floor in front of your chest for stability.
Place your feet on top of each other and knees together. Slowly lift your top knee up.
Toes stay together acting as the hinge for the movement. Pay special attention to your hips.
Open the top knee only as far as you feel comfortable while keeping your hips in alignment.
Slowly bring your knee back to the start position.
Cobra: cobra works your lower traps. These muscles tend to get lazy over time. Instead we ask our low back to work and deactivate our low traps. By doing the cobra we’re awakening these much needed muscles and reducing the load our low back takes on a daily basis.
Lie face down on the floor with your palms under your shoulders.
Look forward to keep your neck and head in alignment with your spine.
Slowly lift your head off of the floor. Follow with your chest. Squeeze your
shoulder blades together and slide them down your back. Hold for 2 seconds and then lower back down. Your legs and bottom are relaxed and loose. The tension comes from your mid back.
Row: works upper back muscles. These upper back muscles known as the rhomboids are exceptionally important because we stretch them out and make them weak while performing daily activities such as driving or sitting at a desk. This creates a slouched posture which increases the demands on our low back. By learning how to roll our shoulders back and strengthening these muscles we are reducing the stress on our low back.
Hold one light weight in each hand (if you don’t have light weights don’t
use any weight at all. This will still work).
Tip from the hips. Keep your head in alignment with your spine.
Slide your elbows along your sides and squeeze your shoulder blades back. Hold for 2 seconds.
Straighten your arms towards the ground. Feel how your shoulder blades move away from the mid portion of your back.
Table Top with arm and leg extension: This exercise creates stability
In the muscles around the Spine as well as the shoulder helping your back to work
efficiently and avoid fatigue.
Begin in a table position. Hands underneath your shoulders and knees aligned with hips.
Gently elevate your arm. At the same time glide the opposite leg back. Hold the position for 2 seconds and then bring your arm and leg back down. Do all of your repetitions on one side before going to the other.
Hip flexors stretch: the hip flexors, otherwise known as the iliopsoas, are an interesting set of muscles. Although they are placed on the front of our thigh, they cross over and attach to our low back. When your hip flexors get tight from sitting at a desk, driving or lying around, we are indirectly causing tightness in our low back.
Kneel with one leg in front in a 90 degree position and your back thigh touching the floor ( the top part directly above the knee cap), or place a pillow just above your knee cap to give your knee extra protection.
Seated hamstring stretch: This stretch is designed to relieve low back
pain by alleviating the pressure tight hamstrings cause on your low back.
Sit with both legs forward and back straight.
take a deep inhale. As you exhale tip from the hips and place and reach your hands forward.
In order to target your hamstrings keep your upper back straight. Hold.
After two weeks you’ll start to notice the difference. For added enjoyment do your exercises first thing in the morning. Your back will feel limber and you’ll be ready to enjoy the rest of your day.
Photos courtesy of:
Cover Image courtesy of: photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Clam: Sue Croft Physiotherapist and author of “Pelvic Floor Recovery – A Physiotherapy Guide for Gynaecological Repair Surgery” www.pelvicfloorrecovery.com
Table Top with Arm Extension: Fitness Magazine: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/abs/exercises/top-10-abs-exercises/
Seated hamstring stretch: http://www.wikihow.com/Assume-the-Seated-Forward-Bend-Pose-in-Yoga
1. Durstine, L., Moore, G. E., Patricia , P. L., & Roberts, S. O. (2009). Lower back pain syndrom. In M. J. Simmonds, & T. Derghazarian, ACSM’s Exercise management for persons with chronic diseases and disabilities. third edition (pp. 266-269). Human kinetics.
Disclaimer: Consult a physician before starting any exercise program. If you choose to do this or any workout without consulting your physician, you are doing so at your own risk. We claim no responsibility for any injuries you might sustain. It is your responsibility to warm up properly and cool down after your workout. Do not attempt any exercise you are not capable of performing. Stay within your fitness level