How To Improve Low-Back Pain
January 28, 2021
January 28, 2021
Let’s be honest, if you’ve got lower back pain, you’re probably missing out on a lot of fun in life. Fortunately, here are a few simple tricks you can do at home, without any equipment, to improve, and hopefully, eliminate your low-back pain.
DISCLAIMER: Before following any advice given here, please refer out to a doctor or other medical professional.
What Causes Low-Back Pain?
Aggravation of the low-back usually occurs due to improper alignment, or if our mobility has been disrupted. Usually misalignment is caused by a previous injury, or by improper repetitive movement over time. As many of you know, it takes only one vertebra to be out of alignment to experience pain.
Discomfort also occurs if two or more vertebrae are stuck together. Consider that each vertebra has 4 joints/facets that are held together with tiny ligaments. That’s 20 joints that can be sprained or fixated potentially leading to aches and pains!
3 Tips to Reduce or Eliminate Low-Back Pain
You can resolve low-back pain at home by taking the proper steps. First, you’ll want to reduce any inflammation, if possible. This is beneficial to remedy joints, nerves, and soft tissue that are irritated, raw, and swollen, causing discomfort and/or aggravation. In particular, your doctor or chiropractor may recommend oral anti-inflammatory medication, applying ice and/or stretching.
Here are 3 tips that you can do in the comfort of your own home to try and remedy that pesky low-back pain!
Tip #1 – Your Low-back Wake-up Call
How you start your morning contributes to the flow of the rest of your day. Your initial actions when you wake up prepare your body for sitting, standing and moving about your day.
Here’s an example of how to stretch your low-back before you even get out of bed each morning:
- Lying on your back with legs bent, gently pull one knee toward your chest
- Relax your low-back muscles while holding this position for 3-5 seconds, or longer if desired.
- Slowly switch legs.
- Now, do the same thing, but bring both knees toward your chest.
- Repeat 5-10 times to wiggle free from stiffness
Tip #2 – Your Core is Key to Resolve Low-back Pain
Strengthening your back is obviously important, but it’s just as important to strengthen your entire core. All the muscles extending from your head to your pelvis deep within your trunk provide support for your spine.
Exercises to aid with low-back pain are those that provide simple, low-impact movement of the whole body. The more you move, the more your lymph and circulatory systems flow. This increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the joints keeping them healthy and removes waste products from your body.
Examples of Exercises for Mobility:
Specific Exercises for Building Core Strength:
- Pelvic tilts to create movement in the pelvis.
- Partial abdominal crunches lifting the head and shoulder blades off the mat.
- Crisscross, also referred to as Bicycles to strengthen the obliques
Give the core a hand by strengthening the glutes, quads and hamstrings with these exercises:
- Glute bridges to activate the glutes & hamstrings.
- Walking lunges
- Single leg deadlift
- Elevated split squat
On the other hand, if lying on your back to exercise is not comfortable, then perhaps getting down on all fours for:
- Planks, either low planks on your forearms or high planks with arms extended
Many exercises are beneficial and improve low-back pain but only if they are performed properly. Please be mindful when involved in the following to make sure your form is correct. If an exercise is too difficult to hold proper form, then modify the exercise appropriately.
Here are some exercises & behaviors you may want to be cautious of when dealing with low-back pain:
I know this may sound contradictory since I mentioned planks as a beneficial strengthening exercise above, however, ensure that you have proper plank form. To do this, align your body in a straight line from your head to your toes. If your low back sags or if you experience pain, try planks on your knees, elevated on a bench/chair or against a wall.
Although prone positions are beneficial for building core muscles, please use caution. Prone positions, such as Superman, can compress the spine by lifting your upper body and lower body too high off the floor. Instead, focus on making your body as long as possible by reaching with your fingertips and toes or lift only the upper body or lower body independently.
Exercises that pull on the low-back such as, trying to pick something up off the floor without bending your knees. This movement can strain your low-back, especially if you cannot comfortably touch your toes with straight legs and/or if your hamstrings are tight. In other words, the low-back tries to provide the slack necessary to bend farther and could increase the chance of injury.
Quick twisting movements
Remind yourself to engage your core to support the low-back before slowly rotating the torso.
Contact or high-impact sports
Even though these sports may be fun, there is a risk of injury to your low-back if your core is weak. Low-impact exercises where there is always a grounded body part (whether it be a hand, foot or even a behind) can build muscle for more strenuous activities.
Heavy lifting that compresses the spine
Lifting heavy weight can increase the chance of low-back injury, even with proper precautions. In fact, it is possible to build muscle using body weight or light weight exercises.
Tip #3 – Strike a Pose to Relieve low-back pain
Posture! Posture! Posture!
Be mindful of your posture whether sitting, standing or lying down by:
- Engaging the core to support the low-back
- Aligning your head with your spine by lengthening through the back of the neck and pulling your chin back so your ears are over your shoulders
- Slightly pulling your shoulders back and shoulder blades together
- Using lumbar support when needed
Granted, nobody enjoys a moment of “Ouch! My back!”, as it impacts our enjoyment of life. Starting with the wake-up call exercise above and following through with these simple tips will help improve your low-back pain by keeping your joints mobile and your core strong.
If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it with someone suffering from low-back pain.