Ideally, the core muscles should support the weight of our upper body, so if these areas are weak or injured, lower back pain is often a result. And it's not like our busy work schedules allow much time for a sufficient workout every day. If you're suffering from lower back pain, these simple exercises can help stretch and strengthen your abdominal muscles, glutes, thighs, and back, alleviating your lower back pain.
1.Crunches: If your spending most of your day bending and lifting, strengthening your core is essential for lower back pain relief. Try fitting in one or two sets of abdominal crunches to stabilize your core. Here's how to do a basic crunch:
- Lie on the floor or yoga mat with your back on the floor and your knees bent but feet flat on the floor.
- Cross your arms over your chest (don't interlace your fingers around the back of your neck or you will likely strain your neck).
- Keeping your arms relaxed, focus on using your core and keeping the small of your back flat on the floor (it's going to want to lift up and arch every time you do a crunch – work on keeping it flat on the floor).
- Pull your upper body off the floor so your shoulder blades are off the floor. Hold this pose for 10 seconds and then lower back to the floor. Repeat 10x for one set.
2.Single Leg Lifts: Leg lifts help target the lower abdominal muscles. Here's how to do a simple single left lift:
- Lie on the floor or yoga mat with one leg bent at the knee and the other extended straight out in front of you.
- With the small of your back firmly planted on the ground, (be sure not to let it arch) and your fingers interlaced behind your head, lift your extended leg straight up until your heel is about six inches off the floor. Hold this for 10 second, then lower down to the floor.
- Repeat 10x with each leg for one set.
3.Oblique Crunches: This exercise is great for your oblique muscles to ensure you're not just targeting your lower abs but every core muscle. It's also great for getting rid of those love handles!
- Lie down on the floor or yoga mat with your back and shoulders pressed against the floor.
- Bend both legs at the knee and turn them to one side so that one leg is pressed flat against the floor, keeping your knees together.
- Place your hands by your ears, keeping your arms relaxed, bend your core by lifting your upper body off the floor to the side your legs are leaning toward.
- Hold for 10 seconds, then lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat 10 times on each side for one set.
4.Stretch Your Glutes: The gluteus maximus is the largest of the three muscles in your buttocks. It is responsible for keeping your body upright, which means you need to keep this area toned and strong to have proper posture without lower back pain. If you do a lot of sitting or lifting, do this simple stretch:
- Using a sturdy chair or counter, stand up straight holding the chair or counter lightly, about 1-2 feet away.
- Place your right ankle on your left knee and bend at the hips so you're in a seated position.
- Bending at the hips, flatten your back and look down at the floor.
- Hold for 10 seconds and switch legs.
5.Butterfly Sitting Pose: One of the best exercises to relieve tension in the lower back is a yoga pose called the Yoga Butterfly Sitting Pose.
- Sit up straight with your legs out in front of you and your palms on the floor by your hips. From a straight leg position, feet flexed, bring your legs and feet together so the bottoms of your feet are touching and your legs form a diamond and are pretty close to your torso. Hold your feet with your hands, pressing your knees toward the floor. Don't bounce!
- Sit up tall and breath in and out for 10 seconds.
6.Lengthen Your Hamstrings: Another stretch that will help alleviate some lower back pain is a hamstring stretch. These large muscles in the back of the thigh can cramp up, causing lower back pain from frequent and extended periods of sitting. Try this stretch:
- Lay down with your back flat on the floor or on your yoga mat and both legs bent at the knees.
- Lift one leg so its perpendicular to your torso.
- With your knee still bent, loop a small towel or exercise band under the ball of your raised foot and slowly straighten your leg. You are essentially lightly pulling the ends of the towel or exercise band to strengthen your hamstring. You should feel a pull in the back of your knee up to your hamstring.Hold for 10 seconds and then switch to the other side.
7.Pilates Bridge: Pilates is great for stretching and strengthening your core as well as improving flexibility. For the bridge, follow these steps:
- Lay flat with your back on the floor. Place your hands above your head so your palms are flat on the floor. Bend your knees so your feet are planted on the floor.
- Slowly push up with your hands and legs so your head is upside-down and your back has formed an arch.
- Do NOT perform this move if you are suffering from severe lower back pain. Consult your physician first.
8.Wall Sits: Try this simple move that you can do anywhere to further strengthen your abdominal muscles, thighs and glutes:
- Stand with your back against a wall.
- Slowly lower down so your back is still against the wall and you are in a seated position.
- Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.
- Slowly raise back up.
- Repeat 5x for one set.
9.Swimming: Swimming is a great way to reduce lower back pain and strengthen your entire body. So head out to a local gym with a pool and get a half an hour of swimming in to alleviate your lower back pain!
10.Yoga: Yoga is a great way to relieve major lower back pain at the end of a long day. Try out your local yoga studio and buy a few DVDs to perform simple yoga moves at home.
Consult your primary care physician before performing any of the above exercises.
10 Simple Exercises That Ease Lower Back Pain
Natural Living Ideas