Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal problem I see in my osteopathic practice. Sometimes the pain travels into the buttocks, thigh or leg. There are many causes of low back pain including digestive, mechanical, nervous, posture, psychosomatic, disc hernia, and traumatic. Whatever the cause of your lower back pain I find exercises are an effective way for you to manage your symptoms. In this blog I outline the types of lower back pain, it’s importance to the body and the three most common lower back exercises I give to my clients.
Types of lower back pain
There are three different types of lower back pain:
- Sharp pain or lumbago: the pain appeared less than one month
- Subacute pain: between one and three months
- Chronic pain: more than three months
The importance of your lower back
Your lower back is an important area for your body; it is the link between your upper and lower body. Your lower back is a composed of 5 vertebrae. Ligaments connect bone to bone, whereas tendons connect muscles to bone. Some nerves also emerge from your lower spine and innervate your digestive system.
Lower back pain exercises
Below are three lower back pain exercises I regularly give to my client.
Exercise 1: The cat – cow stretch
Begin on all fours with your hands in line with your shoulders and your hips in line with your knees.
Contract abdominal muscles, flex your head (bend your head forward) and round your back. Come back to a neutral position, relax and keep breathing normally.
Relax your abdominals, extend your head and hollow your back. Maintain each position for 5 seconds each position. Repeat five times.
Exercise 2: Stretching of the psoas muscle
Lie down on your back (on your couch or your bed), and let your right leg hang off the side of the bed/couch. Hold your left leg with your hands against your chest. And let your right leg going down. MAKE SURE YOUR SHOULDERS STAY ON YOUR BED/COUCH. You may feel a tightening in your groin (right side). Maintain the position for 30 seconds. Relax. Pull both your legs together into your chest. Do the same exercise again with your left leg (also maintain for 30 seconds). Repeat this stretch three times on each side.
Exercise 3: Stretching the piriformis muscle
Very often these muscles are very tight and close to the sciatic nerve, so could explain a part of your symptoms if you have sciatica.
Lie down on the floor. Put a pillow under your head. Bend both of your legs. Cross your right leg over your left leg with your right ankle just above your left knee. Hold the back of your left thigh or knee with your hands. And try to bring your left knee to touch your chest.
MAKE SURE YOUR SHOULDERS STAY ON THE FLOOR.
You may feel a stretching in your right butt.
Maintain the position 30 seconds. Relax and do it again with your left leg crossing your right leg (also maintain the position 30 sec). Do this stretch three times each side.
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