Having trouble getting out of bed in the morning? Lower back hurts while walking or running? You may be suffering from acute lower back pain. The lumbar region of the spine is responsible for all bending and twisting motions of the upper trunk, as well as supporting the spinal column and rotating the hips while walking. The nerves that run down the lower back also supply the pelvis, legs and feet, providing movement and sensation to the area. Due to the extensive number of functions this area supports, even the mildest of pain can cause severe discomfort.
There are many causes of lower back pain, but most acute pain typically stems from muscle strains / ligament sprains. Muscle strains and ligament sprains can occur as a result of fatigue, overuse or improper use of the muscles. The following 5 exercises can help alleviate lower back pain and get you moving pain free again.
#1 Back Flexion Stretch
- Lie flat on back with legs fully extended
- Tuck knees in towards chest and use hands to hold knees in place
- Lift your head off of the mat until a stretch is felt along the mid/lower back
- Hold for 20-30 seconds before releasing
#2 Cat/Cow Stretch
- Starting on our hands and knees, making sure the shoulder is above the hands and hips are above the knees
- Inhale and extend the chest up, while dropping your bellybutton towards the floor. Imagine if you had a tail, extending your tail upwards like a happy puppy.
- Hold for a brief moment before exhaling and rounding the back leading with the tail bone, simultaneously tuck your chin in towards the chest
- Repeat for 15-20 repetitions
#3 Trunk Twist
- Lie flat on your back with both legs extended
- Bring your right legs towards your chest
- With your left hand push the right knee towards the left and onto the ground
- Extend the right arm out towards the side and turn head to face right hand
- Ensure shoulder blades stay in contact with the ground
- Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat with the other side
#4 Knee Rocks
- Lie flat on your back knees bent 45 degrees
- Put feet together and flat on the ground
- Rock knees from side to side as far as you can go without falling over
- Extend your arms 45 degrees to the side with palm side down to provide support
- Rock 10-15 times each side
#5 Glute Bridge
- Lie flat on your back with a 45 degree bend in your knees
- Feet shoulder width apart and flat on the ground
- Keep arms 45 degrees to the side, palm side down
- Lift hips off of the ground until a straight line is formed between the upper trunk, hips and thighs
- Squeeze glutes and contract abdominal muscles at the top
- Hold bridge position for 3 seconds before dropping back down gently
- Repeat for 12 repetitions
Why glute bridge you ask?
The glute bridge is the perfect exercise to improve hip mobility and increase lower back strength. The gluteus muscles are stabilizer muscles that support the pelvis and sacrum. If these muscles are not well conditioned it can result in pelvic tilt and induce lower back pain.
Kevin Kwok – Client Care Manager
Kevin enrolled in numerous sports program as a child, which exposed him to an active lifestyle early in life. He played ultimate frisbee competitively in at the junior level while in high school. Kevin now focuses his training exclusively on dragon boating. He has been paddling for the past 2 years and hopes to make the Canadian National Team in 2019. He hopes he can motivate others to accomplish their short and long term fitness goals.