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5 Strengthening Exercises to Help Relieve Lower Back Pain


I have struggled with chronic low back pain for the past 10 years. I finally got to the point where I could manage it and felt relieved. After years of suffering, I know how frustrating, debilitating, demoralizing, and challenging it can be to live in pain. Chronic pain is not only physically debilitating, it can also have a huge impact on your mental health, leaving you feeling hopeless, depressed and anxious.

Often, low back pain can be a mystery. I’ve had numerous MRIs and X-rays enough to know I have a herniated disc and mild scoliosis. Is that what’s causing my back pain? no one knows. All I know is that I finally found a group of people to help manage my pain. Through my chronic pain journey, I discovered what helped and what didn’t. Sometimes, when we are in pain, we feel the need to stretch. For me, I’ve become very flexible and do yoga regularly. I’ve discovered that what I really need, and what many other back pain sufferers need, is to wake up, strengthen and stabilize those lethargic muscles that are stagnating and causing others to overwork.

If you’re struggling with low back pain, here are 5 exercises to help strengthen and tone your muscles and provide support and stability to your lower back.

Note: I am not a doctor or healthcare professional. The following exercises are based on my personal experience and qualifications as a yoga instructor and someone who struggles with back pain.

5 Strengthening Exercises to Help Relieve Lower Back Pain

toe taps

Start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Begin to discover the anteroposterior tilt of the pelvis by arching and rounding the spine. Inhale as you arch, exhale as you turn. Move back and forth between these two positions for a few breaths.

Now find the natural curve of the spine, it should be between these two positions. Start working your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor from here. Lift your legs off the ground at a 90-degree angle. Keeping the left leg at 90 degrees, move the right toe down to tap the ground. Inhale and return your right leg to 90 degrees, exhale and tap your toes. Continue this cycle for 20 while keeping your abs engaged. switch sides. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of sets and eventually switch to tapping the lower and tapping both toes at the same time.

Correction of pelvic tilt

Misalignment of the legs and hips is often part of what causes our pain. For me, my right butt always protrudes from my left. This can be caused by scoliosis or differences in the legs. This simple exercise helped realign my hips and guide the right hip back into place. You can have your alignment checked by a doctor or PT specialist to see if this will help you.

Lie on your back, find the natural curve of your spine, engage your core and lift your legs to 90 degrees. If you have right pelvic tilt like I do, you can correct this by placing your left hand on your left thigh and your right hand behind your right thigh. When you apply opposing pressure to your hands and legs. Push your left hand into your left thigh as you pull back with your left thigh. Push forward with your right thigh while pulling back with your right hand. If your pelvis is tilted to the left, you can do the same exercise but on the opposite side.

bird dog

Bird dog is a great exercise to improve stability, encourage a neutral spine and improve low back pain. You can start the bird dog in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Keep your core engaged and a neutral spine. On your next inhale, slowly slide your left knee and right hand off the floor, stretching in front and behind you. Hold for 10 seconds, exhaling as you return to the table. Repeat on the other side and alternate sides 10 times. Once you have mastered the bird dog on your hands and knees, you can do it standing.

side panels

The side plank is another great lower back strengthener because it also provides neutral spinal alignment and activates the muscles responsible for spinal stabilization. Start by lifting your toes and hands into plank position. Hands should be shoulder width apart. Rotate to the right side of the right foot, stacking or placing the feet in front of or on top of each other. Hold for 60 seconds, then switch sides. Repeat 3 times. Add this by lifting your thighs into the side plank and tapping on the floor behind you. Return to the side plank a few times for each attempt.

bridge

Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet on the floor. Engage your core, lift your hips and get into Bridge Pose. Hold your bridge for 10 seconds or less. Lift again and repeat 10 times. At your 11th rep. Hold for 2 minutes. Once you get the hang of this, you can start lifting and holding one leg at a time on your bridge. Be sure to keep your hips level and stable as you do this.

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