Why Do You Have Lower Back Pain?
Feeling lower back pain is a very common issue. According to the statistics, approximately 80% of the population have an episode of lower back pain (LBP) at least once during their lifetime. That is a tremendous amount of people that experience lower back pain! In this post, we will talk about what you can do to prevent this from happening to you. We will discuss 3 specific exercises to keep your lower back flexible and strong. Some reasons we feel lower back pain can be from lifting something heavy, bad posture, and even an abnormal spinal curvature.
What Is In Your Lower Back?
First, it is important to understand some basic anatomy that is involved in your lower back control center. Your lower back consists of bones called vertebrae, joints, ligaments, muscles, soft tissue, the spinal cord, nerves, and blood vessels. The lumbar spine (lower back) also has discs (shock absorbers) that sit in between each vertebra. These discs are like cushions that allow your bones to move smoothly in all directions.
How Can You Injure Your Lower Back?
Ever heard the expression “slipped disk”? That is merely one type of injury that can cause lower back pain. Other causes of lower back pain include bad posture, poor lifting mechanics, degeneration, disc herniation, ligament sprains, and muscle strains. We will go over 3 exercises you can do on your own to keep your lower back flexible and strong. Now that you have an understanding of what’s in your lower back and how you can injure it, let’s look at how you can prevent lower back pain.
Excercises to Prevent Lower Back Pain:
#1 PRESS UPS
- Proper Form: First, lie face down. Then, slowly press up and arch your back using your arms, while keeping your hips down.
- Why is this Important: We constantly maintain a flexed lumbar spine (bent over) posture throughout our day. You are in a forward-bent position when you wake up, sit at the edge of your bed, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, look at your phone, etc. You get the point. Your lower back needs to restore natural mobility and this exercise helps with improving extension. This is an excellent way to prevent lower back pain and even relieve your lower back pain. First, get yourself comfortable in this position before counting your reps. Once you are comfortable in this position you can start the press-ups. Start with 10 repetitions of 3 sets and see how you feel. Make sure to breathe out and relax your hips at the top. You can add this exercise into your current workout program or do it with the other exercises we will discuss below.
#2 HAMSTRING STRETCH WITH TOWEL
- Proper Form: While lying down on your back, hook a towel or strap under your foot and draw up your leg until a stretch is felt along the backside of your leg. Keep your knee in a straightened position during the stretch.
- Why is this important: If you’re like me and millions of others, we sit A LOT during the day. Not many of us are fortunate enough to have a job where we move around throughout the day and reach our daily step count. Therefore, the muscles in the back of our thighs tend to get very tight while we sit. These muscles are attached to our hip bones and once they are tight they create unwanted tension in your lumbar spine (lower back region) causing a lot of stiffness. Hence the logical explanation of the Hamstring stretch! This will help you prevent lower back pain and stiffness. Start with 5 repetitions on each leg and a comfortable 30-second hold. Make sure your leg is nice and relaxed and your arms are doing most of the work.
#3 QUADRUPED ALTERNATE ARM AND LEG – BIRD DOG
- Proper Form: While in a crawling position, brace at your abdominal muscles and then slowly lift a leg and opposite arm upwards. Lower leg and arm down and then repeat with the opposite side. Try to maintain a level and stable pelvis and spine the entire time.
- Why is this important: If you felt a nice stretch doing the first two exercises, then you are off to a good start! This last one is a great finisher to strengthen the muscles of your lower back and improve your stability. Let’s get back to anatomy! We have a lot of small and large muscles in the lumbar spine (lower back region) that get weak over time because we never give them the attention they need. This exercise helps strengthen all those muscles and is one that you can add to your workout routine to prevent lower back pain. In order for you to fully feel the benefits of this exercise, you should start with at least 8 repetitions with 5 sec holds each time you alternate. Give yourself at least a minute of rest then get back to work and do one more set of 8 repetitions for each alternate cycle.
If you or anyone you know needs to know how to prevent lower back pain please share this post! My goal is to give you a bit of anatomy knowledge so we can bring down the immense spike in lower back pain we are seeing today! These 3 exercises we covered are a great way to improve the natural motion of your lower back and keep it strong and healthy! Talk with a board-certified physical therapist today and advantage of our FREE virtual consultation. We will make your lower back pain a priority and show you what you can do to prevent lower back pain in the future and keep it healthy.