Lower Back Exercises To Reduce Pain and Prevent Injuries

Lower back exercises when done properly can significantly reduce low back pain by activating muscles of the low back and “core.”  80% of people will experience some form of low back pain in their lifetime.  Therefore, people should be doing some kind of exercise for the lower back to prevent injuries.

*Please consult your physician before starting any exercise or rehabilitation program

The typical person who sits most of the day will present as a mechanical low back pain case which is non-disc.

Mechanical low back pain persists when a patient uses the wrong muscles to load the joints.

Symptoms Include:

-          Pain is worse as the day passes

-          Dull achy pain

-          Difficult sit to stand

-          No pain below the knee

-          No central provocation

Disc Symptoms:

-          Almost always worse in the morning

-          Pain past the knee

-          Worse with prolonged sitting

-          Pain worse with turning

-          Central provocation

Steps to beating low back pain and preventing injury:

1.       Learn how to hip hinge (bend at the hip and not with the back)

2.       Learn proper sit to stand (taking micro-breaks while sitting all day)

3.       Advice from chiropractic physician (work station ergonomics)

4.       Manipulation of “restricted” joints by a Chiropractor

5.       Lower back rehabilitation exercises

6.       Follow the anti-inflammatory diet to reduce pain and inflammation

7.       Take supplements recommended here (multi-vitamin, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, Magnesium)


Lower Back Exercises:

Cat-Camel Exercise:

The Goal is spinal mobility.  Good first exercise in a rehabilitation program.  Maintain slow and controlled posture.  This exercise has to be pain free.  Perform 10-20 reps and 2-3 sets per day.


 Abdominal Bracing:

Proper position is on all fours.  Bracing the abdominals is exactly what you do when you are going to get punched in the stomach.   Place hands around mid-section to check for proper activation.  This is very good to train the abdominal muscles in the initial phase of the rehab program.  Brace for 3-5 seconds and do 8-10 reps.


Side Bridges:

Start on knees and advance onto feet.  Activation of the transverse abdominus (core muscle) contributes to low back stability.  Hold the bridge for 3-5 seconds for beginners and do 10-15 reps.  Advanced side bridge can be held for as long as possible for endurance.


Bird Dogs:

It’s very important to brace the abdominals first.  Stretch opposite arm and leg out and maintain a slow controlled motion to maintain activation of the core and glute muscles. 


Glute Squeezes:

This exercise must be done first to maintain activation of the glutes before progressing to glute bridges.  Feel the hamstrings and lower back to make sure the glutes are doing all the work.  Simply perform by squeezing the glutes together.


Glute Max Bridges:

Brace the abdominals first.  Then squeeze the glutes together and bridge up.  This is a very good exercise for gluteus maximus activation and is key in lower back rehabilitation.  Feel the hamstrings and lower back to make sure the glutes have the most tone.  If the glutes don’t have the most tone go back to glute squeezes until this occurs.

Body Weight Squats:

This exercise must be done when the patient knows proper hip hinge procedure.  Hip hinging is bending at the hips using the glutes to guide the movement.  We do not want excessive bending and moving in the lumbar spine.

Tri-Planar Lunges:

There are 3 planes of motion sagital (front to back), coronal ( side to side), and transverse.  Every muscle and joint must be able to move in these planes of motion.  So, to properly train the glutes movement must occur in 3 planes of motion.

This list of lower back exercises is non-inclusive and for the sake of this webpage just the most common and/or basic version of each exercise is discussed.  Please consult your physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist before starting an exercise program.

To schedule a no obligation consultation with your Indianapolis chiropractor to discuss your back or neck pain, please call 317-228-9701.  Note: Same day appointments are available.

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