When back pain strikes, it can be tempting to turn to painkillers and call any activity quits for the next few days. In the short term, this might give you some lower back pain relief, but as soon as you get off that couch, your back pain is likely to come back in full swing.
Getting to the root of your problem and choosing a program that will stretch, stabilise and strengthen your back is the best way to say goodbye to back pain forever. Read below our favourite corrective back exercises to relieve lower back pains, and start your recovery path today.
C.H.E.K Exercise Coach, why choose one?
Standing for Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology, the C.H.E.K methodology looks at the body as a whole system rather than just the exact spot back pain is felt.
While it may sound counterintuitive to look for problems outside of the problematic area, you may be surprised to find that the root cause of your problem could be seemingly unrelated. For example, problems in your core, legs, feet and even your diet could be factors in your back pain.
By choosing a C.H.E.K Exercise Coach, you’ll be treating your body as a whole and using disciplines of human biomechanics, orthopaedic rehabilitation and musculoskeletal therapy to find the cause, relieve your pain and ensure it doesn’t come back time and time again.
Stretching exercises to relieve a painful back
Once you’ve met with your C.H.E.K practitioner, one of the first stages of recovery is focusing on stretching exercises. Tight muscles in your back, hamstrings, and core can limit the movement of your lower back which in turn can cause back pain. It’s best to chat with your C.H.E.K practitioner about the best stretches for you. However, we’ve listed some of our favorites below:
Child Pose – the iconic yoga pose that we can all get on board with. First, place your knees on the floor hip-width apart and your arms under straight under you. From here, relax your hips backwards onto your calves and stretch your arms and shoulders forwards until your chest nears the ground and you can comfortably rest your forehead on the floor. This will gently stretch the muscles of your lower back and help relieve immediate pain.
Cat/Cow Stretch – another pose common in yoga. For this one, start on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. With a deep breath in, you’ll push your head straight up towards the ceiling and press your belly button towards the ground. On your breath out, curve your spine in the opposite direction with your belly button pulling in towards your spine and your shoulders pushing up towards the ceiling. This will help lengthen contracted muscles and move your back with a gentle motion.
Quad Stretch – tight quads can cause a range of issues, with back pain being one of the main ones. There are many different ways to stretch your quads. One of our favorites that can be done nearly anywhere is to grab the back of a chair and pull your left foot up towards your left glute, then repeat on the other side.
Stabilising exercises to reduce low back pain
Once you’ve started stretching your back muscles, the next step is to add stabilising exercises to your routine. Because your core plays such a large part in a healthy back, ensuring you have a strong and stabilised core will not only help reduce pain but prevent future back pain. To get your body back in balance, the following exercises may be recommended by your C.H.E.K practitioner:
Bridge Pose – start by lying on your back, bending both knees and place your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. With your arms alongside your ribcage, torso, push your hips towards the ceiling until you have a straight line from your knees down to your chin. This will lengthen your sit bones and strengthen your glutes, which helps support your lower back.
Forearm Plank – the core exercise to top all core exercises. Simply place your forearms shoulder-width apart and assume a push-up position. Keeping your body straight from head to heels is no easy task yet will benefit your entire body.
Superman – this exercise focuses on strengthening back extensors, which will help you maintain good posture. Simply lay on your stomach with your arms and legs out straight, and as your breath out, lift your arms and legs towards the ceiling while keeping them straight.
Strength and conditioning exercises to cure pain in the lower back
With the help of stretching and stabilising exercises, your back should be feeling better. However, your program won’t stop here. The next focus is strengthening exercising mixed in with cardiovascular conditioning to get you back to your normal life.
Incorporating low-impact cardio will increase blood flow to your spine, reducing stiffness and speeding up the healing process. Again, it’s always best to follow instructions from your C.H.E.K practitioner, but some exercises you may be given include:
Walking – it sounds simple, yet taking time to walk for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day will send a healthy blood flow and nutrients to your back. Make sure to keep an eye on your posture as you walk and maintain a neutral spine.
Russian Twist – sitting on the ground with your feet pressed to the floor in front of you or extended out straight, lean slightly back so your core is engaged, with a small weight, twist at your core and touch the ground. Return to the middle, then repeat on the other side.
Lateral Leg Lifts – while this exercise may not immediately relieve back pain, it’s essential to strengthen hip abductors to aid in good balance and mobility. To do this exercise, lay on your side with your legs and hips stacked and your head resting on your arm closest to the floor. From here, keep your leg straight and parallel to your other leg and lift it straight up towards the ceiling.
Prevention exercises to lower risk of lower back pain
By now, your back should be feeling in top-notch condition again. Getting back to your everyday life pain-free will feel like quite the relief. Yet, now it’s even more important to listen to your body and incorporate prevention exercises to ensure you don’t have to start all over again. We’ve listed our top recommendations for preventing lower back pain below:
- First and foremost, continue doing your stretching, stabilising and strengthening exercises.
- If you’re heading back to the gym, work with your C.H.E.K practitioner to ensure you’re lifting correctly.
- Avoid slouching while working, watching tv and eating. If you find it hard to remember, place notes on your desk or at the dinner table to give yourself a friendly reminder.
- Focus on your overall health, maintain a healthy body weight, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and minimise alcohol consumption. Not only will your back thank you, but your entire body will feel better.
Ready to find a back pain exercise program catered to you?
A simple consultation at Back Pain Auckland will answer your questions and set you on the path to eliminating back pain. With 18 years of back pain rehabilitation experience and many success stories, you’ll be in good hands to say goodbye to your back pain forever!