When you have a sedentary lifestyle, there are several problems that you might suffer. One of the most common issues is a problem with the lower back, which can be excruciatingly painful. Thankfully, a few easy exercises can offer relief. When you do them consistently, these exercises can give you long-term relief from chronic lower back pain. Here are ten exercises your physical therapist might suggest you use. Make sure you follow their instructions – these are just summaries.
1. Cat and cow pose
Lie on all fours and keep your back straight. Then, bend your spine outward and upward toward the ceiling. Hold this pose till you feel a stretch in your neck, then bend your back inward and downward till you feel a stretch in your lower back. Repeat this around ten times.
2. Cobra stretch
Lie in the prone position and keep your hands on either side of your chest. Keep your feet planted firmly on the floor and press into your hands as you push your upper body, from your chest to your head, upward. Hold this pose for a few seconds and then gently lower yourself.
3. Prone leg lifts
This is similar to the cobra stretch, except that instead of lifting your upper body, you keep it planted firmly down. Keeping your legs stretched out and close together, raise them in one continuous motion as much as you can, hold the pose, and lower your legs back to the ground.
Bridges are extremely helpful if you want to strengthen your lower back. To perform a bridge correctly, lie down on your back and rest your outstretched arms by your side. Lift your hips off the floor, keeping your body from the head to the knees in a straight line. Hold and lower.
5. Leg stretches
Lie on your back with your knees raised upward and your feet flat on the ground. Raise your right foot up, loop a band or a towel around it, and gently pull your foot toward your chest, keeping your right leg straight and unbent till you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
6. Side twists
This is a great stretch to perform when you’re suffering from lower and side back aches. Lie on your back with your arms stretched out by your side. Bend your knees to one side while turning your body in the opposite direction. Repeat this wringing motion on the other side.
7. Bird-dog stretch
This exercise focuses on stretching out the muscles connected to your lower back, thus relieving stress and pain. Lie on your fours, and lift your left leg, stretching it backward. Simultaneously, stretch your right arm forward in one straight line. Repeat on each side.
Toe-touches are perfect for days when your lower back really needs a good stretch. Stand up straight with your arms stretched overhead, bend slightly backward till you feel a push in your lower back, and then bend forward and down to touch your toes. Repeat this slowly ten times.
9. Child’s pose
No other exercise opens up your lower back like the child’s pose. It’s easy to perform as well; all you need to do is kneel on a mat, sit on your heels, and bend forward with your arms extended before you. Rest your head on the floor and enjoy the relief that follows.
10. Hip stretches
Don’t be fooled by the name; hip stretches are as good for the lower back as they are for the hips. To stretch your hips, kneel on your left knee and place your right foot forward, with the right knee bent. Hold your left foot and gently pull it upward. Repeat on the other side.
Keep in mind that these stretches and exercises may offer temporary relief, but it’s always advisable to get yourself medically evaluated for chronic back pain.