5 Exercises for Back Pain
Movement is medicine, so Smart Body Physical Therapy is giving you five exercises that you can do to combat back pain and keep your back feeling good. So kick off your shoes and join in…
The first exercise gets you down on your hands and knees, rounding the back up, and then sitting down towards your heels. This is called the prayer stretch or child’s pose. It really stretches out the back, the hips, the quads, and relieves some pressure on that low back. View exercise in video.
The next one is down on your belly. Lay flat, and do a little bit of a lift with the upper body and shoulders. Now, some people feel like this hurts their low back when they do it. If you just press up hard and jam up that low back, that might happen. Instead, do it with more of a lift toward the ceiling, lifting and then adding a little bit of the hands to steady you. Press up, and hold for about 10 seconds. It doesn’t have to be a long time. Repeat for 5-10 repetitions. And if it’s still hurting you, don’t do it. View exercise in video.
Lying on your back, knees bent and feet on the floor, let the knees/legs just drop to the side. Keep the upper body down flat as they drop. You may not be able to go all the way to the floor, and that’s ok, you can still get the benefit. If you want to, put a couple of pillows underneath, to support your knees as they fall. Hold on each side for about 10 seconds and then bring it back up. If it hurts you to go all the way down, don’t do it, just do a little bit of a movement. The secret is to move within the range of motion that you can. Maybe you can’t do all the things that you did before, but you can do a little bit of movement, at least, to get things feeling better. View exercise in video.
Lying on your side, point your bent legs in the same direction as your arms. Hands are out front, like a closed book, then you’re going to turn the page and open up your top hand to reach as far behind you as far as comfortable, letting your head follow. Hold about 10 seconds, or a couple of deep breaths, and then bring it right back. Do that about five times on that side. That gets the trunk moving, gets a little bit more mobility through the ribs and the upper back, and takes some pressure off of the low back. Then, flip to the other side and do the same thing. It’s a big movement, but it’s very gentle and slow. Just move within the range of motion that you can do. View exercise in video.
Stand, facing the wall, like you’re going to do a track stretch or runner stretch. Stepping widely, put one leg behind, one leg in front, and kind of act like you’re going to push the wall down. Point the toes of that back foot towards your front heel, heel down on the floor, and you’ll get a good stretch through the calf. A lot of times we have back pain and tightness because our calves are actually tight. If you want to add something extra, take the same arm as the leg you have in the back. If your left leg is back, take the left hand and slide it under the right hand, along the wall, giving your back a gentle twist along that whole lateral line. If it’s too much, bring the foot in a little bit. View exercise in video.
If you have any questions, if anything’s really hurting you as you do these exercises, or if the exercises increase your pain, stop. Reach out to the team at Smart Body Physical Therapy and ask any questions that you have. We are happy to help.
To view more videos from Smart Body Physical Therapy, visit our YouTube channel.