In Part 1 of the series we discussed the importance of understanding the causes that could be causing back pain in order to determine the best course of treatment.
We’ll now focus on helping you perform exercises to figure out which will ease pain and help restore you to back health.
The power of movement as a form of medicine
Created to move Your body must be active to maintain good well-being. If you sit for long time, your muscles become weaker as connective tissue stiffens, and joint lubrication diminishes. In contrast, moving improves your health and helps you to sustain it. Your body’s physiology rewards your activities by releasing positive hormones and reducing stress.
The most frequent causes of back problems are poor posture and breathing mechanics as well as tension in the hips physical injuries, age-related degeneration excessive weight or pregnancy, stress. Since the majority of these are linked to muscular problems, using corrective exercises to loosen as well as strengthen muscles which help support and move the spine is crucial to reducing and eliminating back discomfort.
Be aware of your body
This connection between the mind and body is the one that allows you to develop an attuned awareness of your physical condition that allows you to react to the body’s signals.
When you experience back discomfort, misinterpreting or not paying attention to pain signals can result in injury. Overreacting could result in unnecessary tests, medications , and procedures that can slow the recovery process. By utilizing your body-mind connection, you’ll be able to discern between warning signals that warn you to stay clear of certain moves and more moderate ones that are caused by stiff joints and muscles. The latter type of pain that we’d like to be able to move through in order to find relief.
Breathing techniques and mindfulness meditation can improve your connection between mind and body when you do the exercises below.
Practicing corrective exercises
Below are three categories of exercises to help you deal with lower back discomfort, along with some examples for you to practice.
While doing any exercise take a break immediately if pain gets worse or you feel “wrong.” Be aware of any sensations that you feel.
I’ve designed these exercises to target the most prevalent reasons for back pain, however because it is not the case that every back discomfort responds the same treatment and exercises, they may not will work for everyone. Consult your physician to determine the cause of your pain . You should also get approval prior to beginning any exercise routine.
While many of these exercises work to relieve lower back pain that is associated with sciatic nerve symptoms Part III of the series will concentrate on sciatica and provide additional strategies for managing the nerve-related manifestations that it causes.
1. Training to improve posture and breathing
The practice of diaphragmatic breathing correctly is the basis for every back pain prevention and treatment strategies I use during professional sporting events. Since the primary muscle you breathe with diaphragm also a postural and core muscle that is attached to your back, lumbar spine and rib-cage, when you establish an appropriate breathing biomechanics, it can reposition your spine pelvis, the rib cage as well as strengthen your core. Deep breathing can also reduce the body’s stress response and helps in recovering.
Alongside the breathing exercises 5-7-3 from Part I You can also try the breathing bridge exercise following the steps below or by viewing this instructional video (shown above). For more information on the effects of breathing on health overall, check out my series on breathing.
Start by lying on the back while keeping your knees bent and your feet on the floor, hips from each other.
Use a foam block or towel rolled between your knees, to stop your knees from spreading out.
Put your hands over your lower ribs, to control and monitor their movements through and out every breath.
Exhale completely, bringing your lower ribs towards each other, noticing your core get stronger and your ribs move downwards. After this exhale, without exhaling then tuck your tailbone inwards to flatten your lower back and raise your hips about 3 or 4 inches off the ground.
In a bridge-like posture Take five long deep breaths that are focused on correct rib motion and exhale, focusing on exhale.
Maintain this position by with the power of your glutes and your core to make sure you do not let your lower back arch.
Be careful not to move your rib cage when breathing. You should not notice tension or stress in your neck, jaw or shoulders.
If you experience a nagging discomfort when you lift your hips to the bridge, hold the hips back on the ground as you take your time with your breaths.
Do two sets of exercises for the total of 10 breaths.
2. Exercises for pelvis and the hips mobility
The lumbar vertebrae of your lower back are not made to twist; they’re designed to be sturdy. The hips are built with ball-and-socket joints that allow to rotate in all directions.
However, if your hips are too tight or your pelvis does not move in a fluid way, you place pressure on your lower back. It is important to reduce this pressure by creating the right balance of pelvis and hip mobility, and stabilizing your lumbar spine.
The hip flexors are an important starting point for pelvis and hip mobility. Watch this video to learn my hip flexor release with three directions.
3. Exercises to help the midback rotation
The thoracic spine located in between the back is designed to turn however if it fails to move properly it causes your lower back to adjust. Midback exercises are beneficial to relieve lower back pressure and promoting healthy spinal motion.
The double bent-knee twist utilizes breathing and rib movements to help support healthy rotation in mid-way up the back and keep your lower back steady. When you’re trying any back twisting exercise, remember these guidelines in your head.
Double bent knee twist
Place your body on your right side and bend your knees to 90 degrees, and your feet aligned towards your hips.
Put a cushion or pad underneath your head to ensure your neck stays neutral.
Put a yoga block or a pillow in between the knees of your.
Be sure that you stack your shoulders, knees, and hips.
Straighten both arms to the side to align your shoulders, putting your palms in a row, with your placing your feet on the floor.
Inhale while extending your left arm to the left , while maintaining your lower body’s position on the right side; your hips and knees stay straight and stacking. This is essential to keep your lower back steady.
Make a twirl in toward the mid-section of your back and not your lower back.
Put your right hand on the side part of the leg you are standing on to keep it in the right position.
Inhale and concentrate on the lower ribs being pulled inward to that right-hand side of your rib cage . This will aid in rotating your thoracic spine more into twist.
Continue to breathe for four breaths, retaining the posture and keeping your focus on the ribs’ movement on exhales to direct the movement. Release back to the beginning.
Repeat on the left side.
After you’ve tried exercises that fall in the three categories above, you can decide which ones you like best and practice them every day for at minimum two weeks.
If sciatica is one of the causes of your lower back discomfort, check out an article next in the series to learn ways to relieve pain and nerve pain. When you begin to notice improvements on you back health, check out the fourth installment in the series to establish an effective maintenance program to ensure you are free of discomfort.
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