If you're living with lower back pain, you may be tempted to avoid physical activity. Contrary to popular belief, exercise is actually good for lower back pain. It can strengthen your back as well as your stomach and legs, support your spine, and provide you with the relief you deserve. So it's a good idea to stay active as much as possible. Since not all exercises are created equal, however, it's important to be mindful about which ones you pursue. Here are the best exercises for lower back pain.
Instead of sit-ups, opt for partial crunches instead as they won't aggravate your back pain and bring strength to you back and stomach. Once you've lied down with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, place your hands behind your neck or cross your arms over your chest. Then, squeeze your stomach muscles and lift your shoulders off the floor. After you've held this position for a few seconds, lower back down and repeat 8 to 10 times.
Not only can hamstring stretches reduce lower back stress that stems from limited motion from tight hamstrings, they can also improve your posture. As soon as you lie on your back, bend one knee and place a towel under your foot. Then, strengthen your knee and pull the towel back slowly. Once you notice a stretch on the back of your leg, hold for 30 seconds and repeat a few times for each leg.
Since they can give you similar effects of squats without adding stress to your lower back, wall sits are highly recommended. Stand 10 inches from a wall and place your back against it. Make sure it's lat and slide down until your knees are bent and lower back is pressed into the wall. Hold for 5 to 10 second and make your way back up to the wall. Repeat for 10 reps.
To build stability in your lower back and reduce stress, the bird dog is a good choice. Get on all fours and squeeze your stomach muscles tight. Then, lift and lengthen one leg and hold for a few seconds. Switch to the other leg and repeat 10 times for each leg. If you can, lift and lengthen your opposite arm while you're focusing on your legs.
If you're performing an exercise with lower back pain and feel pain, stop. Do not try to "push yourself" as it can worsen your condition. You should also consult a physical therapist or doctor before participating in any new exercises.