Alleviate Lower Back Pain With Stretching & Exercise
There are many reasons people suffer from lower back pain – from long hours at an office job in an uncomfortable chair, to an accident or other trauma.
Ultimately, however, lower back pain is most often caused by either overuse and poor muscle strength, a herniated disk or some other degeneration of the vertebra but if it’s just some general soreness or tightness (as a result of improperly lifting something heavy) there are some alternatives to surgery to help alleviate discomfort and gain strength.
Lower back pain is an incredibly common medical complaint. In fact, nearly 80 percent of Americans will experience some pain in their lower back during their lifetime – what’s more, it is the second most common reason to see a doctor.
There are several low-impact exercises that those suffering from mild lower back pain may want to consider adding to their existing workout in order to build muscle strength and improve overall flexibility, and in the process reduce the likelihood they will experience a back injury in the future.
+ Walking: You may not think of walking as an exercise, but it most certainly is – in fact, it’s an Olympic sport! Walking even a few times per week at a brisk (but not fast) pace for a few miles – on a treadmill or outdoors in nature – provides exactly the type of workout needed to ensure health and wellness. If walking is not your speed or it’s cold and icy where you live, take it indoors and consider the use of a stair machine or an elliptical trainer.
+ Rowing: One of the best cardiovascular exercises someone can do, jumping on the rowing machine is a low impact way to strengthen lower back muscles too. The smooth, controlled movements of rowing limit the possibilities of injury, but make sure you are maintaining good form, or you may find that the lower back pain has worsened.
+ Biking: The best exercise is the exercise where you get to sit! Stationary bikes, either seated or reclined, are a great way not only to get your heart rate up but to do so without jeopardizing your long-term wellbeing.
+ Swimming: Jumping in the pool is perfect for people suffering from lower back pain because it is another low impact exercise. The water’s buoyancy minimizes stress that may otherwise cause discomfort. Swimming helps get the blood flowing and muscles moving so consider it the next time your lower back feels tight.
There are also many stretches that can help reduce general discomfort in the lower back:
+ Sphinx: Lie flat on your stomach and prop yourself up with your forearms, making sure your elbows are directly underneath your shoulders. Hold this pose for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat three to five times and notice the difference in your lower back.
+ Pigeon: This pose is known to be an effective “hip opener” and is an excellent way to reduce discomfort in the lower and upper back. In the pigeon pose, cross one leg in front of you and extend your back leg and then lay on the ground. Hold this pose for several moments and then switch legs. Repeat as needed.
+ Bridge: Lay down on your back with your knees bent and your feet placed hip distance apart. Breathe deep and as you exhale, lift your hips off the floor until you knees, shoulders and hips are in a straight line – and repeat!
Before you begin any casual or structured exercise plan, make sure to check with your doctor (or back specialist) to make sure you are in good physical condition.
If stretching and exercise are impossible due to the severity of your lower back issue, it’s time to schedule a consultation with a specialist like Dr. Branko Prpa, a leading back specialist and spine surgeon in Wisconsin. With offices in both the Kenosha and Milwaukee areas, Dr. Prpa can help you reclaim your quality of life starting today. Make an appointment at the Branko PRPA M.D. medical office that’s closest to your location now and start improving your wellbeing.