Lower back injuries may cause severe pain and limited range of motion and mobility. If you've injured your lower back, it's important to exercise to help to maintain mobility. A number of gentle exercises performed on a daily basis will help to support the lower back and aid the healing process. Before beginning any exercise program, discuss proper exercises and techniques with your doctor or physical therapist to ensure optimal support and benefits for the lower back and to prevent further injury or pain.
A lower back injury and pain may hinder even the simplest movements. Start exercises slowly and always warm up. For a good starting exercise, lie on the floor or bed on your back. Slowly bend the right knee, sliding the heel along the floor or bed, suggests the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Keep the lower abdominal muscles pulled in toward the spine during this move. Repeat this exercise 10 times and then switch and repeat with the other leg.
Lie on your back on the floor. Pull the lower abdominals toward the floor and allow the pubic bone to rock slightly upward, suggests the Nicolas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma. Lower the pelvis back down toward the floor, creating a very slight arch in the lower back. You should be able to slide your hand into this space. Repeat this tilting or rocking motion five to 10 times, slowly and with control each time.
Knee to Chest
The knee to chest will help to stretch the lower back muscles and ease knotting and stiffness. Lie on your back on the floor or bed. Slowly lift the right knee so the leg is bent. Grasp the hamstring or back of the thigh with your right hand and help to lift the knee toward the chest. Only go as far as you can without pain. The key is to gradually stretch and increase range of motion in the hips and lower back. Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds and then slowly lower the leg to the starting position. Repeat this exercise five times and then switch and repeat with the other leg.
Hip Flexor Exercise
The hip flexor exercise is for more advanced lower back strength and stability and should only be performed if you've succeeded in performing moderate lower back exercises such as the knee to chest move without pain. Lower the buttocks so they are close to the edge of the bed. Hold your knees toward your chest. Keep the stomach pulled inward during this exercise. Holding onto the left leg, slowly lower your right foot toward the floor over the edge of the bed. You don't have to touch the floor, but you do want to feel the stretch along the front of the thigh. Don't arch your back off the bed, but concentrate on keeping the lower abs pulled inward. This will strengthen the core muscles and the lower back. Hold the foot in this position for a count of 20 and then raise. Repeat with the other leg. You can do this exercise three to five times as your strength permits.