Inflammation in your lower lumbar spine due to arthritis, results in pain, swelling and stiffness in the facet joints and the surrounding tissue which can ultimately hinder activity. Physical fitness can make a significant difference when dealing with lumbar arthritis, not only by improving the health of your back, but your general well being as well. To improve fitness and increase mobility, specific exercises should be part of your daily routine to build up muscle strength in the back and abdominal muscles.
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Many times arthritis symptoms are much worse first thing in the morning. Knee tucks are an excellent exercise to do every morning before you get out of bed to warm-up your spine. Bring both knees in to your chest and hug them tight with your arms. Hold for several seconds and rest. Repeat the knee tuck and bring your chin toward your chest. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. For the third set, tuck the knees, bring the chin to chest and rock back and forth vertically by contracting your ab muscles.
The cat stretch is a therapeutic stretch for the lower back area as well as a strength exercise for the ab muscles. To perform this exercise, get on the floor on a mat or soft carpet on your hands and knees. Place your knees hip-distance apart and line your arms up directly underneath your shoulders. Exhale as you slowly curl your lower spine up toward the ceiling and tuck your navel into your spine. Pause at the highest point and contract your abs. Inhale and slowly return your back to neutral position where your spine is straight and your back is not swayed. Repeat with slow breathing and fluid motion for 10 to 15 stretches.
Lying Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt exercise can also be done lying in bed in conjunction with the knee tuck warm-up. It also can provide relief for over-stressed and painful lower back muscles at the end of a long day. In order to perform the pelvic tilt strengthening exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Press your lower back into the floor and relax your shoulders with your arms beside your hips, palms facing down. Squeeze your buttocks, tuck your navel into your spine and roll your pelvis up as you raise your hips up off the floor. You will be resting only on your shoulder blades at the peak of the movement. Hold for several seconds and slowly release coming down one vertebra at a time, keeping abs contracted. Perform 10 to 20 slow repetitions.