Low back pain sends thousands of people to doctors, chiropractors and pain clinics. While exercising an aching back may seem like the last thing you want to do, certain exercises are designed to relieve the discomfort and to tone and strengthen muscles in the lower back and abdomen so the spine can get better support. Avoid exercises such as straight- or bent-leg sit-ups, leg lifts or standing toe touches that can make pain worse. As always, speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
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Lie on your stomach face down with your hands beside your shoulders. Press up until your shoulders rise off the floor. Hold this position for three seconds, then slowly go back down.
Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your buttocks muscles and abdomen so that your pelvis tilts upward. Press your lower back against the floor and hold that position for two or three seconds, then relax. Gradually work up to holding the position for 10 seconds.
Stomach muscles are important in supporting the back. This exercise strengthens and tones abdominal muscles as well as the back and thigh muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tilt your pelvis so that your lower back presses against the floor. Squeeze your buttocks together, tighten your stomach muscles and lift your hips off the floor until your shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line. Hold the position for a moment, then slowly lower your hips to the floor. Keep your buttocks contracted throughout. Continue for up to 10 repetitions.
Roll and Stretch
Still lying on your back, bend your knees and keep your legs together. With your arms at your sides, slowly roll your knees to one side. Don’t force the legs to the floor; go only as far as is comfortable while keeping your upper body pressed to the floor. Hold the position for about 20 seconds, then roll to the other side. Continue for five repetitions to each side.
Lying on your back with your legs flat on the floor or bent at the knee, grasp one knee and pull it gently toward your chest. Don’t force it; go only as far as is comfortable. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat with the other knee. Return to the first position and then pull both knees to your chest at the same time. Repeat all three moves up to 10 times.
On your hands and knees, raise your right arm and stretch it in front of you, parallel to the floor. Lower the arm and repeat with your other arm. As your balance improves, raise your right arm and your left leg at the same time, straighten them, and hold in that position for three seconds. Alternate with the other side for five to 10 times.
On your hands and knees, arch your back upwards, rounding your spine while keeping the rest of your body in the same position. Lower your back to the starting position. Now, drop your stomach toward the floor, arching your back downward and looking up to the ceiling. Relax into the starting position and alternate the movements for five to 10 times each.