3 Tips to Improve Low Back Pain
Americans spend $50 billion dollars per year treating low back pain. With these simple stretches and strengthening methods you can see great improvement in a short amount of time.
1) Stretch your quadriceps and hip flexors. When these areas are tight they pull your pelvic bowl into extension, potentially leaving you with back pain. In this case, the main cause of tightness would be from sitting. Many of us spend 23 or so hours a day in a seated position, between actually sitting, and lying in the fetal position at night. This directly affects spinal health.
A specific stretch I like using to help this is the “couch stretch.” I recommend viewing this on You Tube for the best explanation. This stretch will effectively lengthen your anterior chain, combating an overextended spine, and has left many clients with improved back pain symptoms.
2) Stretch your hamstrings. When your hamstrings are tight you are more prone to a flexion (rounding) injury to the spine. This example is the exact opposite of the above. Tight hamstrings are a result of losing the ability to squat properly, sitting, and simply not adhering to a practice that counteracts tightness. A specific stretch I like to help improve hamstring length is the sitting toe touch. If you cannot touch your toes you can wrap a band or small rope around your foot to help improve the stretch. A standing variation that is also effective is a weighted standing toe touch. Stand straight up holding a 10lb plate, while keeping your knees locked, push your hips back, hinging only at the low back, and breathe deeply. Practicing this stretch 3x per day for 2 min can help to lengthen your hamstrings and reduce pressure on your low back
3) Strengthen your gluteus maximus (butt muscles). When a client presents with dysfunctional or weak glutes, it is in many cases accompanied by low back pain. There are a variety of ways to strengthen your glutes and one of my favorite for beginners is a laying glute bridge. Lay on your back bringing your feet as close to your glutes as possible. From there push your hips as high towards the ceiling as you can while keeping your weight on the heels. Contract your glutes to enhance the exercise. For advanced clients you can add a barbell across your hips to enhance the effect.
It is always a good idea to consult with your physician, chiropractor, or a professional trainer prior to implementing any exercise that you are unfamiliar with to ensure safety and proper form. My hopes are that you experience improved low back pain and greater levels of strength/mobility by applying these tips.