If you suffer from lower back pain, the thought of doing any type of strenuous exercise can seem daunting, mostly out of fear of injuring yourself. You're not alone as a good majority of people (especially those who work at a desk 8-10 hours per day) are right there with you. So, what can you do? Here are three relatively easy, low-impact, high-return exercises you can do to strengthen your lower back.
If you feel pain doing the exercises below, shorten the range of motion or perform the moves more slowly.
Gently relieves tension in the lower back. When your pain is acute, use these easy moves to gently mobilize — increase the pain-free range of motion — in your back.
To Do This Exercise:
1. On a mat or blanket, kneel down, and if possible, sit on your heels.
2. Lean forward, extending your arms in front of you, and rest your head on the floor in front of you.
3. Hold the position for 30 seconds to two minutes.
If It Hurts:
Cross your arms on the floor and rest on your forearms.
Supports healthy hip movement, which takes pressure off the lower back during everyday activities.
To Do This Exercise:
1. Lie on your left side with your knees bent 90 degrees in front of you and your feet stacked.
2. Keeping your feet together and your hips vertical, lift your right knee as far away from your left as possible.
3. Hold for a moment, return to the starting position, and repeat for 15 reps.
4. Turn onto your right side and perform 15 reps.
If It Hurts:
Make sure your lower back doesn’t twist throughout the movement and limit the move to a pain-free range of motion.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Restores proper positioning of the hips, taking tension off the lower back.
To Do This Exercise:
1. Kneel on a mat or pad and step your right foot flat on the floor in front of you.
2. Keeping your torso upright and your back in its natural arch, lunge forward towards your right foot.
3. Press the top of your left foot into the floor behind you.
4. Hold the stretched position for 30–45 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
If It Hurts:
Contract your abs and flatten the lower back as much as possible throughout the stretch. Also, try shifting your hips back and coming out of the stretch a bit.
Let’s face it, we have all been there, the alarm clock is buzzing, and as you reach to turn it off, you suddenly feel as stiff as the Tin Man before he gets oiled. As you sluggishly move about preparing for the day ahead, you wish that you could find some relief. You may also start to wonder why this happens and what you can do to prevent it. Luckily, there are some known causes of this morning struggle. Armed with an understanding of why morning stiffness occurs, you can develop a preventative game plan.
According to research done by scientists in the UK, a protein called cryptochrome reduces inflammation and is released according to our bodies circadian rhythm. When we sleep the protein is not released, thereby increasing inflammation which may lead to stiffness and pain. In addition, lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and stress may all contribute to this morning obstacle. Follow these five tips to help to get moving quicker in the morning.
Get quality sleep.
Try to ensure that you are getting the best possible sleep you can get. Sleep is how our bodies recover from the stresses of the day before. Make sure to maintain a regular sleep schedule and create a bedtime routine that is free of electronic screens. Make sure the place you sleep is peaceful, free of clutter, and comfortable.
Develop healthy eating habits.
Eating the wrong foods before bed can be a nightmare. Foods that are spicy or heavily acidic often keep you up with heartburn. Also, keeping a healthy diet helps to maintain a healthy weight and can help reduce the risk of developing complications like sleep apnea. Make sure to drink enough water to reduce the effects of dehydration which can make recovery during sleep even harder.
Like a healthy diet, exercise is important to maintain overall health and to prevent health complications that may interfere with a good night’s sleep. If you don’t have a workout plan already, try starting out by walking 20-30 minutes per day and gradually intensifying your workout.
It is hard to get good sleep if you are tossing and turning, thinking about all the stresses of life. Try mindfulness practices such as meditation to help reduce the effects that the day’s events have on your mind while you try to sleep. You might even find that getting better sleep will help in dealing with stress in the first place.
Stretch before getting out of bed.
One of the first things you should do before getting out of bed is simple stretching. Stretching loosens everything up and promotes circulation which can help reduce pain caused by inflammation.
Following these five tips should help in the fight against morning stiffness. If it seems like you just cannot win the battle, see our team at Pure Life Chiropractic! We will help to develop a personalized plan to get you moving.
It's something we all don't likely think about, but work-related disorders occur in all types of industries and work environments, from construction zones to office spaces. Research shows that repetitive motion, poor posture, and staying in the same position, especially for extended periods, can cause or worsen musculoskeletal disorders.
If you have a desk job, this is probably no surprise. Sitting in your chair for hours on end can wreak havoc on your body just as much as swinging a hammer all day. But the sitting doesn't end at work — we sit in our cars to and from work, and we sit on the couch or in bed in the evenings. The fact is, we live sedentary lives.
The good news is that we can take action to keep things moving and moving and stretching are buildable habits. There are even certain stretches you can do at your desk. But remember, breathe normally throughout stretching, and never hold your breath. With each stretch, you may find yourself more flexible, but don’t go further than is comfortable.
1. Stand up, sit down
Without using your hands, simply stand up and then sit back down. Doing this over and over without using your hands can be a challenge and will help you get a great mini workout.
2. Shrug your shoulders
Inhale deeply and shrug your shoulders, lifting them high up to your ears. Hold. Release and drop. Repeat three times. Next, shake your head slowly, yes and no. You might as well amuse yourself while you do it to relax even further. Ask yourself silly questions: "Is your boss an idiot?" Move your head up and down, "Yes, yes, yes." Side to side: "No. No. No." (Shedding tension is as much mental as it is physical.)
3. Air circles
Clenching both fists, stretch both hands out in front of you.
Make circles in the air, first in one direction, to the count of ten.
Then reverse the circles. Shake out your hands when finished.
4. Torso twists
Inhale and as you exhale, turn to the right and grab the back of your chair with your right hand, and grab the arm of the chair with your left. With eyes level, use your grasp on the chair to help twist your torso around as far to the back of the room as possible. Hold the twist and let your eyes continue the stretch — see how far around the room you can peer. Slowly come back to facing forward. Repeat on the other side.
5. Leg extensions
Grab the seat of your chair to brace yourself and extend your legs straight out in front of you, so they are parallel to the floor. Flex and point your toes five times. Release. Repeat.
A few more helpful tips...
If you've tried these but you're still in need of some relief, please give us a call at 541-343-5633. We'd love to help!
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