Five exercises which can help relieve back pain
These gentle exercises are generally suitable for people who suffer from stiffness or pain in their lower back. They focus on maintaining mobility and flexibility in the surrounding joints and muscles, including the hips and upper back, which are common areas that can stiffen up when we have discomfort.
Each exercise should be performed at a steady and controlled pace, breathing pattern should be regular and relaxed, and all movements should be pain free. Do not work into pain or push further than the limits of your own body.
If you are suffering with a new episode of pain, pain that is referred away from your back and noted in your legs or feet, note that there is any numness in the lower limbs, or have undiagnosed back pain, you should not do these exercises. You should seek advice and consultation from your GP, physiotherapist or osteopath before starting any exercises to ensure they are the suitable for you.
1. Glute bridge with spinal articulation
Lying on the your back with your knees bent up and flat on the floor.
Have your feet hip width apart, with your knees in line with hips.
Take a slow breath in.
As as you breathe out, tilt your pelvis back to flatten your lower back towards the floor.
Press through your feet and squeeze your glutes as you peel your lower back off the floor rolling up into a bridge.
Lower back down with control as though you are placing one segment of your spine down at a time.
Repeat for two minutes.
Keep your shoulders relaxed
Do not let your chest flare or your lower back arch
2. Rock Back
Position yourself on hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and placed directly under your shoulders.
Place your knees hip-width apart, positioned under your hips.
Make sure your head is line with your body and that your eyes are looking straight down to the floor. Your lumbar spine should be in a neutral position, not arched or rounded.
Push through the palms of your hands to rock back, moving through your hips.
Rock back as far as you can wither changing the position of the lumbar back.
Pushing through your glutes, return to start position, again without altering the position of the lumbar spine.
Repeat for two minutes.
Do not lock your elbows.
Make sure your shoulder blades remain flat against your back (not pinched together or sticking out).
3. Arm openings
Lie on your side with your knees bent and your head supported.
Your arms should be reached in front of you with your palms touching each other.
Your knees should be bent.
Slowly reach your top arm up towards the ceiling, following through 90 degrees and reaching behind you, allowing your head to follow the movement. Reach as far as is comfortable.
Hold for a few seconds and then return
Repeat for one minute on one side, before repeating lying on the other side for another minute.
The aim is to rotate through your upper back and not overload your shoulder
Your lower back should remain still
Ensure no pain is caused throughout the movement
4. Bent Knee Fall Out
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your lower back in neutral position (with a natural arch).
Arms lying by your side.
Engage your core by drawing in your deeper abdominal muscles
Maintain a steady breathing pattern while let one knee fall out to one side, keeping your foot on the floor and the other leg completely still.
Return to centre and repeat with the other leg. Continue alternating legs for two minutes.
Keep both sit bones on the floor.
Make sure your lower back stays completely still.
5. Lumbar Rotation Stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent.
Have your arms out to the side to stabilise your upper back and shoulders.
Cross the right foot over the left knee
With control, turn at the hips and torso to your left, lowering the right foot towards the floor.
Only rotate as far as you can to feel a stretch, keeping your shoulder blades and arms flat on the floor. Do not lift your shoulders off the floor.
Hold for a few seconds.
Return to the starting position and then repeat for one minute, before repeating for a minute on the other side.