Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lower Back Exercises

Many patients have asked what exercises do I need to do to keep my back pain from returning? Current research indicates that lower back pain has a very high rate of reoccurrence about 60-80% within a two year period. Doing daily core exercises can lower this rate to under 30%.
Remember I suffered from a ruptured disc in 2009 and have been doing some daily stretches/exercise since. I do them in the morning and they take about 10-15 minutes to do so they do not take very long. So if you are in acute pain something that you can do is the knees to the chest stretch which is demonstrated above. Pulling your knees to your chest will take tension off of the sciatic nerve and this may give some people relief. Some people find that knees to the chest is to uncomfortable so they need to try this back extension stretch.
Try to hold for 10-15 seconds and then relax. Repeat this several times and then several times during the day. When not in acute pain you can try some "core" exercises. I like using the exercise ball because in my personal research I have found that the "balancing" type of exercises seems to strengthen smaller muscles in-between the vertebrae. So I start out on a ball doing the dog pointer. That would be laying on your stomach with the ball underneath and lifting your left arm and right leg off and holding that position for 15-30 seconds and then do the other arm and leg.
Another one is to lie on your back and put the ball under your heels and straighten the back and hold for 30 or more seconds.
. One of the last ball exercises that I do it to lie on my back on the ball with knees bent. Then straighten one leg at a time holding for 15-30 seconds and then do the other leg. I then do two more exercises without the ball. The first is called a plank. You get on your elbows and on your toes and hold your body straight in that position for 30-60 seconds. This one, for me, is one of the harder ones to do. I had to build up to this exercise because at first it did bother my back.
The last exercise that I do is a side plank with is up on the elbow on your side like this picture. I hold this one for 30 seconds.
So these are the exercises that I do each morning before work. I have found out with the ball exercises that you do not notice an increase in strength but you will notice your balance getting better. As always if a certain exercises is sore you can continue to do it, but if you have an exercise which "ouch" hurt you must stop immediately.