According to the British Medical Journal, most people suffer from lower back pain at some point, and whileÂ many people recover, between 10 and 25 percent of people with low back pain have long periods whereÂ they’re unable to work. Treatments for back pain include painkillers, physiotherapy, osteopathy or evenÂ surgery. Most back problems are caused elsewhere in the body and a series of 5 simple exercises can go aÂ long way to preventing or alleviating back pain.
# 1. Stretch your Hip Flexors
Your Hip Flexors are a group of muscles responsible for raising your knees to your chest. They areÂ a very active and easily get involved in movements that they are not primary designed to do. The HipÂ Flexors over activation and lack of stretching often results in a shortening of the muscles. As the musclesÂ shorten they start to pull on the Lumbar Spine and ultimately create a more Lordotic curve in the lower back.
This posture is easily recognized with the buttocks pushed out at the back and belly protruding out at theÂ front.
Stretch the Hip Flexors by taking a deep lunge position, rotating your pelvic bone towardsÂ your chest and bracing your abs.
# 2. Lengthen your Hamstrings
Following lengthy periods of sitting with bent knees the Hamstrings shorten. Shortened hamstringsÂ attach to the bottom of your pelvis and prevent correct rotation of the pelvis during forward bending.Â An inability to rotate at the pelvis results in a compensation in the lower back and ultimately lower backÂ problems.
Stretch the Hamstrings by sitting with your lower back against a wall and straighteningÂ your legs. Keep the chest up and proud.
# 3. Improve Thoracic Spine Mobility
The Thoracic Spine is situated from the base of the neck to the mid back and is anatomically designed for movement. The Lumbar Spine with its larger vertebrae is designed for stability and lack ofÂ movement. Most people due to repetitive seating positions have locked up Thoracic Spines resultingÂ in limited movement. The Lumbar spine is then forced to produce movement that it is not anatomicallyÂ designed to perform and hence lower back issues.
Mobilise the Thoracic Spine by sitting tall on a backless chair and holding a stick acrossÂ the shoulders. Brace the abs to lock the lower back and rotate slowly alternating sides.
# 4. Strengthen the Inner Core
The Inner Core is designed to work as a compression chamber to support the Lower Spine. TheÂ Pelvic Floor and Diaphragm are on top and bottom, the Transverse Abdominis goes around the sides andÂ the Multifidus is at the back. An inability to activate the inner core through excess sitting and deactivation leaves theÂ Lumber Spine nakedÂ and unprotectedÂ during movement.
Strengthen the Inner Core by lying face down with the head on the hands. Breathe inÂ deeply and push the belly into the floor, then breathe out deeply and pull the belly towards the spine.
# 5. Use Correct Abdominal Training
The worlds obsession with flat stomachs and 6-pack Abs has resulted in a whole multitude of abdominal exercises. Unfortunately the majority of these exercises go against the true function of the CoreÂ muscles and only exacerbate existing problems.
The Cores primary role is to provide stabilisation andÂ a strong platform for other muscles to function from. Sit ups and crunches work in a direction very rarely used in daily life and only increase excess flexion in the Lumbar Spine. These exercisesÂ in turn increase the hunched over desk seated position and further stimulate and shorten the over activeÂ Hip Flexors.
Work on your Core Stability by holding a rigid Push Up position while slowly raising oneÂ arm and taping the opposite shoulder. The less conditioned can omit the shoulder taps.
If in Doubt, Have it Checked Out!
Some back pain cannot be fixed or alleviated with the above exercises and a professional consultation with a specialist is always advised before embarking on the above exercises.
Over to You
What has helped fix your lower back pain?