22 Feb 2021

4 Low Back Pain Exercises to Strengthen Your Lower Back and Relieve Low Back Pain in Minutes

Low back pain is the worst and unfortunately, it is way too common. 80 percent of Australians experience back pain at some point in their lifetime.

As a Physiotherapist for 15 years, it has become very apparent to me, that after dealing with the many thoughts of patients over the years, there is this widely accepted belief amongst the general population that when you have low back pain, you should AVOID exercising at all costs.

Well, this widely accepted belief is WRONG, and this method of thinking might actually be making things worse for you.

For a lot of people, it might seem common sense to avoid exercise-related pain by stopping certain movements altogether. But when we avoid exercise and movement this can lead to a vicious cycle of inactivity, causing weaker muscles and even more soreness/low back pain over time.

To break this vicious cycle, you have to train, you have to get moving and you have to keep moving, even if it hurt’s a little….

pro physio tip: we respect pain and acknowledge it at all times. – we do not ignore it. We listen to it and we follow these guidelines with our low back pain patients – keep pain less then 3/10 on average. 10 would be a broken leg and 2 would be a mild headache.

So, to put very simply – ‘Exercising is one of the best things you can do for the lower back’.

That last point is so important I will say it again “Exercising is one of the best things you can do for eliminating & relieving lower back pain”.

Today we share with you 4 simple exercises designed to help relieve lower back pain in minutes. This full body routine is designed to build strength in your lower back, and eventually help you to progress to harder exercises over time.

The Exercises

  1. Bird Dog

What it Does: helps build control and strength in the lower back and as an added bonus it also helps strengthen the glutes and shoulder muscles, which when strong, help lessen the load on your lower back.

How to do it: Begin on all fours. Wrists in line with shoulders, knees in line with hips. Brace your core and lift your opposite arm and leg off the floor until they are level with your torso/parallel to the floor. Hold their briefly (2-3 seconds), before returning to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Try to avoid overarching your lower back and swaying side to side.

2. Deadbug

What it Does: strengthens your core and with the pelvis tucked can help to relieve lower back tension.

How to do it: Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Press your lower back into the floor to help activate your core muscles. Lift both knees until your knees are in line with your hip and shins are parallel to the floor. Extend both arms toward the ceiling, keeping wrists in line with shoulders. Keeping your lower back pressed into the floor, slowly lower one arm backward and at the same time straighten out your opposite leg. Only as far as you can without allowing your lower back to lift off the floor. Return to the start position and repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

3. Toes-out Dumbbell Deadlift

What it Does: strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.

How to do it: Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart and toes angled outwards. Hold two dumbbells in front of your thighs, with your palms facing your body and arms straight. Bend your knees slightly, sit back into your hips and hinge at the waist to slowly lower the weights. Let the weights skim against your thighs (keeping the weights close to your legs helps to decrease the amount of stress on your lower back during this movement) and stop when you feel a slight pull in your hamstrings. Return to the standing position and squeeze your glutes at the top.

4. Goblet Stationary Lunge

What it Does: strengthens your leg muscles and core muscles. This variation is optimal when dealing with low back pain for a couple of reasons. Firstly this lunge variation utilises a static feet position, where as some lunges involve moving your feet between reps (which places stress on your back as you try to stabilize through various movement positions). Holding weights in front of your body also helps to activate your core, and tends to be more comfortable for low back pain sufferers then resting weights on your shoulders (as in squats or barbell lunges)

How to do it: Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells against your chest with both hands in a goblet position. Slowly take a big step back with one foot and lower your back knee to just a few centimetres off the floor. Your legs should both be at about 90 degrees. Make sure your front knee is directly above and inline with your front ankle. Try to emphasise more weight through the front leg, then drive through the midfoot region of your front foot and push yourself straight back up to the starting position with both legs still extended. Keeping your feet where they are, bend your front knee to drop into your next rep. Perform all reps on one side, then switch to your other leg and repeat the process.

  • Grant Burton – Physiotherapist

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