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Lower back exercises…

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke state that lower back pain (LBP) is considered to be a leading cause in missed work days and the most common cause of job-related disability. Additionally, approximately 80% of the UK adult population will experience LBP at some point in their lifetime.

Although there are multiple causes of LBP, one of the main factors in helping to reduce LBP is physical activity and exercise. A study by Searle et al. (2015) proposed that an exercise intervention can help to improve back strength, flexibility, range of motion and fitness.

Taking the above into account, here are our top 5 exercise’s to get your body moving again and help minimise the discomfort that LBP can cause:

Cat Stretch

A great exercise to gently mobilise your spine through flexion and extension. The first photo is your start position. Here, you gently ease your rib cage up towards the ceiling, tucking your chin toward your chest as you do so. From this position, you gently reverse the movement until you end up with a slight arch in your lower back, as shown in the second image. Repeat this a 8-10 times to really feel the benefits.

Childs Pose

A common pose in yoga, helping to develop a nice stretch for your lower back. For added benefit, aim to really reach through your fingertips and allow yourself to relax into the position. If you struggle with discomfort in your back during this exercise, adopt the position shown in the second image. Try holding this position for 5-10 deep, controlled breaths.

Back Extension

The key to feeling the benefit of this stretch is to allow your lower back to relax. If you sit down for long periods of time, your lower back will be used to being in a rounded position. With this stretch, you are doing the opposite, which can sometimes mean it takes a while for your muscles to really relax. Hold this position for as long as you feel is needed.

Plank

A great exercise to help build strength in the deeper core muscles. To get the most out of this exercise, focus on creating tension in your mid-section. To do this, actively draw your rib cage towards your pelvis whilst maintaining a straight spine. For an added challenge, squeeze your butt. Aim to take some nice, strong deep breaths and hold for 30-40 seconds.
If the position shown in the first image is too challenging, pop the knees on the floor (second image).

Hip Flexor Stretch

This muscle can become really tight and uncomfortable if you find yourself seated for long periods. To put some length back into the muscle, adopt the position shown in the image below. Once in position, squeeze the glute muscle (your butt!!) of the kneeling leg. Reach up through the finger tips of the same side arm, and hold for 45-60 seconds.

Give these exercise’s a try throughout your week and let us know how you get on.

Reference List:

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet

A Searle, M Spink, A Ho, V Chuter (2015) ‘’ Exercise interventions for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials’’

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