There are numerous conditions that can contribute to low back pain including, but not limited to, arthritis, spinal stenosis, muscle strains, and herniated discs. Lifestyle factors and the health of surrounding joints often contribute to the health of the lumbar spine. Low back pain can be extremely uncomfortable and range from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing pain. Depending on the underlying conditions, symptoms can be triggered by daily activities such as standing for extended periods of time, prolonged sitting, walking longer distances, or participating in strenuous activities.
There are several strategies an individual can utilize to maintain the health of the lumbar spine and prevent injuries. Maintaining mobility of surrounding joints including the hips, ankles, shoulders, and thoracic spine can reduce the mechanical stress in the lumbar spine. Living an active lifestyle and participating in a consistent exercise routine can be beneficial as well. Individuals who sit frequently for work could benefit from utilizing a stand-up desk or take frequent standing or walking breaks at work.
how physical therapy can help:
Physical therapy can be beneficial for those suffering from low back pain. A physical therapist can help assess the cause of your low back pain and design a treatment plan to reduce your symptoms. Treatment plans often designed to not just address current symptoms, but also to address root causes that are likely contributing to the development and continuation of the symptoms. Your physical therapist will be able to provide you with guidance and support to help you manage your low back pain.
exercises that may help reduce pain:
If you experience more pain with these exercises, hold off from that particular movement.
Hip Flexor Stretch
- Half Kneeling – Start in a lunge position with one knee on the ground and the other leg in front of you with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly shift your weight forward until you feel a stretch in the hip of the back leg. Hold for 2 minutes and then repeat on the other side. Perform this stretch 1-2 times per day.
- Standing – Simply stand facing a wall with one foot placed behind you and your hands resting on the wall, on your hips, or raised in the air with one foot placed behind you. Slowly lean your hips forward until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for 2 minutes and then switch sides and repeat the process. Perform this stretch 1-2 times per day.
Lat Prayer Stretch – Start on your hands and knees with hands positioned slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. From there, sit back on your heels and extend your arms as far forward as you can while keeping your elbows straight. You should feel a stretching sensation in your lats and shoulders. Hold this position for 1-2 minutes, then release and repeat a few more times. Perform this stretch 1-2 times per day.
Pigeon Stretch – Simply sit on the ground with your left leg forward and your right leg back. Point your front thigh forward with a 90-degree angle at the knee. Point your back thigh out to the side with a 90-degree angle at the back knee. Place both of your hands on the ground, with your right hand on the inside of your legs and your left hand on the outside of your left leg. Square your shoulders to the front and sit tall. With a straight back, lean your shoulders forward. Hold for 2 minutes and then switch sides. Perform this stretch 1-2 times per day.
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