Core Exercises For Lower Back Pain

Hooray!!! My doctor finally released me to go back to work! That’s a good thing, I guess. Few people out there love their 9 to 5 jobs, but believe me, sitting around with nothing to do all day gets pretty boring, not to mention those temporary disability checks leave a big hole in the wallet. I guess it’s better than no money at all, but not much. I can manage to find things to keep me busy, but I’ve always been and active person. The types of hobbies I enjoy require me to be more mobile. For the past month or so, the only real activity I get is when I do my daily workout that was given to me by my therapist.

Please remember, I am not a medical professiona of any kind and this website is for informational purposes only.  For this post, I’ve decided to show you what my therapists have me do to get me back to work. The pictures you will see are actually me doing these exercises. The therapists have told me that I have spinal stenosis due to osteoarthritis and the best way to improve my condition is to develop strong core muscles to help the spine support the upper body. Here are the core exercises for lower back pain that I was told would help me cope with my condition.

Exercise Ball

Pelvic Tilt – Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Keeping your head and shoulders straight and still, tilt your pelvis to the left then back to the right while holding your abs in. Perform 1 repetition every 4 seconds. Do 1 set of 20 once a day.Pelvic Tilt

Pelvic Rock – Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Keeping your head and shoulders straight and still, rock your pelvis forward and back while holding your abs in. Perform 1 repetition every 4 seconds. Do 1 set of 20 once a day.

Pelvic Circles – Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Keeping your head and shoulders straight and still, rotate your hips in a clockwise circle while holding your abs in. Perform 1 repetition every 4 seconds. Do 1 set of 20 then do 20 repetitions in a counter clockwise direction. Perform this exercise once a day.

3 Way Stretch – Sit in a comfortable chair with your legs spread and your feet flat on the floor. Place the ball between your legs and both hands, side by side, near the top of the ball. Slowly roll the ball forward as far as you can and hold it there for 30 seconds. Roll back slowly to the starting position. Without changing anything, roll the ball slowly at an angle to the right as far as you can and hold for 30 seconds. Roll back slowly to the starting position. Do the same thing angling to the left and hold for 30 seconds and roll back slowly to the starting position. Do 3 in each direction once a day.Three Way Stretch

Floor Exercises

Lower Trunk Rotation – Lying flat on the floor with your knees bent, slowly move your knees to the right as far as you can comfortably. You should feel a good stretch but no pain. Hold that position for 20 seconds then slowly move your knees to the left as far as you can comfortably. Again, you should feel a good stretch but no pain. Hold for 20 seconds then return to center. Do 3 repetitions once a day.

Single Bent Knee To Chest – Lying on your back, bend both knees and put feet flat on the floor. Keep one foot flat on the floor. Lift the other leg toward your chest. Place your hands over your knee and gently pull it to your chest. You should feel a good stretch but no pain. Hold for 20 seconds and return foot to the floor. Do the same thing with the other knee, holding for 20 seconds. Do 3 repetitions on each leg once a day.

Pelvic Tilt – Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You should be able to place your hand, palm down, on the floor and slide it under your lower back. This is because of the normal curvature of your spine. Tighten your abs and tilt your pelvis up until your back is flat on the floor. Hold for 3 seconds and relax. Repeat 20 times. After doing it this way for a week or so, you can make it a little more challenging by resting your lower legs on an exercise ball.

Lumbar Bridge – Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. To start with, lay your hands by your side and lift your buttocks off the floor. Return to the start position. Perform 1 set of 20 once a day As you get stronger you can lift your buttocks higher and hold for longer. You will eventually get to the point where you will have a straight line from your knees to your shoulders and holding for 10 seconds. You can advance further by holding a single 5 pound weight with both hands and your arms straight up. You can also put an exercise ball under your lower legs before doing the exercise. The closer you get to your feet, the more difficult it becomes.Lumbar Bridge

Single leg lift – Lie on your back with one knee bent and that foot flat on the floor. The other leg needs to me straight and flat on the floor. Hold a 4 or 5 lb weight in the opposite hand straight up over your head. slowly lift your straight leg until your thighs are even and slowly let it back down. Do 1 set of 20 with each leg per day. Remember the weight goes in the opposite hand from the leg you are lifting. If you can’t lift your leg that high, that’s fine only do what you can at first. As you get stronger, it will get easier and you can hold the leg lift for longer.Single Leg Lift

Elastic Bands

There are different types of elastic bands available. The type used in my therapy sessions comes on a roll. You simply cut off the length you need and go to work. The rolls come in different colors. Each color has a different resistance. I was using the blue band in my therapy sessions. Another type of resistance band looks a lot like surgical tubing. It too comes in different colors, each having a different resistance. Both types are available anywhere from big box stores to specialty stores. These type of bands are infinitely adjustable by simply changing the length of the bands. If you want more resistance you simply shorten the band. If you want less resistance, make it longer. In my opinion, these bands do have a disadvantage. They have to have a strong structure to attach them to that will allow you to move the bands to various levels for different exercises.

I prefer the bungee cord type of elastic bands. The ones I use came from Wal-Mart and are pretty inexpensive. They come with pulleys and brackets that hood over the top and bottom of an interior door. The pulleys allow for smooth operation. It comes with 2 handles that can attach to 1 or 2 bands each, either at the top or the bottom depending on your needs and the exercises. Obviously, two bands has considerably more resistance. Resistance can also be altered by the distance you are from the door.

Regardless of the type of bands you choose, the exercises remain the same. Remember, these are body building, Hulking out exercises that will make you look like Mr. Olympia. These exercises are for those of you needing to strengthen your core to help your spine support your upper body. In other words, they’re to get your core muscles in shape.

Elastic Band Exercises

These exercises can be done standing. I prefer to do them sitting on the exercise ball. It forces me to consciously pull my abs in plus it helps strengthen the stabilizer muscles that help support your spine, not to mention it helps improve your posture. For the first five exercise I have the handles in the lower position. Here is the list of exercises my therapist have me doing.

Seated Row – Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor about shoulder width apart. Wit the band in both hands, pull back slowly keeping your elbows in at your sides and your hands about waist high. Hold for 2 seconds and slowly release forward. Perform 1 repetition every four seconds. Do 1 set of 20 repetitions once every other day.Seated Row

Pull Backs – Set up just like the seated row. Keeping your arm straight from your shoulder to your wrist, slowly pull back with your arms close by your side. Hold this position for 2 seconds then slowly release forward keeping your elbows straight. Do 1 repetition every 4 seconds. Perform 1 set of 20 reps every other day.

Wide Pull Outs – Set up just as before. This exercise is just like the pullbacks only for this exercise, you want to keep your arms out wide, about 18 inches or so from your body. Move slowly and hold for 2 seconds. These exercises should never be performed in a quick jerky motion. Each one should take about 4 seconds from start to finish. Do 1 set of 20 reps every other day.

Single Arm Pull Backs – Set up as before. This exercise is just like the pullbacks above only now you use only one arm at a time. Keeping your arm straight, slowly pull back and hold for 2 second then slowly release. Then do the same with the other arm. Do 1 set of 20 reps every other day.

Diagonal Single Arm Pulls – The therapists call this the John Travolta. Sit with your right side facing the elastic with your feet flat on the floor about shoulder width apart. With your left arm, reach across and down and grab the elastic. Keeping your arm straight, slowly pull up and to the left. Like John Travolta’s disco dance. Make sure you don’t twist your trunk. Hold for 2 seconds and slowly return to the beginning. Do 1 set of twenty reps then turn with your left side facing the elastic band and do 1 set of 20 with the right arm. Do this every other day.John Travolta

Diagonal Single Arm Pulls 2 – The Seat Belt. For this exercise, I move the handles to the upper position. It is just like the previous exercise except now you will be pulling down and across instead of up and across. Again move slowly out and hold for 2 seconds, then back slowly. Do 1 set of 20 reps with each arm every other day.Seat Belt

Conclusion

Again, I am not a medical professional. I am a person with a history of back issues trying to bring as much information as I can to others who might have similar issues. These exercises are not a recommendation, they are just what my therapist has recommended for me. If your are experiencing chronic back pain, see your medical professional and follow his or her advice. This website is for informational purposes only. I have always believed it is better to see the professionals armed with as much information as possible. It helps to understand what your doctor is trying to explain, and it makes it easier to ask any questions you may have.

Well that’s it for this post. Thanks for reading. Any questions or comments can be left below or you can e-mail me at

 

donn@theohmyachingback.com

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Core Exercises For Lower Back Pain”

  1. Thanks for providing me with some good exercises I need to do to help help my lower back. I know that when I sit and work for 8 hours at a time my posture is probably pretty poor. As I keep getting older and older each year it seems like I have more and more pain in my lower back each and every year.

    Just the other day I was shoving the driveway and tweaked my back a little. I did do the above exercises for about a week and half and have already started to notice a difference.

    I do have a question for you though. Should I get an exercise ball for my office? I have heard that they are good for your back. However, would sitting on one for 8 hours at a time be a good idea?

    1. Hi Garen, thank you very much for your comment. An exercise ball for an office chair is not a bad idea. It forces you to use your core muscles and improves your posture. I know a few people that have done just that. There are a few things to keep in mind though. The ball has to be the right size for you. Your thighs must be parallel to the floor with your feet flat on the ground. If it’s too tall or too short, it could put your back in an awkward position. Also, I wouldn’t recommend it for the entire day at first. You’d be surprised how sore your core muscles will get.

      Don

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *