Many lower back issues are caused by micro trauma on the spine, caused by poor lifting techniques or sitting for too long. This causes the discs to bulge and deteriorate over time. I recommend this set of postures and mobilisations to strengthen the lower back, withstand stressors and become bullet proof.
When the spine has good posture and healthy discs, the joints are free to move through optimal range. It is only when we sit for long periods or lift weights poorly that we experience wear and tear.
With more and more hours spent sitting, it is even more important nowadays that we optimise our posture, muscle balance, and spinal stability. The way I help my clients to achieve this, is by assessing their posture to identify which areas are restricted.
Here are 5 simple exercises to reduce lower back pain:
- Bird dog
- Hip flexor fascia stretch
- 90-90 stretch
- Eldoa: L4 L5
- Eldoa: L5 S1
Bird Dog stretch
The idea behind this exercise is to strengthen the core and back without placing unwanted stress. Extend one arm and then the opposite leg and hold for 3 to 5 seconds, then switch. Do 12 to 20 reps.
Hip flexor stretch
This exercise targets the hip flexors, which get tight when sitting for too long. It helps relieve tightness in the hips, which can prevent lower back issues.
Start by putting one leg forward at a right angle, tip your pelvis backwards (like a dog putting his tail between his legs) and push forward with the hips to engage the stretch.
To intensify this stretch, raise the arms above the head and grab your elbows. Then tilt to the side (right if the right leg is forward) and then rotate to the opposite side (so left if your right leg is forward).
This exercise stretches the glutes and the hamstrings, pulls on the lower back and opens up the hips.
Put your legs at right angles, one at the front and one at the back. Tilt the pelvis forward, hence maintaining a neutral spine, stick your chest out, keep your eyes on the horizon, and tilt forward. Make sure as you tilt forward that you maintain a neutral spine. Imagine that the front knee is pushing into the ground.
ELDOA L4 L5
The ELDOA postures were designed by French Osteo Guy Voyeur. The Postures are designed to decompress the spine and stretch the fascia (capsule surrounding the muscle). The ELDOA for L4 L5 above requires you to sit upright with legs at right angles, heels hip width apart. Imagine the knees pushing towards the floor as you externally rotate the shoulders and push up to the ceiling with the palms whilst maintaining good alignment in the spine. Aim for 60 seconds.
ELDOA L5 S1
The aim here is to anchor the lower part of the spine at all times, flatten the back against the floor as you have eyes looking down at your chest. Have the feet about shoulder width apart and turned in. Bring the arms above the chest, palms facing the ceiling, fingers pointed towards knees, begin to push the palms. Then bring the arms back behind you, keep the tail bone grounded at all times, spine flat, tuck the chin, keep the eyes down. Push through the palms and heels whilst maintaining the grounded spine. Aim for 60 seconds.
If you have lower back pain or you want to avoid experiencing this, then I would suggest getting in touch for a more comprehensive programme or training. The stretches and ELDOA postures are for everyone and are especially important if you are someone who lifts weights regularly, plays sport, or is sedentary for long periods.