Simply walking, bending over, picking up a baby, sitting for long periods of time or even trying to get a good night’s rest can become unbearable if you suffer from severe low back pain.
What you may not know is that it’s extremely common. Unless you suffered an injury or accident, the reason for this pain is often overlooked. Most cases of severe low pain are created by lack of movement or sedentary lifestyle.
It’s something I see a lot of with my clients. The low back muscle (or erector spinae) runs up your entire back and is the key to postural alignment. If you remain in one position, whether sitting or standing for an extended period of time you could be affected by severe low back pain.
The foundation of your body core is a strong low back. It’s important because balance, posture, and back health are all tied to your core strength.
For those of you suffering, there is hope…
To reduce and eliminate the severe lower back pain, you’ll want to incorporate these 10 lower back strengthening exercises into your daily exercise routine.
Don’t worry if you don’t feel flexible enough to handle all of these exercises at once.
The key to building up strength and mobility is to just get started and then keep working on these back-strengthening exercises every day.
Top 10 Exercises to Get Rid of Severe Low Back Pain
1. Cat/Cow Stretch
Begin with your hands and knees on the floor. Make sure your knees are under your hips, and your wrists are under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral spine position, with your back flat and your abs engaged. Take a big deep inhale. On the exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling. Tuck your chin towards your chest, and let your neck release. This is your cat-like shape.
On your inhale, arch your back, let your belly relax. Lift your head and tailbone up towards the ceiling. This is your cow-like shape. Continue moving back and forth from Cat to Cow, and connect your breath to each movement — inhale for Cow Pose and exhale on Cat Pose. Repeat 10 times
2. Pelvic Tilt
Lie on your back and bend your knees. Put your feet flat on the floor. Relax your arms to your sides with your palms down. Feel the natural curve in your lower back. Pull in your abdominal muscles as you tilt your pelvis upward. This will push your lower back into the floor. Contracting your abdominals toward your spine. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
3. Bird Dog
Get down on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips (in a table position). Reach your right arm forward; at the same time, stretch your left leg back. Hold for 5 seconds, then release and repeat using the left arm and right leg; that’s one. Repeat 10 times.
Lie on your belly with you tops of your feet on the floor. Bend your elbows and place your palms on the floor with your thumbs near your armpits. Rest your forehead on the floor and relax your shoulders.
As you inhale, press your palms against the floor, engage your back muscles, and raise your chest and head. Look straight ahead and keep the top front of your pelvis on the floor and your shoulders relaxed. As you exhale, lower your torso and head slowly back to the floor. Repeat 5 to 10 Times
5. Kneeling Lunge
Start on all fours, bringing right foot between both hands. Check that your right knee is directly over your right ankle. Begin to straighten back (left) leg until you feel a comfortable stretch. Allowing your hips drop. Breathe to allow your hips and legs to relax and ease into the stretch.
Take 4-6 deep breaths.
Push down with your hands and bring your right foot back, coming back to all fours. Repeat on the left side.
Lie on your back. Bend your knees, plant your feet flat on the floor, and make sure the knees are hips-distance apart. As you push your pelvis up and forward, your knees should be directly over your heels. Lift your hips up toward the ceiling, hold for 3 to 5 seconds and slowly release back down to the floor.
7. Pilates Swimmer
Lie face down flat on your stomach with your arms up over your head.
Pull your abs in tight. Raise your legs and upper body up off the ground (only your thighs and abs should be touching the ground). Move your right arm and left leg together and your left arm and right leg together. Alternate them back and forth for 10 to 15 reps and repeat 2-3 times.
Lie face down on the floor, legs together and straight, arms straight and extended above your head. Keep your head/neck in a neutral position. Keeping arms and legs straight (but not locked), simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling to form a gentle curve with your body. Gently release back down to start and repeat 10-15 time.
9. Lying Figure 4 Stretch
Lie on the floor with your face up. Cross your right ankle over the left knee and pull the left leg towards your chest. Repeat the same with the other leg.
Lie face down. Rest on your forearms, palms flat on the floor; tuck your toes. Push up off the floor, rising up onto your toes, elbows, and forearms so your back is in a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 30 sec, working up to one minute. If staying on your toes is too tough, then push up from your knees, this is a gentler modified plank.
Once you master these back strengthening exercises you can then start to do more challenging exercises. Just remember start slowly and always look for a certified professional trainer to help you get started on the path to becoming stronger and feeling better.
Dana Kavouklis, mother of three amazing children is an NASM certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor offering in-home personal training and online training services. Dana believes that real fitness isn’t just about looking great, real fitness is about feeling your best. Becoming stronger can improve your longevity and help you live your best life every day. Dana is the creator of 10 Minute Workouts found in Vivid Living by Daily Superfood Love.