The low back exercises that I do and recommend
The exercises I give to patients really depend on what the individual can or cannot do. If a person comes in with acute low back pain, they may not be able to do much, so the exercises must be tailored to their condition.
There are THREE things that are my GO-TO exercises to help when my low back flares-up.
1. Cat Cow Pose
The instructions I give are: ‘go on your hands and knees, arch your back, stick your butt out and head up. Hold for five seconds. After that, push all the way up and hold for five seconds.’ This exercise is to increase mobility in the low back area. When an injury occurs, the joints and muscles stiffen up to protect the body. It is often this protective mechanism that we need to treat. This exercise is a good way to get more range of motion in to the low back.
2. Gluteal stretch (Butt muscle stretch)
Low back pain can come from the low back, however often the gluteal musculature (the butt muscles) are the cause. These are powerful muscles that attach to your pelvis, so if they are injured, low back pain is often the result. This this stretch holding for one minute, can help release some of the gluteal tightness and help decrease low back pain. My instructions for this one are to put the affected side leg on the other and pull that knee to the opposite chest.
3. Foam rolling
As you can tell, these positions are not necessarily for the patient with acute low back pain. These would be for continued maintenance care or for someone that is moving better compared to that acute phase. Foam rolling can help loosen the muscles that may be tight. This works well in conjunction with the stretch that has been shown.
As previously stated, these exercises are what I do, and what I often recommend for patients to do. But depending on the condition, they may be altered slightly.
If you have any questions, or want to know what stretched I recommend for other areas, let me know!