For many back pain can be debilitating. When your lower back hurts, even the smallest tasks can feel like moving a mountain. Getting out of bed? That’s painful. Walking up and down the stairs? Ouch.
Sometimes it hurts to take a deep breath when suffering with back pain. Going to the gym? That’s nearly out of the question, but maybe it shouldn’t be. See, I’ve suffered through back pain just like you’re experiencing.
I could barely get out of bed without grimacing. I stopped going to the gym. I gave my body rest, but pain persisted. Well, it actually got worse. I went to the doctor and found out I didn’t have any serious disc issues, but the physician told me to see a physical therapist. So I did.
While I had my doubts, therapy worked. I found a great therapists who showed me a plethora of exercises for lower back pain relief. We strengthened my back, and before I knew it, I was back moving plates in the gym. Back under the barbell, back deadlifting and squatting. The whole nine yards!
The only reason? I used the best exercises for lower back pain relief to strengthen my core and back. I came back to the gym with a stronger core than ever before, and I’ve been injury-free ever since.
Why Your Back Hurts?
Now, I’m no doctor and this certainly isn’t medical advice. I’m only here to show you how to use exercises for lower back pain to get and stay healthy.
That starts with understanding why your back is hurting and how you can fix it. Before we go any further, you should visit a doctor before beginning any back pain rehabilitation. If the doctor finds your back pain to be nonspecific, then the tips and tricks in this article will be beneficial. If you have specific back pain issues, listen to your doctor.
Most nonspecific back pain stems from:
- Muscle strains
- Nerve damage
- Degenerative issues
- Muscle spasms
If you’ve been a gym addict for a while, then these causes are probably nothing you haven’t heard before. But, why do they occur? Well, every individual and body is different. However, most of these injuries stem from form problems, muscle imbalances, and core weakness.
Your lower back and spine is supported by a plethora of muscles throughout the body. Your abs, glutes, and hips play a huge role in how your lower back functions and feels. If you have a weakness or imbalance in one of these areas, lower back pain is common.
For many gym goers suffering from lower back pain, the main issues are:
- Core weakness
- Muscle imbalances in the legs and hips
- Form issues stemming from a lack of flexibility
While these issues can cause serious problems for many gym goers, there’s good news. Any and every one of these issues is fixable with exercises for lower back pain relief.
4 Fantastic Exercises For Lower Back Pain Relief
So, let’s dive in and get you healthy, again. While working with my therapist, I took some notes and did a little research on what rehab exercises were working best for me. After a little while, I came up with a routine that nearly eliminate my lower back pain.
Below, you find that routine. The four best exercises for lower back pain relief:
Bridges may be the absolute best exercises for lower back pain relief. Personally, the majority of my back pain stemmed from muscle imbalances and hip flexibility issues. Bridges helped me work through both problems.
Why do bridges work? Because the exercise works your gluteus maximus. The gluteus maximus plays a large role in controlling hip movement. As such, bridges help open up your hips and increase extension.
By directly strengthening the gluteus maximus through a full range of motion, you enable the hips to open up and take pressure off the lower back in heavyweight barbell movements like the squat and deadlift.
In fact, I recommend using bridges during your rehabilitation program and also as a warm-up before any leg day gym session.
Here’s how to perform bridges:
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms to the side of your body, but do not apply pressure with them.
- Gently press through your feet to raise your buttocks and lower back off the ground. If you feel pain, immediately go back down. If not, strive to push upwards until your hips are nearly fully extended and the weight of your body is firmly planted through your heels and upper back/shoulders.
- Slowly lower your back and buttocks back to the floor.
- Rinse and repeat 15 times. Do 3-4 sets when rehabilitating. As a warmup, incorporate 1-2 sets.
~ Partial Crunches
Full crunches or sit-ups can put too much strain on the lower back, especially when just beginning to rehab. However, one of the worst things you can do when suffering from lower back pain is let your core get weak.
You have to strengthen your abs to reduce lower back pain. One of the best ways to do just that without straining the back? Partial crunches.
Partial crunches tighten your core without killing the lower back. As such, you should incorporate the exercise into your daily routine when suffering.
Here’s how to do partial crunches properly:
- Lie on your back. Your knees should be bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Put your hands behind your head and interweave your fingers.
- Tighten your stomach muscles before beginning the exercise.
- Use your core to raise your shoulder blades off the floor. Don’t use your arms to aid the movement. Keep your elbows tucked back.
- Once your shoulder blades are just a little bit off the ground, hold the position for one second. Then slowly move back down to the floor.
- Complete 15 repetitions. Do 2-3 sets every single day. If it gets easy, consider adding reps. A tight core will offer great benefits to your lower back pain.
~ Lying Supermans
As your back pain begins to dwindle, you’ll want to start directly strengthening the spine. One of the easiest ways to do just that? Lying Supermans. This may be the best exercise to strengthen the back extensors when your back hurts.
Plus, lying Supermans help hip extension and flexibility, too. As such, this exercise is a two-for-one back pain reducer. After a couple of weeks with my physical therapist, we began incorporating this exercise into my rehab and the results were almost immediately noticeable.
Here’s how to perform lying Supermans properly:
- Lie on your stomach on the floor. Extend your arms flat on the floor in front of you with your palms facing down.
- Slowly lift both your hands and feet about 15-20 cm off the ground. Only go high enough until you feel a minor contraction in your lower back.
- Hold for two seconds. Then slowly let your legs and hands go back to the floor.
- Your bellybutton should be slightly off the floor at the top of this movement, as your core should be engaged.
- Complete 10 repetitions. Do 2-4 sets each rehab session.
~ Lose Weight
Ok, this isn’t one of the best exercises for lower back pain, but I cannot stress how important it is. If you’re overweight, then it’s no surprise your back is hurting.
In fact, many people find their back pain goes away without any rehab when they lose 5-15 kg. The less weight, the less pressure on your lower back. Sometimes our health and pain management isn’t rocket science.
I stopped lifting weights for 50 days or so when I was rehabbing my lower back. As such, I lost nearly 10 kg. Most of it was water weight, as I stopped taking pre-workout and protein shakes. But I lost some muscle mass, too, which sucks.
There was some good news, though. The combination of losing weight and strengthening my lower back and core completely rid me of pain.
If you’re truly suffering from nonspecific back pain, try losing a few pounds. Cut your carbs. Add some light cardio like a stationary sitting bike. It might not be what you wanted to hear, but it could be just what your body needs.
Exercises For Lower Back Pain Relief: Get Better ASAP!
By following the tips and tricks above, you will begin to feel better. The exercises for lower back pain relief above work incredibly well and will heal nonspecific pain when administered properly. The key is what you do when you're healthy again...
Once you're healthy, don’t take things for granted. You can move big weight, but do it properly. Get yourself a great weightlifting belt and protect your lower back from injury when working in the 1-4 rep range. If you've been in the gym for over a year, there's no reason not to.
Simply put, you’re better off not getting injured then rehabbing. That’s why we believe in using weightlifting belts here at Gunsmith Fitness. Check out selection out and stay healthy for the long haul!