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  • Chesapeake Bay Aquatic &
    Physical Therapy Articles

    Remedies for Lower Back Pain

    About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their life. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed days at work.

    Most low back pain is acute, or short term, and lasts a few days to a few weeks. It tends to resolve on its own with treatment at home and there is no remaining loss of function.

    Bed rest should be limited for those experiencing back pain. Individuals should begin stretching exercises and resume normal daily activities as soon as possible, while avoiding movements that make the pain worse. Evidence suggests that bed rest alone may make back pain worse and can lead to secondary complications such as depression, decreased muscle tone, and blood clots in the legs.

    Below is a list of some common exercises given to those experiencing low back pain:

    1) Supine hamstring stretch

    Setup
    Begin lying on your back with your legs straight, holding the end of a strap that is looped around one foot.
    Movement
    Use the strap to pull your leg up toward your body until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your upper leg. Hold this position.
    Tip
    Make sure to keep your other leg straight on the ground during the stretch.
    Hold 2 times for 30 seconds each. Perform 2 times a day, 7 days a week.

    2) Supine piriformis stretch

    Setup
    Begin by lying on your back with both knees bent and feet resting flat on the ground. Cross one leg over the other so your foot is resting on your knee.
    Movement
    Grab your leg just below the knee and slowly draw it towards your opposite shoulder until you feel a stretch in your buttocks.
    Tip
    Do not allow your back to twist or bend excessively during the stretch.
    Hold 2 times for 30 seconds each. Perform 2 times a day, 7 days a week.

    3) Posterior pelvic tilt

    Setup
    Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and your hands resting on your hip bones.
    Movement
    Slowly tilt your pelvis backward, monitoring the movement with your hands. Then return to the starting position and repeat.
    Tip
    Make sure to focus the movement only on your pelvis, and keep the rest of your back still during the exercise.
    Hold for 5 seconds. Perform 20 times, 7 days a week.

    4) Lower trunk rotations

    Setup
    Begin lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your arms straight out to your sides.
    Movement
    Lower your knees to one side, return to center, and repeat on the other side.
    Tip
    Make sure to activate your core muscles and keep both of your shoulders in contact with the ground throughout the exercise.
    Hold 10 seconds. Perform 10 to each side, 7 days a week.

    5) Bridging

    Setup
    Begin lying on your back with your arms resting at your sides, your legs bent at the knees and your feet flat on the ground.
    Movement
    Tighten your abdominals and slowly lift your hips off the floor into a bridge position, keeping your back straight.
    Tip
    Make sure to keep your trunk stiff throughout the exercise and your arms flat on the floor.
    Hold for 5 seconds. Perform 20 times, 7 days a week.

    Sources:
    Medbridge
    https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet