Exercise for low back pain

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

There are multiple exercise regimens recommended for people with back pain.

Theories about the benefits of exercise include: exercise increases the amount of endorphins; it can improve back health and ease of movement; it can stabilize the core that supports the back. The purpose of most programs are:

• Strengthening abdominal and back muscles (the core)
• Conditioning muscles to prevent injury
• Using stretching and movement to reduce stiffness and spasm
• Improving fitness, strength, and posture
• Reducing stress

Brief rest (24-48 hours) is helpful for acute low back pain. Too much rest and lack of movement can lead to reduced fitness and make back pain worse.

Here are a few simple exercises. Do not do these exercises unless you have checked with your doctor first. Also, don't do these if they make you feel worse. Start slow.

Torso Bend- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on the small of your back. With knees straight, bend backwards at the waist. Bend as far as possible and hold for one or two seconds. This is a nice stretch.

Crunches: With your hands at the back of your head, slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor. Hold that position for a ten count. Do five reps. Do not pull on your neck to lift yourself up. Use your abs to perform the movement. This strengthens the frontal core muscles.

Wall Glide. Stand with your back firm against the well. Feet about shoulder width apart. Keeping your back against the wall bend at the knees and slide down the wall until your knees bend to about 90 degrees. Hold that position for a count of five. Slide back up the wall. Do five reps. This strengthens the quads which will also help with your back.

Thigh Raise: Lie on the floor on your stomach. Lift your left leg as far as you can without pushing too hard. Hold it for a count to 10. Lower. Do 5 reps each leg. This stretches your hanstrings.

Backwards Leg Swing: Using a chair for balance, lift your left leg back and up. Keep your knee straight. Hold for 10 seconds. Do 5 reps with each leg. This strengthens the low back muscles.

One Legged Lift: Lie on your back on the floor arms flat at your side. Keeping it straight, lift your left leg off the floor and hold for a count of 10. Do 5 reps each leg.

In addition to stretching and strengthening, it is also a good idea to start a non-impact aerobic exercise program. Walking with well-cushioned shoes is probably the simplest exercise for most people.

An elliptical trainer is a piece of exercise equipment that is valuable and offers a very nice low impact, back-friendly workout.

People with low back syndromes should avoid standard stationary bicycles (recumbent bikes are better) and rowing machines.

Get more information about exercise for low back pain and related issues as well as...

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Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

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