The Press Up
This exercise is designed to reduce strain on low back muscles, discs, and joint alignments. The therapeutic movement may be accompanied by increased pain with improved function. One of the goals with press ups is to gain pain-free extension, allowing the back muscles and joints to become bio-mechanically aligned.
The Side Glide
This exercise follows the same principles as the press up and the back bend. Side glides are a more specific exercise for individuals whose pain increases with lateral flexion (bending sideways) instead of extension (bending backwards). The idea with the side glide is to bend into the pain, place your unaffected side against the wall and press into your injured side with your hand.
The Back Bend
This exercise is a modification of the press up discussed earlier. Back bends are also designed to reduce the load on the joints, muscles, and discs of the low back. When done daily and even hourly, this exercise will increase your recovery time.
Rules for Lower Back
RULE # 1: No Bending Forward
The natural curvature of the low back disappears when the spine is bent. The vertebrae straighten creating pressure on the intervertebral discs, thus pushing the soft center of the disc outward thereby pressing onto the nerve.
RULE # 2 Limit Time Sitting
Again, the natural curvature of the back is diminished when the legs are bent and sitting involves bent legs. If you absolutely have to sit, you must keep the curve of your spine by sitting up straight, chest out, using a lumbar support pillow. Sitting more than 20 minutes with lower back pain will cause more inflammation and more pain.
RULE # 3: Don't Sleep in Fetal Position
What happens to your legs when you are sleeping in the fetal position? That’s right, you end up bending at the middle and straightening that lumbar curvature again. It is imperative that you teach yourself to fall asleep correctly. Positions that will not hurt your back and allow healing to occur include: on your back with no pillow under your knees, on your side with a pillow between your knees and legs straight, on your stomach.
Lower Back Pain Prevention Tips
This position maintains the low back’s natural curve and prevents bulging discs from pressing onto nerves. It is a “safe zone” position for hot backs and also a good prevention method for those that spend many hours sitting.
The proper lifting technique is critical to a healthy back. Bending and twisting are the two most commonly used techniques to lift, unfortunately they also put undue loading stress onto the tissues and discs of the back. Pressure from incorrect technique will produce micro-tears in the cartilaginous material of the disc and also in the muscle fibers of the back, leading to eventual bulges and scar tissue. The tried and true “Lift with your legs” technique is correct and produces the least amount of load on the back. Keep your back straight, overstep your position to the object to be lifted, lean back to pick object up, stand up using your legs.
Sitting up straight keeps pressure on your low back and neck areas at a minimum. Maintain the curvature of your low back by keeping your chest up and use a lumbar support pillow. Do not allow your back to straighten out, remember, this increases the pressure in your back and making you more prone to injury.
Do not lay on your side curled up in the fetal position. This action diminishes the lumbar curve that you work so hard to maintain. The safest position to lay down in is flat on the back with no pillow under the knees. Side laying is okay as long as a pillow is placed between the knees and the legs are kept straight. This means no bending at the waist with straight legs either! Either position is allowed and will keep your back healthy for years to come.