Exercises to Help Low Back Pain & Sciatica
Below are a list of a few exercises in different phases which means no matter where you are in your back pain journey, this article in some way can help you. Please note that this is just a few exercises and there are many to help with your pain.
Relief of Pain Exercises
Standing McKenzie Extension – This is an exercise to help provide relief in the spine and to help the normal curvature of the spine and is important because many low back injuries occur as a result of too much curving and/or bending of the spine. You may be able to do this exercise when you do not have the opportunity to sit for long periods of time. To complete, extend from your hips and spine, NOT from your rib cage. Extending from the rib cage will target the upper lumbar spine that is not often associated with your nerve root irritation.
Static Side Opener on the Floor – Complete this relief exercise with the AFFECTED SIDE UP! Place a rolled up towel underneath your hip bone. This will elevate the hip and cause a gapping effect on the affected side which allows the nerve hole to open thus taking pressure off of it. Allow your feet to fall and relax into this position for about 30 seconds. Take a break from this for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat this 3x.
Correcting the Problem Exercises
Dead Bug – This is a core building exercise that is designed to help create spine stiffness. By laying on the floor with your feet and hands up, you do not add any curvature to the spine and are keeping it in a relatively safe position. To start, engage your belly muscles. Keep your knees over your hips and try to avoid your knees over the waistline as this will force your to engage the core much more. Begin the exercise by squeezing your belly muscles and you can stay in the position if you like for a certain period of time. To advance this exercise you can grab a belt, towel, band and “PULL it apart.” This helps to engage the Latissimus dorsi muscle. You may also pull it apart while pulling down towards your waistline. To continue to advance this exercise you can alternate your legs.
Frozen Skater – This exercise is done balancing on one leg and aimed to help gluteal activation but is also a full body exercise. This is to be done max reps on one side a time with 30-60 seconds rest. To make sure you feel the glut activation, bend the knee and push the hip out a bit. In addition, you may want to swing you back leg towards the center to help engage the gluts.