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Exercises for Your Low Back

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Updated June 05, 2014

Man rubbing his lower back. Back pain concept
Courtney Keating/E+/Getty Images

Low back pain affects nearly everyone at one time or another. Studies indicate that postural awareness and exercise are two of the most important things you can do to manage low back pain. By keeping proper posture and good mobility and strength in your low back, you can also help prevent low back pain from occurring.

Remember, if you have low back pain that lasts more that a few weeks or that limits your ability to function normally, visit your doctor, physical therapist, or health care provider.

Here are a few simple exercises to try:

  1. Prone lying: Simply lie down on your stomach and rest. Stay in this position for 1-2 minutes and breathe slowly and deeply. After a few minutes in this position, move on to the next exercise.

  2. Prone prop-ups: While on your stomach, prop yourself up onto your elbows. Stay in this position for 1-2 minutes and breathe slowly and deeply in this position. Once this position becomes comfortable, move onto the next exercise.

  3. Press-ups: While lying on your stomach, put your hands flat on the floor under your shoulders, like you are going to start a push up. Press your shoulders up and let your hips and low back relax. Your hips should remain in contact with the floor as you press up. Hold the end position for 1-2 seconds and return fully to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions.

  4. Pelvic tilt: While lying on your back, roll your pelvis backwards and press your low back flat into the floor. You should feel your abdominal and buttock muscles tighten as your perform this. Hold the position for 1-2 seconds, and slowly relax back to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions.

  5. Postural correction: Remember that the most common cause of low back pain is poor sitting posture. It is very important to maintain proper sitting posture if you have low back pain. Use a small pillow or towel roll in the small of your back to help support your spine while sitting. Maintaining proper posture is also a great way to prevent low back pain in the future.

These exercises should be performed three to four times per day when you are experiencing acute low back pain. When your pain has subsided, perform the exercises once per day to help maintain a healthy spine and to help prevent future low back pain.

If you are feeling low back pain, a self-care plan to manage the pain and restore mobility is essential. By keeping your spine mobile and strong and by maintaining good posture, you may be able to quickly return to your normal activities and lifestyle.

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