Whether it’s sharp pain, stiffness, tightness, or general aches and pains, lower back pain is one of the most common conditions many people complain about.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 80 percent of adults experience back pain during their lifetime. Age is one of the biggest factors as low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. As people grow older, loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease.
Listed below are the three most common reasons we develop back pain as we continue to age according to the Cleveland Clinic.
- Degenerative changes in discs and joints — Loss of moisture and resilience can make discs less effective as shock absorbents.
- Spinal stenosis — The canal through which your spinal cord passes can narrow because of disc degeneration, thickened ligaments or arthritic facet joints (usually in the lower back).
- Spondylolisthesis — One spinal vertebra can slip forward onto the vertebra below.
As many people develop these issues, they are often convinced that they have no control over their health due to an MRI that revealed discs issues, thus they decide to have surgery performed on their back. However, a recent study conducted in April 2017 concluded that non-invasive options are better when dealing with back pain.
Anytime you deal with back pain, doing nothing is most likely making it worse. Whether it’s a simple walk around the block or a few mobility exercises, getting up and performing some sort of movement is important as it’ll help stretch, strengthen, and stabilize muscles that help support the lower back.
Here are 4 exercises you can perform at home to help keep your lower back strong and stable!
- Pelvic Tilts
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Next, arch your low back and then flatten it, holding for a couple seconds. Your pelvis should tilt forward and back during the movement. Move through a comfortable range of motion with no pain.
- Dead Bug
While lying on your back with your knees and hips bent to 90 degrees, use your stomach muscles and maintain pelvic neutral position. Hold pelvic neutral and then slowly straighten out a leg without touching the floor. At the same time raise an opposite arm over head. Try not allow your spine to arch during this movement and to remain flat. Return to starting position and then repeat on the opposite side.
- Bird Dog
While on your hands and knees, slowly lift your leg and opposite arm upwards holding for 1-2 seconds. Then slowly return to the starting position followed by once again lifting your leg and opposite arm. Repeat on both sides. Having a narrow base will compromise your balance, thus, make sure you keep your knees and shoulders shoulder width apart.
Get on your hands and knees with your hands placed shoulder width apart and knees under your hips. Slowly round the spine, pulling the belly button towards the spine (cat position). Then, slowly drop your belly towards the floor, bringing the shoulder blades together and opening your chest, lifting the chin gently towards the sky. Roll the shoulders back and down and gently engage your abdominal muscles to support the low back (cow position)