Lower Back Pain: How Exercise Helps Avoid: Toe

Lower Back Pain: How Exercise Helps
You may feel like resting, but moving is good for your back. Exercises for lower back pain can
strengthen back, stomach, and leg muscles. They help support your spine, relieving back pain.
Always ask your doctor before doing any exercise for back pain. Depending on the cause and
intensity of your pain, some exercises may not be recommended and can be harmful.
Images and copy from www.webmd.com
Avoid: Toe Touches
Exercise is good for low back pain -- but not all exercises are beneficial. Any mild discomfort felt at
the start of these exercises should disappear as muscles become stronger. But if pain is more than
mild and lasts more than 15 minutes during exercise, patients should stop exercising and contact a
doctor. Some exercises may aggravate pain. Standing toe touches, for example, put greater stress on
the disks and ligaments in your spine. They can also overstretch lower back muscles and hamstrings.
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Try: Partial Crunches
Some exercises can aggravate back pain and should be avoided when you have acute low back pain.
Partial crunches can help strengthen your back and stomach muscles. Lie with knees bent and feet
flat on the floor. Cross arms over your chest or put hands behind your neck. Tighten stomach
muscles and raise your shoulders off the floor. Breathe out as you raise your shoulders. Don't lead
with your elbows or use arms to pull your neck off the floor. Hold for a second, then slowly lower back
down. Repeat 8 to 12 times. Proper form prevents excessive stress on your low back. Your feet,
tailbone, and lower back should remain in contact with the mat at all times.
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Avoid: Sit-ups
Although you might think sit-ups can strengthen your core or abdominal muscles, most people tend to
use muscles in the hips when doing sit-ups. Sit-ups may also put a lot of pressure on the discs in your
spine.
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Try: Hamstring Stretches
Lie on your back and bend one knee. Loop a towel under the ball of your foot. Straighten your knee
and slowly pull back on the towel. You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg. Hold for
at least 15 to 30 seconds. Do 2 to 4 times for each leg.
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Avoid: Leg Lifts
Leg lifts are sometimes suggested as an exercise to "strengthen your core" or abdominal muscles.
Exercising to restore strength to your lower back can be very helpful in relieving pain yet lifting both
legs together while lying on your back can make back pain worse. Instead, try lying on your back with
one leg straight and the other leg bent at the knee. Slowly lift the straight leg up about 6 inches and
hold briefly. Lower leg slowly. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.
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Try: Wall Sits
Stand 10 to 12 inches from the wall, then lean back until your back is flat against the wall. Slowly slide
down until your knees are slightly bent, pressing your lower back into the wall. Hold for a count of 10,
then carefully slide back up the wall. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
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Try: Press-up Back Extensions
Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Push with your hands so your shoulders
begin to lift off the floor. If it's comfortable for you, put your elbows on the floor directly under your
shoulders and hold this position for several seconds.
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Try: Bird Dog
Start on your hands and knees, and tighten your stomach muscles. Lift and extend one leg behind
you. Keep hips level. Hold for 5 seconds, and then switch to the other leg. Repeat 8 to 12 times for
each leg, and try to lengthen the time you hold each lift. Try lifting and extending your opposite arm
for each repetition.
This exercise is a great way to learn how to stabilize the low back during movement of the arms and
legs. While doing this exercise don't let the lower back muscles sag. Only raise the limbs to heights
where the low back position can be maintained.
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Try: Knee to Chest
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest, keeping the
other foot flat on the floor. Keep your lower back pressed to the floor, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Then lower your knee and repeat with the other leg. Do this 2 to 4 times for each leg.
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Try: Pelvic Tilts
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Tighten your stomach by pulling in and imagining
your belly button moving toward your spine. You’ll feel your back pressing into the floor, and your hips
and pelvis rocking back. Hold for 10 seconds while breathing in and out smoothly. Repeat 8 to 12
times.
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Try: Bridging
Lie on your back with knees bent and just your heels on the floor. Push your heels into the floor,
squeeze your buttocks, and lift your hips off the floor until shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight
line. Hold about 6 seconds, and then slowly lower hips to the floor and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 8
to 12 times. Avoid arching your lower back as your hips move upward. Avoid overarching by
tightening your abdominal muscles prior and throughout the lift.
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Lifting Weights May Help
Done properly, lifting weights doesn't usually hurt your back. In fact, it may help relieve chronic back
pain. But when you have acute (sudden) back pain, putting extra stress on back muscles and
ligaments could raise risk of further injury. Ask your doctor whether you should lift weights, and which
exercises to avoid.
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Try: Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise strengthens your lungs, heart, and blood vessels and can help you lose weight.
Walking, swimming, and biking may all help reduce back pain. Start with short sessions and build up
over time. If your back is hurting, try swimming, where the water supports your body. Avoid any
strokes that twist your body.
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Try: Some Pilates Moves
Pilates combines stretching, strengthening, and core abdominal exercises. Under the instruction of an
experienced teacher, it may help some people with back pain. Be sure to tell your teacher about your
back pain, because you may need to skip some moves
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