Resting may seem like the obvious choice for treating lower back pain. However, physical activity can offer you the most benefits to help you recover. We don’t mean that you should go back on the field or court if you’re an athlete — rather, the lower back rehabilitation exercises most often recommended by sports medicine doctors and physical therapists.
Physical therapy can help athletes and other patients recover from physical injuries, surgeries, accidents, and illnesses including pain attributed to the lower back. To help you regain mobility and reduce your back pain, listed below are some of the most common lower back rehabilitation exercises.
- Partial crunches
Partial crunches can assist in the strengthening of your stomach and back muscles. Laying on the floor with your knees bent, keep your feet flat and cross your arms over your chest. Raise your shoulders off of the floor while tightening your stomach muscles and breath out as you lift off the floor.
Hold this position for a brief second before lowering yourself slowly back down. Repeat this exercise between 8 to 12 times. Your lower back should be relieved of stress in this exercise and so it’s important that you maintain proper technique by keeping your feet, tailbone, and lower back on the floor at all times.
Do not perform full sit ups as this can cause stress and further pain to your lower back.
- Hamstring stretches
To perform hamstring stretches, lie on your back and bend one knee while keeping the foot of the bent leg on the floor. With your other leg, loop a towel under the ball of the foot and gently bend your knee up towards your chest.
Then gradually extend your leg while pulling back on the towel until you feel a gentle stretch along the back of your leg. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and the return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 2 to 4 times on both legs. As with the partial sit-ups, keep your tailbone and lower back on the floor.
- Wall sits
Wall sits are a great exercise for a back rehabilitation program because they allow you to experience the effect of a squat without causing stress to your lower back. To perform a proper wall sit, stand approximately 10 to 12 inches away from the wall. Gradually lean back until you can press your back flat against the wall.
Then, while your lower back is still pressed to the wall, lower yourself until your knees are bent in a squatting position and hold the position for up to 10 seconds. Gently slide back up along the wall to return to a starting position and repeat the exercise 8 to 12 times.
While you’re still recovering from a lower back injury it may be best for you to have a spotter in case you have trouble sliding back up along the wall.
By performing these common lower back rehabilitation exercises on a regular basis with routine visits to a physical therapist and sports medicine clinic, you can reduce your lower back pain and regain mobility. Over time with treatment, you can return to your sport and get back to the activities you love most!