When you no longer have acute pain, try these gentle exercises, which should help you recover faster and lessen the chance of lower back pain returning. Stop if you experience any pain.
1. Get onto the floor on your hands and knees; tighten your stomach muscles. Raise one leg off the floor and hold it straight out behind you: hold for five seconds, then lower your leg and switch to the other leg. Repeat eight to 12 times on each leg.
2. Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Push with your hands so that your shoulders begin to lift off the floor. If it’s comfortable, put your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders so you can rest in this position for several seconds. If your pain eases when you’re sitting, try these two exercises to strengthen the stomach and stretch muscles and ligaments in the back.
If the pain gets better when you stand or walk, try these two exercises to stretch tissues along the front of the spine and strengthen the back muscles.
3. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your 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. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to four times with each leg.
4. Lie on your back with knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor, about 30cm from your buttocks. Cross arms over chest. Raise your shoulder blades off the floor. Keep your head in line with your body – don’t press your chin to your chest. Hold for one or two seconds, then slowly lower yourself back down. Repeat eight to 12 times.
Avoid these exercises: straight-leg sit-ups; lifting both legs while lying on your back; lifting heavy weights above the waist; toe touches while standing.
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