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Exercises For Lower Back Pain And Sciatica – Switching Gears

STEP 1.  let’s start off with a hamstring stretch.

Benefits:

  • Increase the length of your hamstring muscles
  • Your hamstrings have a lot to do with the mobility of your pelvic to reduce the tension in your back

How to do:

  1. Place your right leg on top of a chair.
  2. Bend your knee just slightly
  3. Lean forward with your upper body
  4. Try to touch your toes
  5. Hold it for 20 seconds
  6. Repeat 3 times a day

STEP 2. Let’s get into stretching your back now.

Benefits: 

  • Stretches your hamstrings and lower back
  • Loosens up your back

How to do: 

  1. Sit on a plane surface.
  2. Extend your legs out in front of you
  3. With Both hands, reach out in front of you, and try to reach your toes.
  4. Lean forward until you feel a slight pull.
  5. Hold it for 20 seconds
  6. Repeat for 3 times a day

NOTE: The more you do this, the more out Back will become flexible, and you’ll find that you can do it over and over again.

Now that you are much more flexible, let’s focus on your posture.

STEP 3. This next stretch will increase your posture when you are standing. This is great if you’re already flexible.

  1. Standing up, place your feet shoulder width apart
  2. Place your hands on your belly
  3. tuck in your belly
  4. Slightly lean back into your knees, keeping your feet planted on the ground
  5. Stretch your chest and head up

NOTE: Within two weeks you will notice that your posture is much better. It took me about 12 days to be able to stand up without feeling back pain. Keep up the hard work! It will pay off!

You’ve now increased your mobility and posture, what’s next?

STEP 4. Keep your back sustained and stable.

Benefits:

  • A stable back will not bring back your pain.

How to do:

  1. Lay on your back
  2.  Bend your knees
  3. Put your arms crossed over your chest
  4. Lift your pelvis up
  5. Hold it for 15 seconds
  6. Repeat 3 times, 2 times a day

NOTE: You’ll notice that you will feel better moving forward, and lifting will become MUCH EASIER.

STEP 5. In this stretch I want to focus on increasing the strength of your back.

Benefit:

  • It will increase your resistance to the forces you will face when stepping.

How to do:

  1. Lay down on the ground by facing the floor
  2. Place your arms in front of you and under your head
  3. Lift your arms along with your upper body
  4. Make sure your feet are on the ground
  5. Repeat this 10 times

So there you have it. This is my Physical therapist formula. Stick by it, and abide by it for your “nonspecific chronic pain”. 3 months is all it can take.

I’ve continued the exercises you can do if you have regular constant chronic pain below.

Hamstring stretch:

  1. Put your heel of one leg on top of a chair
  2. Tilt your pelvis forward
  3. Keep your back straight when leaning forward
  4. Reach with both hands at about 5 inches apart from your toe
  5. Feel a pull on your leg that’s on the chair
  6. Hold it for 30 seconds, and switch

Reverse Curl Ups:

  1. Lye on your back
  2. Arms extended to your left and right
  3. Palms down
  4. At the same time, bend and raise your knees to 90 degrees, feet being off the floor.
  5. Now bring both knees to your chest, lifting your hips off the floor
  6. Release, bring them back down
  7. Repeat

This is great because you don’t want to give your muscles the chance to get comfortable to one side of your bide. That will make it harder for you to unlock your movements.

5. Strength training exercises. We want to work around the back muscle, not through them. Start with this lightweight exercise

Lateral Raise:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells, lightweight preferred
  2. Hold them in front of you, elbows bent slightly
  3. Raise your arms up and out at the same time until they are at your shoulder height
  4. Hold it there
  5. Return to starting position
  6. Repeat

The Squat.

-If you can go up and down, over time you will be able to go up a flight of stairs.

  1. No weights
  2. Begin with placing your two feet about 4 inches with apart.
  3. Back straight, chin and face level with your shoulder
  4. Bring your body down bending your knees, let gravity easily pull you down
  5. Go down until you can feel comfortable
  6. Arms extended in front of you
  7. Slowly bring your body up, and all the way
  8. Repeat for a total of 3 reps

6. Aerobic exercises. 

Treadmill. A treadmill is a good substitute for not being able to walk outside. Sometime my introverted personality kicks in and I’d rather be at home on my machine. Make sure you keep your straight up and suck in your stomach. Start slow. When you feel pain, stop immediately.  I believe you’ll find this video on how your treadmill rhythm going:

The elliptical. Much like the treadmill follow the same guideline of keeping your straight up, and begin to move slowly. If you feel pain, step off the machine.

I checked in with my doctor. What he told me next was obvious, but to my competitive nature it didn’t make sense.new stretches out, and to combine my exercise accordingly and structured.

I was advised to slow down my intensity, and to begin low. All the soccer I played would need to be put on pause for about a month and a half.

When it comes to exercising, there are many exercises that are going to make you feel good, but just because they do it doesn’t mean they are the best for you. Depending on the type of injury you have, you’all have to go about your exercising more accordingly.

If your pain is keeping you from getting up you should:

1. Rest for a couple days

If you can stand up and walk around you should:

2. Attempt to start exercising

The athlete in you:

Are you trying to get back into action? Focus on a combination of ab stretching and working the hips.

  • Planks:

How to do it:

  1.  Place yourself in the push up position
  2. Bend your elbows to rest your weight on the forearms
  3. At this point your body should be as straight as a line
  4. Hold this position for at least a minute
  5. Come down.
  6. Switch sides
  7. Repeat
  • Cobra

How to do it:

  1. Lie facedown on the surface of the ground
  2. Place your legs straight, right behind you
  3. Place your arms straight down, and next to your sides
  4. Your palms down
  5. Squeeze your butt muscle
  6. Raise your head, chest, arms, and legs off the floor
  7. Now rotate your arms, having your thumbs facing the ceiling
  8. Hold for 30 seconds
  9. Relax for 5 seconds
  10. Repeat for 3 more reps

Do you have Sciatica?

Sciatica pain needs to be treated more carefully. It needs to be controlled. The goal is to re-condition you so that you prevent further flare-ups in your future.

Start with these stretches:

  • Reclining Pigeon Pose

This will open up your hips.

How to do it:

  1. Lay down on your back
  2. Bring your right leg upward to a right angle.
  3. Place both of your hands behind your thigh
  4. Lock in your fingers
  5. Lift your left leg
  6. Place your right ankle on top of your left knee
  7. Stretch that Pifimoris muscle
  8. Switch legs

There are more versions of the pigeon pose that require you to sit down instead. You’ll want to talk with your Physical therapist and see what more you can do at that point. But if you are ready you can do these:

  • Forward Pigeon Pose

 How to do it:

  1. On all fours, kneel down.
  2. You’ll pick up your right leg and move it forwards in front of your body, and on the ground
  3. Your lower leg is on the ground
  4. Make sure your left leg is stretched out all the way back on the ground
  5. Breathe in, and lean foreward over your front leg.
  6. Let your arms be your support
  7. Repeat for your other side
  • Knee to Opposite shoulder

-The goal here is to relive your pain by targeting your butt and the piformis muscle.

How to do it:

  1. Lie down on your back
  2. Extend your legs.
  3. Feet pointing up.
  4. Move your arms to the front of your knee and gran them, locking in your fingers
  5. Slowly bring your right leg to you and towards your shoulder.
  6. Hold it for 30 seconds at a comfortable level
  7. Feel the stretch
  8. Repeat with 3 reps
  9. Switch legs and repeat the process
  • Hamstring stretch:

How to do it:

  1. Put your heel of one leg on top of a chair
  2. Tilt your pelvis forward.
  3. Keep your back straight when leaning forward
  4. Reach with both hands at about 5 inches apart from your toe.
  5. Feel a pull on your leg that’s on the chair.
  6. Hold it for 30 seconds, and switch.

What if your pain was nonspecific?

You could have a backward motion known as Posterior pelvic tilt, or a forward motion in Anterior Pelvic Tilt

When your pelvis disrupts your mobility there are certain exercises you must get into:

For posterior mixed with some anterior, you should follow these stretches one after another for maximum results:

  1. Leg Lunges

It builds up your:

  • hamstrings
  • butt(glutes)
  • quadriceps

How to do:

  1. Stand up on a plane surface
  2. Keep your feet together
  3. Place your leg leg out in front of you
  4. Bend your left leg to a 90 degree angle.
  5. Your other knee needs to be touching the floor, while the other leg is kept at 90 degrees
  6. Change legs
  7. Repeat for 3 sets, 10-12 lunges

Beware: You may not be able to bend your knees from bad knees. Skip this if you can’t.

2. The Static Hamstring Stretch

It builds up your:

  • leg strength by reducing stiffness

How to do:

  1. Find a chair without a cushion to sit on
  2. Stretch out your left leg in front of you
  3. Bend down, reach for your toes till a light pull
  4. Hold for 20 seconds
  5. Switch legs and repeat

Beware: If you go down too far it can further pull on your muscle, and cause more injury.

3. Superman

It builds up your:

  • lower back by strengthening
  •  gluteus maximus

How to do:

  1. Lie on a plane surface, with your stomach facing the ground
  2. Place your arms out in front of you
  3. lift up your chest and hold it for 30 seconds.
  4. Come back down
  5. Repeat it for 3 sets

Now that I covered posterior pelvic tilt, lets get onto anterior pelvic tilt:

There is ONE specific anterior pelvic tilt exercise that provides me with the most relief. I want to share it with you right now.

  1. The Squat

“Tilt your pelvis in the opposite direction”

This does two things:

  • Takes pressure off your facet joints
  • Opens up your hips

How to do:

  1.  Without weights, lower your body to the very bottom
  2. Relax there
  3. rest your arms in front
  4. tuck your knees in
  5. legs tucked in
  6. Hold it for a minute
  7. Now come up

This can be a little more advanced because you are lowering your body to the round more, and holding it for a minute.

Otherwise try this:

The Half kneeling Hip Flexor stretch

This stretch builds up your:

  • hip flexors
  • increases hip flexibility

How to do:

  1. Start on a plane surface
  2. Put your leg out in front of you
  3. Lunge until your left knee is rested on the ground
  4. Use a towel under your knee if uncomfortable
  5. Your right leg needs to be a t a 90 degree angle
  6. Now bring your pelvis forward, tightening your butt, and abdominal muscles
  7. Go until you feel tension in your hip(hip flexor)
  8. Hold or 30 seconds
  9. Repeat 5 times
  10. Switch your legs

Bridge:

Builds up your:

  • hamstrings
  • and gluteus muscles

How to do:

  1. Lie on the floor flat, with your back to it
  2. Bend your legs in
  3. Keeps your hips width apart
  4. Arms by your sides
  5. Now push your heels onto the floor, and lift up your pelvis until you are in a straight line
  6. Hold it for 3 seconds
  7. Come back down
  8. Repeat this at least 5-10 times

Sciatica Stretch With The Use of A Tennis Ball

Back pain and sciatica usually go hand-in-hand and if they are not cared for together with all the exercises you just witnessed up above, it can disrupt anything you try to do in your precious life.

We only have so much time on this plant called Earth, and it’s better to live it pain free and get things done the first time around than to have to wait years before we wake up. With that being said…

Let’s get that mind numbing pinched nerve off your back and off for good!

Using a tennis ball is no secret these days, and it’s a huge hit thanks to the fact that it can:

  • Precisely with pin point accuracy untie knots in smaller to reach areas.
  • A tennis ball is a great substitute for a regular massage because unlike conventional massages that reach larger tissue areas of your back, a tennis ball goes right to the actual knots

Another term that thistype of massaging is known as is called Myofascial Release.

How is a tennis ball so effective you might ask?

A Tennis ball integrates the benefits of a massage, acupressure, and reflexology. When you place the tennis ball on a certain part of your body whether that be your lower back or elsewhere, you are doing two things:

  1. Relieving muscle tension
  2. Relieving soreness

And even better, the tennis ball will focus more on your pirifimoris muscle which is the closest muscle to your sciatic nerve.

The best way for me to explain this type of exercise and massage is like getting a shoulder or neck massage…

At first you’ll feel a pinch and a tight squeeze that makes you cringe and jump, but it just feels so good. By the time you are done, you walk out of your session like you had shoulder and a neck replacement.

Here’s how to do a sciatic nerve stretch with a tennis ball step-b-step:

  1. Lie down on your back. With a tennis ball in your hand, place it underneath your glutes(butt).
  2. Relax your muscles and then run up and down your body into the ball, applying firm pressure.
  3. Hold this position from 30-60 seconds. Increase time by 5 seconds if you can’t make the full 60 from the start.

What’s The Outcome?

Overall, what’s happening is that you are reducing muscle tension, improving on muscle soreness, while improving upon your mobility and blood circulation to this area of your pain.

Whether you have acute, sub-acute, chronic, or sciatica nerve pain, there are ways that exercising will make you not only feel well, but make you a “mechanically” well oiled machine

Stay Active and You WILL Strengthen

The thought of exercising might not excite you, but it will make you mentally stronger. You’ll think that it is better for you to grab the closest back supporter and take a rest, when quite actually this can only worsen the pain. There are numerous accounts as to why you don’t exercise, and its not because of the threshold of your pain but because you’re not being re-active.

Good Ol Jolly, there is so much temptation to just sit down and grab a bite. This is not the solution. It will only create a distance between you exercise and getting better right away. By changing your habits to best suite your exercising needs, you’ll be able to perform therm much easier.

You know that sitting will only cause your pain to worsen. Exercising can be right for you at any level of injury. The factor is what exercises you should be doing to improve yourself.

There are both good and bad exercises for your pain, and I’ve given you the best things you can do for your pain threshold.

I hope you have enjoyed my article. If you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or an opinion, leave me a comment below, I would like to hear about it. I’ll get back to you right away!

The Remove Back Pain System

The next part of the Remove Back Pain System will take you into understanding your pelvis and nerve pain a little more. Your pelvis has a large part to do with your sciatica.

Continue with the pelvis and sciatica article here.


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Michael
 

Hi My name is Michael Granados, I am of the age of 26 years, and I’m a back pain specialist, enthusiast, and expert. All of us have had or will have lower back pain at least once in our lives, and whether it’s acute or a more chronic condition, you can depend on us here at Remove Back Pain to take great care of you. I ensure you’ll take the right and most appropriate steps for you to heal the safest and most productive way. Get ready for a better lifestyle!

  • Brandon says:

    I’ve been experiencing lower back pain lately and I must say this is the first guide I’ve come across that includes so much detail! I love the fact that walking is a low-impact activity and even I’ve been lacking in this department. I’ve been lifting weights but in all honesty I think it’s doing more harm than good. I’ll start from the bottom and work my way up. Thanks for all your help!

    • Michael says:

      Hi Brandon,

      I want a full depth analysis. I want to share my extensive knowledge and experiences at the most I can. Right? Walking at its empirical form can be made so easy for anyone. Exclude the lifting for the moment and like you said start lower on that totem pole. You’ll take off and realize you can get into weights in no time, seriously lol. I was the same way a couple years back, I feel it. You’re welcome. Take it easy!

  • Brian says:

    Hi Michael, I’m so impressed with all the information that you have provided in respect to back problems and how to manage them correctly. I was particularly interested in what you had to say about nutrition and the spine. I read an article awhile ago that informed about the positive influence that drinking water has on the spine as well. It was an excellent idea to include some videos to demonstrate the actual exercises.

    All the best,

    Brian

    • Michael says:

      Hello Brian,

      I think people have the exposure, but proper management is the key to it all. Yeah, nutrition is like a refurbishment to the spine, as it helps the disc. Good to hear you have that information handy, it’ll go a long ways. I keep a “smart water” bottle at my house and fill it up for reuse all the time, 1 liter of it. It does the job. Well thank you! I hope you enjoyed the article.

  • Gigi says:

    MIchael –
    I commend you for endorsing mobility to heal back strains. I can imagine what you went through to regain your muscle strength, as you wake up in the morning to get those back exercises done. But we really have to look beyond the pain but the future..that if we don’t work through the pain through exercise, we will be more debilitated.
    I have chronic lower back pains myself which I have learned to live with. I wear a back brace for support if I know I will be doing strenuous activities. I will check out yoga as you suggested. Thanks for your post.
    Gigi

    • Michael says:

      Hi Gigi,

      Mobility has to be recognized. My pain was a major concern, Imagine a lost puppy, that’s how I felt to start. I’m glad the right people entered my life to help, and gave me my options. Yes we do! Great thinking Gigi. Exercise gets overlooked, and people ask themselves why they are more stiff the next day.It’s just natural for your muscles to get used to one position. I hear you, chronic lower back doesn’t have to be an end point, its just the beginning of a new transformation, that’s How I come to think about it. Sounds great, give it a look. If you want to learn more what I do for yoga can I suggest one thing?

      Have you heard of Vinyoga therapy? It’s my favorite go to yoga. You can check it out if you ever feel a need to. Or just ask me and I’ll further your help. You’re welcome.

  • Arlene & George says:

    Your article is very informative. I suffer from upper and lower back pain. Having a combination of videos and narratives really help a lot. I know when I ‘m in pain, exercise is the last thing I want to do. When I can get the pain under control, I will definitely like to start exercising again. Thanks for the information!!!

    • Michael says:

      Hi Arlene and George,

      I wanted to make it aware to people that there is not only one type of exercise that works best for everyone, but that doing multiple exercises are the key to releasing your whole body to work around the pain, and not through it. Oh do you? Back pain is starting to creep up on me as of lately. I’m getting muscle spasms at night before bed! Yikes. I know right? It seems like its the last thing to do. What helps me I guess, is my background in sports. It gets me up my butt no matter what. Practice makes perfect, you can do it. Start with one targeted exorcise at a time. You’re welcome!

  • Colleen says:

    Sounds like you’ve learned a lot from your painful experiences. What a huge amount of information you have on your site! I’ve bookmarked it so I can visit in the future. Sitting at computers or in city traffic can cause anybody, at any age, to experience back pain or decreased mobility. Your site is packed with a lot of good exercises and suggestions for short- and long-term back health. Thank you!

    • Michael says:

      Hi Colleen.

      You can say that again, I most definitely have learned, and learned from my lessons. I wanted to make sure I fit in my experiences, and best information that I recevied with chiropractors, PT’s, Doctors, and my coaches. Indeed! I couldn’t agree any more. Sitting in a car can be far worse because the seat doesn’t move left and right, allowing you to shift your movement in a stationary spot. I’ve had back ache after back ache from driving late back home from a night shift, Oregon to Washington. I’m glad you found my information useful. No, thank you:)

  • Monique says:

    I have been suffering from lumbar stenosis to the point where surgery seemed like the only option. So I read your post looking for exercise ideas that would work for me.
    You provided many options.
    I like the videos you provided for the exercises and for using the machines.
    Thank you.

    • Michael says:

      Hi Monique,

      The narrowing of the spine is an unfortunate thing to have to happen. It really got to that point? Spinal stenosis really can put extensive pressure to the nerves. I wanted to make sure I put emphasis on how to relieve your nerve pain, while keeping your back in proper positioning. You are welcome!

  • Saul says:

    Great Post, and really eye opening man! I really like the fact that you cover the exercises for both lower back pain and sciatica in one page, and the value that doing both exercises have. I noticed that you adding swimming and walking, which one do you think would be best for someone with constant joint pain and who can’t handle walking for a couple minutes?

    • Michael says:

      Hi Saul,

      Oh yeah was it? Nice! I’m glad you appreciate that, I really wanted to store two conditions into one article, as I felt it was the best way to get my information across without doing much flipping and looking from page to page. There are slight differences between just exercising with Lower back pain or Sciatica Alone, So addressing the two under one article is critical. For someone with constant joint pain and aches, I would immediately say to check out the water exercises. Swimming will help reduce the pressure on your spine, and you will not have trouble walking and exercising in the water. Make sure to follow that link I have above so you ensure you’re doing the right ones. Please let me know if you have any more questions or concerns that I can help you with. -Michael

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