Whether recovering from an injury or trying to mitigate pain, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends a regimental approach to exercises for lower back pain. The regiment should be begin with basic exercise and advance to intermediate and then advanced. The time that is spent will vary according to the strength of a person’s back, and someone under the care of a physical therapist should follow instructions given so that he does not exacerbate his condition. Ten to 30 minutes a day is ideal to start.
Basic Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Basic exercises include ankle pumps, heel slides, abdominal contractions, straight leg raises, wall squats and heel raises. The first four exercises are accomplished lying o the back. The ankle pump entails moving the ankles up and down ten times. For the heel slide, slowly bend the knee the knee and straighten it ten times and for the abdominal contraction, bend your knees, rest your hands below your ribs and tighten your abdominal muscle squeezing your ribs toward your back and holding for five seconds before relaxing and repeating. The straight leg raises are done by lifting each leg in turn about 6 to 12 inches from the ground and holding it there for 5 seconds. Wall squats are done leaning against a wall and bending your knees slowly to a 45-degree angle and repeating. For heel raises, stand and raise your heels up and done ten times.
Intermediate Exercises for Lower Back Pain
When you’re ready for the intermediate exercises for lower back pain, you’ll need an exercise ball. The first two, knee to chest stretch and the hamstring stretch, don’t require a ball. The lumbar stabilization exercises all require a Swiss ball. The knee to chest stretch and the hamstring stretch require lying on your back with knees bent. In the first stretch, bring one knee at a time to your chest, hold it for 20 seconds and repeat with the other knee. For the second, hold one thigh behind the knee and pull it until you feel the stretch in the back of your thigh. The lumbar stabilization exercises require you to keep your abdominal muscles contracted. Each is done for 60 seconds. For the first, lie on your back with your calves resting on the ball; slowly raise one arm over your head, lower it and repeat with the other arm. The final exercises are done sitting and then lying on the Swiss ball, and standing with the ball between your lower back and the wall.
Advanced Exercises for Lower Back Pain
To avoid further pain, the advanced should not be attempted before the lower back is strengthened with the basic and intermediate exercises. One of these exercises recommended by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons requires the Swiss ball. Advanced exercises for lower back pain include the hip flexor stretch, the piriformis stretch and then the advanced lumbar stabilization exercise.