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Lower Back Pain? Don't Do These Three Exercises

Jan 31, 2008
If you're suffering from back pain, you've got lots of company. Almost half the adult population will suffer from one form of back pain during their lifetime. Most adults experience lower back pain, and rarely do they know the cause. Lower backs seem to be an unfortunate magnet for pain and nagging problems that can last for years and affect quality of life.

Exercise is a commonly accepted avenue to travel, in terms of treating back conditions. Your back will function better and with less pain if you're in good physical condition. Unfortunately, lower back pain often forces those who exercise to compromise their form or perform exercises that are actually detrimental to their backs. Let's take a look at specific exercises that are good for your back, and a few more that may be harmful.

Here's Three Exercises To Ease Your Lower Back Pain

1. Swimming: Swimming is one of the best exercises to help loosen and stretch your lower back. Further, swimming is an excellent cardio workout with no impact, pounding, or bouncing. Start slowly with just a few laps, and work your way up to 20 laps. Not only is swimming good for your back, it's one of the best workouts for your heart and lungs.

2. Partial Curl: This exercise is very good for both your back and abs, and it's simple to perform. Lie on the floor or a mat with your knees bent and your feet completely on the floor. Now, push your lower back into the floor and curl up, with your arms stretched in front of you, until your shoulders are off the ground. Hold for five seconds and release. Try doing 3 sets of 10. The partial curl will tighten your core muscles, strengthen your lower back, and flatten your abs.

3. Hamstring/Lower Back Stretch: This one is also easy to do. Lie on the floor with your left leg flat and your right leg bent at the knee. Now, lift your right leg and straighten it, locking your fingers behind your thigh (or calf if you're more flexible). Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the left leg. You'll feel the stretch in your hamstring and lower back. For an advanced stretch, lift both legs straight up and hold the back of each leg, one hand on each leg. This stretch will really loosen your back, but be careful to start slowly and gently and work your way up as your back is gradually stretched.

Don't Do These Three!

1. Sit Ups With Legs Straight: Watching someone doing sit ups with their legs straight at the health club makes me cringe. Doing sit ups with legs straight is just about the worst thing to do to your lower back, short of improperly lifting a heavy object. The partial curl, as described above, is so much more effective for your abs, and much safer.

2. Hip Or Oblique Twists: This is another exercise seen far too often. Herky jerky twisting of the core and spine does nothing good for you and only increases the odds of injuring your back.

3. Running On Concrete: If you like to run, use a high quality treadmill. If you run outside, look for a track or at least run on asphalt, which has a bit more give than concrete. Running on concrete is tough on your ankles and knees, and jarring for your back. Consider lower impact cardio options like swimming or indoor cycling classes.

If you suffer from back pain, a good rule of thumb is to avoid high impact exercise or any exercise movement that isolates and strains your back. You can still derive optimal benefit from cardio exercise via low impact alternatives such as swimming or indoor cycling. A little common sense and preventive maintenance should help you avoid further lower back pain and keep your back strong and healthy.
About the Author
If you suffer from lower back pain, there are specific strategies you can use, on your own, to ease your pain. For more information, recommendations, and simple strategies to resolve your back problems, be sure to visit our site dedicated to eliminating lower back pain .
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