Did you know that around 80% of the body’s weight is concentrated above the shoulders?
If you’ve ever felt pain in your lower back, you’ll know that this becomes important when you realize that your weight is often concentrated above your shoulders.
This can put a lot of strain on your back, leading to lower back pain.
As such, it’s important to perform exercises that strengthen your back.
Fortunately, there are plenty of simple and effective physiotherapy exercises you can do to strengthen your back, no matter how much lower back pain you’re experiencing.
1. Stand Up straight
How many times have you been told to stand up straight? It’s one of the most common things you’re told, but it’s also one of the most important. If you have lower back pain, standing up straight can actually make your pain worse. Why? When you stand up straight, your weight is distributed across your whole spine. This can put a lot of strain on your lower back, making it shorter and weaker. To avoid this, you want to “sway” when you stand up. This means that you should “bend” from your hips when you stand up, not your lower back. The reason for this is that your lower back is meant to be flexible, not stiff. By keeping your back flexible, you reduce the amount of pressure it can take, meaning you can stand up straight without hurting yourself.
2. Walk your fingers
Many physiotherapy exercises can be done while you walk your fingers. This is because it helps to activate your upper body while reducing the strain on your lower back. To do this, simply move one hand in front of you, then the other. Not only will this strengthen your core, but it will also help to improve your walking balance. Here is a great video on proper walking techniques.
3. Keep your core tight
Your core (or “torso”) is the central part of your body. It consists of your chest, back, abdominal muscles, and hip muscles. These muscles are what make up your core (or “middle” as it’s also known). Because your lower back is connected to your abdomen, it’s essential to keep your core tight when performing lower back exercises. This can be done by contracting your abdominal muscles and keeping them tight, even when you’re not doing an exercise.
4. Do side bends
Bending over to pick something up from the floor can put a strain on your lower back. The good news is that side bends can help to strengthen your back without hurting yourself. To do this, bend at the side that’s experiencing lower back pain, then gently pull your hip in towards your shoulder. Try to do this for 30 seconds, three times a day. You can also try side lunges, which are the same thing, but with your legs wider than your hips.
5. Do side lying extensions
When you pick up an object, such as a pen or phone, and hold it above your head, your side bending muscles are activated. This can put a lot of strain on your lower back, so side lying extensions can help. To do this, lay on your side with one leg extended behind you and the other bent. Then, using your hand, gently pull your knee towards your chest.
6. Do leg raises
Leg raises are another way to strengthen your back without hurting yourself. To do this, lie down with your legs extended, then raise them up towards the ceiling, keeping them there for 30 seconds. That’s one repetition. You can do a variety of leg raises, including: Straight leg lifts - Straighten your leg, then lift it up towards the ceiling, bending only at the knee.
Bending leg lifts - Using the same leg you’re using for the straight leg lift, bend it and place it towards the floor.
7. Do hamstring curls
Hamstring curls are another simple back exercise that can be done at home. To do this, stand with your feet hips-width apart and your arms at your side. Then, while keeping your core tight and your back straight, bend your knees and slowly curl your backside. Be careful not to overextend yourself or arch your back. Just use the muscles you’re working.
8. Do toe raises
Toe raises are another way to strengthen your back without damaging it. To do this, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your heels up towards the ceiling, then slowly lower them back down. Be careful not to arch your back or place too much pressure on your toes.
9. Do forward bends
Forward bends are another way to strengthen your back without hurting yourself. To do this, lie down on your front with your legs extended and your arms at your side. Then, using your legs and arms, gently pull your knees towards your chest. Be careful not to hyper extend yourself, or hyperextend your back. You can also use a foam roller to roll your back, helping it to relax.
Now you know how to strengthen your back, it’s time to choose which exercises you want to do. The best way to do this is to make a list of the back exercises that you want to do and take it to your physiotherapist. Nose Creek Physiotherapy can help you to choose which exercises are best for you and your back. Once we’ve selected your exercises, we will show you how to work them into your schedule so that your back will feel stronger and better in no time! Give us a call today.