Lower Back Pain - Man standing and grasping his lower back in discomfort

Almost everyone will experience a form of lower back pain in their lifetime.

The low back, also called the lumbar region, is the area of the back that starts below the ribcage to pelvis.

what is lumber region

Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly due to an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time as we age. Getting too little exercise followed by a strenuous workout also can cause back pain.

Common Causes of Low Back Pain

  • Manual materials handling (especially lifting)
  • Twisting of the trunk
  • Bending the trunk forward
  • Bending the trunk to the side
  • Excessive reaching
  • Injuries
  • Prolonged sitting, standing, walking or other exercises
  • Sedentary jobs
  • Highly physical jobs
  • Exposure to whole-body vibration
  • Spinal structure
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Extreme tallness
lower back pain

Acute, or short-term back pain typically lasts a few days to a few weeks. It usually resolves within a few days with self-care, and there is no residual loss of function. However, in some cases, it may take a few months for the symptoms to completely disappear.

On the other hand, chronic back pain is defined as pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. It’s important to note that the presence of persistent pain does not always indicate a medically serious underlying cause or one that can be easily identified and treated. While treatment can successfully relieve chronic low back pain in some cases, there are instances where the pain continues despite medical and surgical intervention.

What can we do to relieve lower back pain during lockdown?

During lockdown, working from home and being restricted to the indoors poses significant health challenges. Increased number of hours spent sitting, having an improper posture, lack of adequate exercise and the stress of the pandemic, can all cause lingering lower back pain.

Daily stretching and exercising

1. Forward bend

relieve lower back pain - bend forward stretching
relieve lower back pain - bend forward stretching

Forward bends are a versatile group of exercises that offer various levels of intensity. When we bend forward towards our thighs, we engage in spinal flexion, which both stretches and strengthens the muscles along the spine, shoulders, pelvic girdles, and legs. Additionally, the abdominal muscles are also strengthened. Here’s how you can perform a forward bend:

  • Start by sitting on the floor and firmly placing your buttocks on the ground.
  • Extend your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Lean forward from your hips, allowing your head to face downward.
  • Try to reach your feet with your hands, aiming to fold forward as much as your flexibility allows.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 breaths, feeling the stretch in your back, hamstrings, and calves.
  • Repeat the forward bend as needed, focusing on maintaining proper form and breathing throughout.

2. Child pose

relieve lower back pain -  child pose

The child’s pose is a wonderful stretch that helps elongate your back and serves as a great stress reliever. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Start by sitting on all fours, with your hands and knees on the ground.
  • Stretch your arms out in front of you, keeping them shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly sit back, making sure your buttock muscles are resting just above your heels.
  • Allow your forehead to rest on the floor or a cushion, if needed, and relax your neck.
  • Take deep breaths and hold this position for 5-10 breaths, allowing your back to gently stretch and release tension.
  • Repeat the child’s pose as desired, enjoying the calming and elongating effects it provides.

3. Downward-facing dog

downward facing dog

This is a fantastic total body stretch that specifically targets the muscles in your lower back, providing essential support for your spine. Here’s how you can perform it:

  • Start on your hands and knees, with your hands positioned slightly in front of your shoulders.
  • Press back and lift your knees off the floor, creating an inverted V shape with your body.
  • Focus on lifting your tailbone towards the ceiling, allowing your spine to lengthen.
  • To incorporate a hamstring stretch, gently push your heels towards the floor, feeling a stretch in the back of your legs.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 breaths, allowing your muscles to relax and stretch.
  • Repeat this sequence 5-7 times, focusing on maintaining proper form and breathing throughout.

4. Cat and cow pose

cat and cow pose

This exercise is great for loosening the muscles in your back and can be particularly helpful in relieving lower back pain. Here’s how you can perform it:

  • Begin by getting on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Slowly and gently press your spine upwards, arching your back like a cat. Imagine pulling your belly button towards your spine.
  • Hold this position for about 10 seconds, feeling a stretch in your back.
  • Next, slowly move into the opposite position by lowering your spine and lifting your head, creating a slight arch in your back.
  • Make sure to keep your shoulder blades pressed back and your head lifted throughout the exercise.
  • Repeat this sequence, moving back and forth between the cat pose and the opposite position, for a total of 10 times.

5. Upward-facing dog

upward facing dog

This exercise is great for opening your chest, stretching your abdominal muscles, and engaging your back. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Lie flat on the floor, facing down, with your palms near the middle of your ribs and your fingers pointing forward.
  • Press the tops of your feet into the floor, while drawing your legs together.
  • Using the strength of your back muscles, lift your chest off the floor, keeping your hands lightly resting on the ground.
  • Keep your legs extended and engaged, with your toes pointing towards the floor.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 breaths, feeling the stretch in your chest and the engagement in your back muscles.
  • Repeat the exercise as desired, focusing on maintaining proper form and breathing throughout.

6. Bird dog

bird dog

This exercise is a simple yet effective way to improve core stability, encourage a neutral spine, and relieve low back pain. It targets and strengthens your core, hips, and back muscles while promoting proper posture and increasing range of motion. Here’s how you can perform it:

  • Begin in the tabletop position, with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Ensure your spine is in a neutral position by engaging your abdominal muscles.
  • Lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously, keeping your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor. Lengthen the back of your neck and tuck your chin in, directing your gaze towards the floor.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, focusing on maintaining stability and balance.
  • Lower your right arm and left leg back down to the starting position.
  • Lift your left arm and right leg, holding this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
  • This completes one round. Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions, gradually increasing the intensity as you become more comfortable and stronger.

7. Knee to chest

knee to chest

Here’s a safe and effective workout to help alleviate low back pain symptoms by engaging your legs. Follow these steps to perform the knee-to-chest exercise:

  • Start by lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
  • Slowly draw your right knee up towards your chest while keeping your left foot flat on the floor.
  • Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, ensuring that your lower back remains flat against the floor.
  • Gradually lower your right knee back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise with your left leg by drawing your left knee up towards your chest while keeping your right foot flat on the floor.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, maintaining a flat lower back, and then lower your left knee back down.
  • Repeat this routine as desired, alternating between the right and left legs.

For each leg, perform knee-to-chest five to ten times.

There are many different kinds of stretching and exercises that we can do to help build up cores and back muscles. Choose the ones that match your condition. If you are not sure about what to do, please contact us for professional advice.

Here’s a video explaining what muscles plays a big part in our lower back health and how to stretch those muscles properly.

Don’t just sit there

Don’t sit in the same position for long periods. Make sure you take any opportunity you can to move your body by setting alarms to take breaks.

When you’re moving, different muscle groups share the work of keeping your head, neck, back and the rest of your body supported, rather than continually overloading the same muscles.

Maintain good posture

The quality of your posture has a dramatic impact on the health of your lower back.

  • Assemble an ergonomic chair and create a pleasant workspace that supports good posture and comfort.
  • Be mindful of how your body is positioned while working, ensuring proper alignment and avoiding slouching or straining.
  • Consider using an apparatus, such as a lumbar support cushion or pillow, to provide extra support to the lower back.
  • Incorporate additional physical activity into your daily routine, even if it’s just short breaks for stretching or taking a quick walk.
  • Opt for comfortable and casual clothing that allows for ease of movement and doesn’t restrict your posture.

Use heat therapy

If you are already experiencing lower back pain while in lockdown, try using heat therapy. Applying heat to your lower back will relax your muscles and relieve inflammation. If you need more advice, feel free to contact us during the lockdown.

Allied health treatment options for low back pain?

Acupuncture, physiotherapy, and therapeutic massage can improve lower back pain and the mobility, strength, and flexibility of our body. We provide online consultation and treatment during lockdown to guide you on how to choose trigger points, acupoints, exercises, diet, and many more to relieve your pain immediately. If you feel like talking to one of our professionals, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Lockdown could be longer than what we expected. Let’s stay positive and well and get through this together. We are here for you!

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