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Best Exercises for Low Back Pain

Almost everyone experiences pain in their lower back at some point in their life. It can range from very mild to very severe and can have many different causes. Sometimes it lasts just a day or two and sometimes it can be chronic. If you experience low back pain, one of the best things you can do is work on some kind of movement. It may be gentle at first, but movement has been proven to be more effective at decreasing and eliminating back pain than lying or sitting down.


The treatment for low back pain is very person-dependent. Everyone presents with different symptoms and impairments, so it's important to treat those specific things. It's also important to progress the exercises properly in order to build strength and mobility. This can be done by working with a physical therapist, either in person or virtually.


Although the treatment should be individualized, I am going to show you 3 of the best exercises for treating low back pain. These will almost always be included in your treatment plan.


  1. The Bird Dog. This one has a funny name and it's named after what it resembles. You will start in a hands and knees position (quadruped) and extend one arm and the opposite leg. Then return that arm and leg to the ground and extend the other arm and leg. It's very important to keep your back as flat as possible and keep your core engaged. This one also has a ton of different variations that you can do to make it more challenging and to work on other areas of the body.


2. The Dead Bug. This also has a funny name and is also referred to as the dying bug because you are moving your arms and legs. You start by lying on your back with your hands straight up in the air and your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees. You will extend one arm overhead and extend the opposite leg straight out towards the floor. It's important to keep your back flat and your core engaged as you complete this movement.




3. The side plank Clamshell. This is probably the toughest of these 3 exercises. You start by lying on your side. Bend your knees and prop yourself up on the bottom elbow. Then lift your hips up off the ground, making sure your body is aligned in a straight line. Then lift the top knee up towards the ceiling, keeping your feet together. Bring your knee back down and then lower your entire body to the ground.




Try doing 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps of each of the above exercises. You can do these 3-5 times per week. Once these get easy, it's time to progress to some harder exercises!


If you feel like you need additional support with decreasing and getting rid of your back pain, fill out this form to apply for 1-on-1 coaching. If you are interested in my 12-week back program, check it out HERE.


Feel Free to e-mail me with any questions!


Dr. Stephanie Ridgway

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