Lumbago is just another name for lower back pain. Throughout this post, I will be using both lumbago and lower back pain. Just know, I am talking about the same thing.
If you have lower back pain, I hear you. I have been dealing with chronic lower back pain for many years and still do today. Exercise has been known to reduce the pain and in some cases completely stop it. Research has shown that exercise can be very beneficial for chronic lower back pain. Not to mention the rest of your back as well. The more you exercise the stronger your back will get. Reducing your chances of having future back problems. But it can also reduce your current back pain.
Being Active with Lumbago
Being active is the best thing you can do for your back and your entire body. Start slow and ease your way into it. You always to avoid being static. If you have any back problems the worst thing you can do is sit around all day doing nothing. That will often make your pain worse over time.
So, get off that sofa and go for a walk. If you have nowhere to walk or the weather is a problem? Walk around your house or walk in place. For years the misconception has been that you need to exercise non-stop,30 to 45 minutes for it to be effective.
Breaking Up Your Workout
Do not get me wrong, a 30 to 45-minute workout is still great if that is what you like? But there have been several studies done in recent years proving that breaking up a workout into 2×15 minute sessions or even 3×10 minute sessions can be just as effective.
I know speaking for myself, I am not always in the mood for one long workout. I will often break up my workout sessions. In fact, there are times I will do multiple 5-minute workouts throughout the day. Sometimes I am stretched for time and that is a great alternative.
Almost everyone at some point in their life experience lumbago. If you have not to this point it’s almost a given that it’s going to be in your future. It’s known that about 80% of the workforce consistently experiences lumbago week in and week out. The source of this is most likely stemming from society’s advancement into a more modernized, inactive civilization.
Lumbago can also be caused by elemental conditions like arthritis and degenerative disc disease which is what I have. If your lower back pain is getting in the way of just trying to get through the day, then I would go see a doctor.
How My Lumbago Started
From experience, my lumbago problems began after an accident. I was climbing over a fence, slipped and fell. When I landed I twisted my back pretty hard. It was about a week later when I started feeling a stabbing shooting pain going down the back of my leg. To add to that I was getting cramps and spasms in my lower back and butt. It kept getting worse and I was to the point that I was falling on the ground when trying to get out of a car.
About six months after falling and twisting my back, I went under the knife for a ruptured disc. During that time, I also found out that I have degenerative disc disease. If that was not enough, I use to lift heavy equipment multiple times a week when I was a DJ. I did that for 23 years and did not always use the best lifting techniques. An accident, poor lifting techniques, and degenerative disc disease. I have the trifecta and would rather it be from winning it at a horse race instead.
For many people with lumbago, the good news is you may be able to find relief from your lumbago by using targeted exercises. If you do them consistently they can increase your chances of not having any lumbago in the future and the research has shown that.
Walking was something I did for years because of my back. It did help but I liked the other health benefits I got from it. I would walk at a very fast pace of speed to get a really good workout. Walking slower would have been just as effective but I liked the feeling when I was done. I would get that “runners high” you always hear about. My walking regiment was an average of 5 days a week, going 2 to 3 miles each day. It all depended on how I felt on that particular day.
There are many benefits to walking but when it comes to walking because you have back issues, it keeps you mobile and also strengthens your back. You can walk just about anywhere at any time, you only have to bring yourself, and it’s free. When you are in pain you will naturally not want to move. However, not moving to long will make the pain worse. I used walking because it helped and was very convenient. But just as important, it kept me mobile.
Getting Through The Pain
When you are in pain, it can be hard to think and get through the day. Your body is basically telling you to stop moving when you feel pain. One part of you wants to completely stop doing everything. While the other part knows you have a ton of things to do that day. I know I have been there. Then it starts eating away at you mentally. You begin the downward spiral of negativity and become stagnant.
In the past, doctors would always tell their patients to lay low and prescribe complete bed rest in some cases. If you were to be up and moving around, it may make things worse. Those days are now long gone. Using correct movement and keeping up in your day to day life is advised. However, there are always a few caveats in certain circumstances. Otherwise, you always want to maintain some level of mobility every day.
When it comes to lumbago and being mobile, that does not necessarily mean a full-fledged workout on a daily basis. A little bit can go a long way, but you need to stay consistent. You will have your ups and downs but keep looking at the bigger picture.
As I already mentioned, I used to walk a lot but there are other exercises you can do to strengthen and reduce your back pain. The following exercises are targeted for your lower back.
The bridges will work your gluteus maximus. It is the large muscles of your buttocks. You engage this muscle when moving your hips, more specifically, when bending into a squat. This is a very important muscle in your body, and you want to keep it strong so it can help support your lower back.
Performing a Bridge:
- You want to lie on the ground and bend your knees. Then place your feet flat on the floor keeping them hip-width apart.
- Press your feet on the floor and place your arms on your sides.
- Raise your buttocks up off the floor. You want your body to form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Squeeze your buttocks tight and keep your shoulders on the floor.
- Then, lower your buttocks on the floor and rest for a couple of seconds.
- From this point, you want to repeat this 15 times resting for 1 minute in between.
- If you are just getting started, do 3 sets of 10 repetitions. You can work your way up to 15 reps and add another set.
Single Knee-To-Chest Stretch
By performing the Single Knee-To-Chest Stretch you can help extend your lower back. This helps relieve tension and pain.
To perform the knee-to-chest stretch:
- Lie down with your back on the floor.
- Bend your knees and keep them both flat on the floor.
- Tighten your deep stomach muscles.
- Using both hands, pull one knee towards your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch to the low back and or buttock area.
- Hold the knee for 30 seconds, keeping your abdominal’s tight while keeping your back pressed into the floor.
- Depending on your physicality, you may need some help.
- Wrap a towel behind the knee, then pull the knee towards your chest.
- Return to your starting position, repeating with the opposite leg.
Repeat this with each leg 3 times.
Lower Back Rotational Stretches
The lower back rotational stretch can help stretch the lower back and relieve tension. It will also work your core improving your stability.
To perform the Lower Back Rotational Stretch:
- Lie on your back on the floor.
- Bend your knees with your heels as close to your buttocks as possible.
- You want your feet flat on the floor.
- Extend your arms out to the sides.
- Keep your knees and feet together.
- With your shoulders firmly on the floor, gently roll both bent knees over to one side. The objective is to try to get the thigh to come into full contact with the floor.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- If this position is to challenging initially, allow the extended arm to come off the floor and loosen your back.
- Gradually over time, work to try to reach and extend the arm fully. You will feel the stretch from the lower back all the way up in through your shoulders.
- Return to the starting position and pause if you need too.
- Slowly roll your bent knees over to the opposite side, trying to make full contact with the thighs towards the floor.
- Hold, and then return to the starting position.
Repeat 5 to 10 times going to both the left and right.
The draw-in maneuver works the transversus abdominis. This muscle is located in the front and sides of your abdomen, stabilizing the spine and lower back region.
To perform the Draw-In Maneuver:
- Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat hip-width apart. keep your arms by your side.
- Place a towel, small ball or yoga block between your knees. Squeeze the object between your knees engaging your core.
- Draw the belly button down into the abdomen and tighten your abdominal muscles as if you are bracing to get punched. Aim to flatten your back on the floor.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds and relax.
- Repeat 5 times.
- As you progress, add alternating leg raises. Try to maintain a 90-degree angle in your legs and keep your knee’s aligned directly above your hips.
- Be sure to keep the abs tight and press your lower back towards the floor. Only let your toes touch the floor.
- Do this for a 1 minute then rest for 30 seconds.
- Repeat 3 times. Increase your time as you get stronger if you want.
The pelvic tilt exercise is great for getting some range of motion in your pelvis, lower back and core.
To perform the Pelvic Tilt:
- Lie down on the floor or bed, face up.
- Knees bent with your feet flat and keep your arms by your side.
- You want to gently arch your lower back, pushing your stomach out.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds and relax.
- Flatten your back and pull your belly button in toward the floor or bed.
- Hold again for 5 seconds and relax.
Do this 10 times. Increase your number of reps daily as you get stronger.
Lying Lateral Leg Lifts
The hip abductor muscles get a workout with these Lying Lateral Leg Lifts. The muscles help support the pelvis, reducing the strain on your back.
To perform Lying Lateral Leg Lifts:
- Lie down on one side keeping your legs together and straight.
- Keep your lower leg slightly bent and use your hand to hold your head up
- Draw your belly button into your spine to engage your core muscles.
- With your top leg, raise it about 18 inches while keeping it extended and out straight.
- Hold that position for a couple of seconds.
- Repeat this 10 times.
- Then turn on your other side and lift the other leg.
- Repeat this 10 times.
Do 3 sets on each side.
Cat & Camel
The Cat & Camel can help lengthen your back making it stronger along with your abdominal muscles.
To perform the Cat & Camel Stretch:
- Start in a position of comfort either on the floor or on a bed.
- Get on your hands and knees with your wrists, elbows, and shoulders on top of each other.
- Take your spine down into a curved position and this is known as the “camel”.
- Push all the way up to the top, tucking your body underneath rounding your back into the “cat” position.
- When you are in the cat position make sure you hold your abdominal’s tight for a few seconds before dropping down into the camel position.
- Continue to transition from one position to the next. Do it slow and controlled.
- As you get stronger you can try and hold the cat position longer.
You need to have strong back extensors if you want to maintain good posture. Those are the muscles that run along the sides of your spine. If your back extensors are weak, it can reduce your spinal and pelvic support. By doing the “Superman” it can help strengthen those muscles.
To perform Superman:
- Begin by lying face down on the floor or on a bed. Extend your arms and legs like “Superman”.
- Raise both arms and legs about a foot up off the floor or bed.
- Try to pull in your belly button, lifting it off the floor to engage your core muscles.
- Stretch your feet and hands out as far as possible.
- Keep your head straight and you want to look at the floor to avoid a neck injury.
- Hold for about 2 seconds before lowering your arms and legs.
- If you experience any neck pain you can keep your head closer to the floor or bed.
- Return to your starting position.
Do 3 sets of 10 with 15 reps for each set.
If you are in need of a more challenging exercise? This can be altered by lifting the opposite arm and leg. Then alternate with the opposite arm and leg. The video shows you how to do this.
Seated Torso Twist Stretch
The Seated Torso Twist Stretch will aid in relieving pain. This exercise works your core muscles and strengthens the lower back.
To perform the Seated Torso Twist Stretch:
- Sit on the floor with the right leg straight and your left leg over the top of your right leg.
- Keep your spine straight up and down, and twist to the left, placing your hand on the floor. Place your right elbow on your left knee for assisting with the stretch.
- Hold the stretch for 20 seconds or more.
- Then switch legs and repeat in the opposite direction.
Having strong abdominal muscles will play an important role in supporting your spine. When you have weak abdominal’s it usually results in poor core strength. In turn, this affects your stability and that can cause lower back pain. Partial curls can help build a strong core.
To perform Partial Curls:
- Lie down on the floor on your back with your knees bent. Keep your feet flat and hip-width apart.
- Cross your hands over your chest.
- Take a deep breath in.
- When you breathe out, engage your abdominal muscles by pulling in your stomach muscles.
- Raise your head and shoulders about 2 inches off the floor. Keep your neck in line with your spine.
- Hold for 5 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times & do 3 sets.
Lumbago and Your Posture
All of the above exercises will work your core muscles, strengthening, improving flexibility, increasing your stability, and reduce pain from your lower back. If you have lower back pain, you should be conscious of your posture. Especially, how you carry heavy objects.
But when you are experiencing constant or frequent lower back pain it can be difficult. Speaking for myself, when I am experiencing lumbago which is all the time. I am constantly changing positions, trying to get comfortable. What happens is a find that good position but it does not last long.
One thing I wanted to mention when it comes to my chronic back pain. When I say I am in pain all the time, it’s not constant excruciating pain. The pain varies depending on my physical activity or “lack of” for that specific day. Again, I have to be mobile but if I am too mobile, that causes problems as well. For me, it’s a matter of a tolerable medium. Having constant pain, no matter what level of pain you are at can be very taxing on you physically and mentally.
If the Exercises are Not Working for You?
If the exercises are not working for you that’s okay. It can take some before you really start to feel any pain relief from doing them. They are not for everyone. I have written reviews for a variety of products that provide pain relief. Many of the products will give you the relief you are looking for in a matter of minutes. You can view those reviews here.
Have you ever sat in a Massage Chair? A Massage Chair can give you that mind-blowing massage you hear about. Not mention, an exellent option for dealing with your lumbago. Learn More about Massage Chairs.