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Low back pain can really put a damper on your daily activities. Suddenly, simple tasks like putting on your shoes or walking the dog now feel almost impossible due to the pain and tension in the small of your back. If you’re experiencing low back pain, there are several steps you can do at home to help relieve your symptoms before seeing a doctor. One of the most commonly used at-home treatments for low back pain is exercise.

Exercise doesn’t  just improve your appearance, but it also strengthens and conditions the muscles that help you maintain good posture and reduce your chances of developing neck or back pain in the future. According to some studies, those who participate in regular aerobic exercise and conditioning experience major improvements in their low back pain.

What aerobic exercises will minimize low back pain?

The following muscle groups need strengthened in order to reduce low back pain:

  • Back extensors
  • Core stabilizers
  • Abdominals
  • Glutes
  • Upper leg muscles

Swimming, walking, cycling or using an elliptical and/or ski machine are exercises that will work each of these areas without causing undue stress and impact on your muscles.They avoid the jars and stresses that could further aggravate your pain or cause injury.

To ensure your safety and improvement, keep the following four things in mind while exercising:

  1. The goal is to exercise three times a week for 30 minutes so that you are healthy and in good shape physically.
  2. A portion of the exercise regimen should focus on your back muscles.
  3. The exercises should never put too much stress on your back muscles.
  4. Be sure to stretch and strengthen your muscles in order to improve your posture.

What are three exercises I can do at home to reduce low back pain?

The following three exercises focus on building endurance and stabilizing your core, thereby strengthening your low back:

  • Decompression Breathing: This move will strengthen and elongate the spine. Stand tall with knees locked, toes touching, heels slightly apart and arms at your side. Next, put your weight on your heels, unlock your knees, pull your heels together, reach overhead and put your hands together. Take a deep breath and as you inhale, lift the rib cage from the hips. Tighten your abdominal muscles while you exhale. Repeat these steps 3-5 times.
  • Founder to Forward Fall: Stand with your feet just outside hip width. Lock your knees and lean forward at a 45 degree angle and press your fingertips together above your head. Also try the modified position: Instead of pressing your fingertips together above your head, extend both arms behind your back. From this position, unlock your knees, transfer your weight to your heels and bend forward by placing your hands on the ground in front of you as far as you can. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. To stand up, pull you hands across the ground and up your shins to the modified founder position. Then, with your weight on your heels, bring your hips in and stand tall with arms in the air.
  • Adductor-Assisted Back Extension: Lay with your stomach on the ground. Flex your feet and have the toes on the ground. Keep your legs together and knees slightly bent. Put hands face down by your shoulders. Push your hips and knees into the ground and bring your chest off the ground. Push shoulders back and hold the position for 20-30 seconds.

Next steps to reduce low back pain

If you are still experiencing low back pain after a week or longer, fill out the form on our website or give us a call to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed physical therapists. We offer personalized physical therapy services to help you target the areas causing your pain and get back to the active lifestyle you enjoy. Contact one of our three locations in New Jersey — Edison, Woodbridge or Union — today to schedule an appointment. Let us help you take the next step to find relief from your chronic low back pain.