Low Back Exercises
The bird dog is a spinal stability and strengthening exercise for the full spine. Begin on your hands and knees with your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Bring one arm in front of you with your thumb up and biceps next to your ear. Feel the squeeze in your shoulder blade region. Relax that arm and do the same to your opposite arm. Then, bring one leg behind you and straighten it making sure your pelvis stays level. Feel the squeeze in your glute and low back. Repeat with the opposite leg.
The next progression is to do the opposite arm and leg at the same time. Repeat until fatigued.
The pelvic tilt exercise is an effective way to decompress your lower back and force movement within the joints of the vertebrae at each level of the lumbar spine. This ultimately creates and maintains mobility to your lumbar spine which is extremely important for proper movement.
Start on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Flatten your lower back onto the ground and hold for 5 seconds. Then relax and do the opposite to create an increased arch in your lower back which you hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this process for 1-3 minutes per day.
The glute bridge is a great exercise to increase strength and stability to the lower back, glutes and core. Increasing the strength of these regions will take pressure off your spine.
Begin on your back, knees bent and feet flat. Flatten the lower back and engage your glutes and core muscles to bridge upwards. Feel the squeeze and activation of your glutes, low back and core as you hold for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat for 3 sets of 10 or until fatigue.
The Cat/Cow exercise is a common yoga pose that increases and maintains spinal mobility through your whole spine.
Begin on your hands and knees. Tuck your pelvis and head downwards as you arch your mid back and hold for a few seconds. Then do the opposite by bringing your head and butt into the air while letting your stomach drop to the floor. Repeat for approximately one minute.
Plank Roll- start on left shoulder hold for 30-60 seconds or more and then roll to center, hold again, then roll to right shoulder and hold again for the same length of time.
Side plank with a dip- assume plank position and gently
lower your hips towards the floor and then raise hips back up into side plank position. Repeat 5-20 times each side.
McKenzie method exercises are good for people who are "flexion intolerant" or having pain when bending forward or sitting. This method is commonly used for people with disc bulges and sciatica.
Level 1: Standing Extension
Level 2: Sphynx Stretch
Level 3: Cobra Stretch
Hold for 10-30 seconds and perform 3-5 sets depending upon your comfort level.