Lower back pain can be caused by incorrect posture, obesity, insufficient exercise, and even smoking.
Lower back pain or low back pain… These names may not sound so familiar, but they are actually synonyms for the well-known “back pain” that many people, unfortunately, feel or have felt at least once in their lives.
In most cases, the person complains of a diffuse (spread out) pain in the lower region of the spine, near the waist and above the buttocks (region of the spine called the lumbar spine).
The back pain at the beginning may be mild, but it can gradually increase and usually gets worse when the person moves. The feeling is that the spine is “locked” and, therefore, the person with this problem tends to walk with the body stiff or even curved.
In general, back pain appears mainly in the morning and gets better as soon as the person starts walking. But some movements, such as bending down to wash your face, bending down to pick up something that has fallen on the floor, etc., can also be very uncomfortable.
Main causes of back pain
Rogério Vidal de Lima, orthopedist and specialist in spine surgery, cites the main causes of back pain:
- Incorrect posture;
- Lack of physical activity;
- The doctor points out that back pain can affect people of all age groups.
5 exercises to relieve back pain
Thaise Titon, Yoga teacher and Personare specialist, explains that the spine has three natural curves, responsible for absorbing the impacts and pressures it receives daily to support the entire body and move. “This is why flexibility and stretching are important. The curvatures are in the cervical, lumbar, and thoracic regions. In the first two, the curves are inward, and in the last one, the curve is outward,” she says.
The professional cites below examples of exercises that help relieve back pain:
Lie down with your back and the soles of your feet on the floor. Perform the movement only in the lumbar region, without taking the hips off the floor. On the inhale, raise the lumbar (keeping the sacrum on the floor) and, on the exhale, lower the lumbar on the floor.
This exercise will help release the pelvic and lumbar tensions
Effects: relaxation of the sacroiliac region and the lumbar.
Recommendation: do about 8 repetitions – equivalent to 8 breaths.
Lie with your back on the floor, and when you inhale, pull your knees with your hands, and bring your knees away from your abdomen. And, when you exhale, pull your knees closer to your abdomen.
“In this case the feet don’t come back to the floor.This exercise also helps calm the lower back.
Recommendation: do about 8 repetitions – which are equivalent to 8 breaths.
Torsion Marichyasana, posture of the wise Marichi: sit with legs extended and spine aligned, ischiums well connected on the floor. Bend the right leg by placing the sole of the right foot on the floor near the left thigh. On the exhale, the left hand takes the right knee rotating the torso to the right, i.e. towards the bent leg. Do it the other way as well.
Effects: pectoral opening and also strengthening of the lumbar.
Sitting comfortably (legs crossed or on your toes), raise your right arm and, with your left hand, pull your right elbow. The hand will touch the upper back. Remember to keep the neck in alignment. Focus your breathing on the opening of the shoulders, armpit, and pectoral muscles. Then do it to the other side.
Effects: pectoral opening, relief of shoulder and neck tension.
Recommendation: 8 breaths for each side.
Adho mukha svansana (“posture of the dog looking down”) is a stretching of the whole body. Raise your hips, stretch your arms and legs, forming a triangle with your body. Hands and feet stay on the floor, far apart. At the beginning, the heel is off the floor. The head should face inward. Stretch the entire spine.
Effect: In addition to stretching the entire spine, the exercise helps strengthen the muscles in the back and arms.
Are there proper exercises to prevent back pain?
Thaise Titon reinforces that most yoga poses can prevent back pain. “But it is necessary the conscious and cautious execution, and according to the biotype of the person. For example, if the person has a hernia, there are restrictions. That’s why it’s important to inform the teacher when looking for the practice”, the specialist points out.
Still according to Thaise, the exercises mentioned above are also good for preventing the problem. Below she mentions another exercise that can help in this sense:
Trikonasana: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, one foot pointing forward, the one behind at a 45-degree angle. Arms open and keeping the spine aligned, the arm follows the foot pointing forward, while the other arm extends toward the ceiling.
“Restorative exercises, which use pillows, blankets and bands, and even the wall, to help in the execution, are great for preventing pain. After all the fatigue and stress of everyday life, the best way is to compensate this body, so that the accumulation doesn’t become something chronic,” adds specialist Thaise.
Exercises that help relieve back pain
Below you will find some exercises that, in general, help prevent back pain. It is worth reinforcing that they must always be practiced under the supervision of a professional in the area:
Teacher Thaise points out that, in the practice of yoga, one of the major objectives is the care of the spine. “Because it is through the health of the spine that the whole body balances itself. And why does yoga contribute to the spine? Because the spine is the base, it is along the spine that the brain connection to the rest of the body occurs. Movement and reflexes depend on this preserved spine. Therefore, the healthier the spine, the more agile the movements a person will have. And yoga is precisely this mind-body integration,” says Thaise Titon.
Exercises performed in water are low-impact aerobic exercises and are an alternative for those who want to avoid back pain, because they relieve the weight of the body on the spine.
It is worth pointing out, however, that in some cases of back problems breaststroke and butterfly are not indicated. Therefore, the ideal is to always consult a doctor before starting any physical activity, as well as to have professional guidance during the practice.
Like swimming, water aerobics is a low-impact aerobic activity that can be very useful for those who want to avoid back pain. This is because exercising in water relieves the weight of the body on the spine.
Weight training is also a good activity for people who have and/or want to avoid back pain. This is because it helps strengthen the muscles of the core, abdomen, hips, and lower back – muscles that need to be strong in order for the spine to be very stable.
The most indicated is to perform the exercises on machines, which will ensure the best execution of the movements. But, regardless of this, it is fundamental that every exercise be accompanied by a professional in the area.
Rogério Vidal points out that any activity that strengthens the musculature is interesting to relieve and prevent back pain. “The exercises that reinforce the musculature prevent joint overload, avoiding pain,” he says.
Activities to avoid back pain on daily routine
Check out some simple tips that can be taken on a daily basis to help avoid back pain:
- Always control your posture (this goes for when you are walking, for when you are standing still etc.);
- Maintain a healthy diet so as not to exceed your ideal weight;
- Exercise regularly (to help maintain your weight and also to strengthen your muscles);
- Choose an appropriate chair for your type of work;
- Sleep on a mattress in good condition;
- Choose a comfortable sleeping position;
- When driving, sit as close as possible to the steering wheel, so you will be keeping your knees a little higher than your hips. Also put a pillow behind your lower back.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking, besides the many other harms it offers, is also one of the risk factors for back pain.
Finally, if you experience back pain frequently, do not hesitate to seek medical help. The professional will tell you the best form of treatment, options for physical activities that can be done, and tips that will help you avoid pain in your daily life.
The information on this page is for information purposes only. It does not replace the advice and follow-up from doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals, and other specialists.