3 Exercises to Alleviate Low-Back Pain

Experiencing low-back pain? Try these three exercises from STACK expert Robert Taylor.

Pigeon Pose
If you are dealing with low-back pain, it's time to take action. Whether the pain is only moderately bothersome or completely debilitating, it's time to do something about it, or else your performance and health may suffer.

Low-back pain is often caused by weakness in the surrounding areas of the body, especially the glutes and hip flexors. Because they are compensating for a weak point, the low-back muscles are subjected to excessive stress, which causes the pain.

Preventing low-back pain starts with a comprehensive training program that incorporates progressive strength training, mobility work and flexibility exercises. However, there are a few exercises that you can try to alleviate pain if you need immediate relief.

Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Fold up a towel and place it about eight inches away from a wall
  • Kneel down and place your left knee on the towel and your toes against the wall
  • Place your right foot on the ground in front of you as if assuming a lunge position and lower your hips down until you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip
  • Place your hands on your front knee to help keep your torso straight
  • As you become more flexible and or comfortable in this position, lift your left arm overhead and side bend to the right
  • Repeat full sequence on the other side

Learn more hip flexor stretches.

Foam Roller Psoas Stretch

  • Place a foam roller perpendicular to your spine and lie with the back of your pelvis (i.e., sacrum) on the roller; do not place your low back on the roller
  • Pull your right knee towards your chest, keeping your left heel and shoulders on the ground; you should feel a stretch in the front of your left hip
  • To increase the stretch, reach your left arm over your head and open your knee slightly out to the right
  • Repeat full sequence on the other side

Pigeon Pose

  • Begin in a double kneeling position with your hands on the ground in front under your shoulders
  • Pull your right leg forward between your hands
  • Drop your back leg to the ground; keep your back leg turned under
  • With your right shin down, position your right knee straight in front of your right hip with your knee bent at roughly 90 degrees
  • Use your fingertips to walk out in front of your right shin, and try to bring your elbows to the floor with your forearms parallel to each other (Learn more yoga poses for athletes.)

This is not a complete solution for low-back pain, and it may not work for everyone. If you continue to experience low-back pain, consult a physical therapist. Be aware of how your body responds to different movements to help your therapist identify the root cause of your pain. The better you can inform a sports medicine professional, the more likely he or she will be able to help you and keep you in the game.

Watch this video from SMARTER Team Training for more info on low back, hip flexor and hamstring health.

Editor's Note: Coach Taylor has developed the SMARTER Team Training Audio Interview Series, dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason and public understanding of prudent, purposeful and productive strength and conditioning practices for clients and athletes. Listen to episodes featuring some of the best experts in the fields of strength and conditioning, personal training, sports nutrition and sport psychology here.

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