Effective Exercises for Lower Back Pain

By Lisa Parris
Stretching to help relieve lower back pain.
Stretching to help relieve lower back pain.

Lower back pain is an unfortunately common experience for golfers. The disc spaces and soft tissues are prone to injury through strain caused by poor swing mechanics or overuse of back muscles by players in need of physical conditioning. The game itself requires repeated twists and bends, which place a great deal of stress on the spinal column, causing inflammation and discomfort in the lower back. In response to these injuries, many people rest, staying off their feet, and wait for the pain to subside. While this response is understandable, after 48 hours, resting may do more harm than good.


Before attempting to stretch your lower back muscles, warm up with light aerobic activity. Aerobic activity increases circulation and loosens tight muscles, strengthening your heart and decreasing your recovery time. Additionally, aerobic exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, the "feel-good" chemical that reduces pain and discomfort while elevating the mood. If you are already suffering from back pain, you might consider swimming or water aerobics, which remove pressure from the spinal column. If your back muscles are not currently experiencing distress, walking, biking, jogging or hiking are a good choices. Gradually work your way up from 10 minutes per day to 30 minutes per day or more, but be careful not to push yourself too hard. Increase your workout time in 1- or 2-minute increments.


Follow your aerobic exercise with some simple stretches. When you focus the stretching on the spine, back, stomach and thigh muscles, you increase the range of motion in the spinal column and reduce the risk of further back injury because of sudden strain. For example, you can stretch your hamstrings by lying on your back with your knees bent. Grab your right leg directly behind the knee and interlock your fingers. Extend your right leg, pointing your foot toward the ceiling. Then slowly pull your right leg toward your chest until you can feel the stretch along the back of the thigh. Hold the leg still for 20 seconds and then slowly return to your original position. Repeat with the left leg. Perform this exercise at least 5 times with each leg to achieve the best results.


When your muscles have been adequately stretched, do a few strengthening exercises. Improving the general condition of the muscles in the lumbar region will allow you to perform daily tasks more efficiently and reduce the risk of injury because of chronic overuse. One simple exercise you can perform is called a wall squat. You begin by standing with your back flat against a wall. Extend your feet approximately 12 inches from your body while pressing your torso against the wall. Bend your knees as if you are sitting in an invisible chair. Maintain this position for 5 seconds and then return to the starting pose. Repeat the exercise 10 times each day to develop strong lower back muscles.

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