The following exercises are suitable for most people with backache; it has been found that low back pain is more common in people who are overweight, have poor posture, weak abdominal muscles, stiffness and tight hip muscles, especially the psoas, and the hamstrings. These exercises, if performed regularly and thoroughly, will help diminish all these pain-causing problems.
To get down on to the floor comfortably, go on to your knees first, then your hands; turn on to one hip and elbow and lower yourself down gently on to your back. To get up, reverse the procedure: on to one hip and elbow, turn on to hands and knees, then one knee, and stand up.
Abdominal strengthening exercises-Start by lying on the floor with knees bent.
1. Rest one hand on your abdomen. Take a deep slow breath in; as you breathe out, gently
pull in your abdominal muscles. Repeat 5 times.
Get into the habit of breathing out when tightening your abdominal muscles: this should help you avoid holding your breath while exercising, which causes an increase in intra-abdominal pressure and thus increases the stress on your spine. You do not have to think about breathing in; it happens automatically.
Practise tightening your abdominal muscles frequently during the day; strong tummy muscles give your back extra protection.
2. Flatten the hollow of your back down on to the floor, at the same time squeeze your
buttocks together so that the lower part of your pelvis lifts slightly.
This is a very important exercise which mobilises the lumbar spine, as well as strengthening
the abdominal and hip extensor muscles. Practise it in sitting as well as lying, and do it
frequently during the day.
3. Lift head and shoulders and slide hands up to knees, keep feet firmly pressed on to the
floor. Hold for a count of 4 and lower your head and shoulders.
4. Cross arms across chest; lift head and shoulders and reach with the elbow in the direction
of the opposite knee; hold for a count of 4. Repeat to the other side.
5. Lift both bent knees on to chest: straighten legs towards ceiling; hold; bend knees and put
feet back on to floor.
This exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles and stretches the hamstrings.
6. Bend knees on to chest: lift buttocks off floor and hold for a count of 4. This is a very
strong abdominal exercise.
7. Lift both bent knees on to chest. Lift head and shoulders and put hands on knees. Try to
push knees away with your hands, at the same time resisting the pressure with your knees.
This is a strong static, or isometric, exercise.