Back Exercises

Back Exercises- How to do and When to do

If you have pain in your back, do these exercises 2–3 times each day or as told by your doctor. When the pain goes away, do the exercises once each day, but repeat the steps more times for each exercise (do more repetitions).

If you do not have pain in your back, do these exercises once each day or as told by your doctor.

Exercises

Single Knee to Chest

Do these steps 3–5 times in a row for each leg:

  1. Lie on your back on a firm bed or the floor with your legs stretched out.
  2. Bring one knee to your chest.
  3. Hold your knee to your chest by grabbing your knee or thigh.
  4. Pull on your knee until you feel a gentle stretch in your lower back.
  5. Keep doing the stretch for 10–30 seconds.
  6. Slowly let go of your leg and straighten it.

Pelvic Tilt

Do these steps 5–10 times in a row:

  1. Lie on your back on a firm bed or the floor with your legs stretched out.
  2. Bend your knees so they point up to the ceiling. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  3. Tighten your lower belly (abdomen) muscles to press your lower back against the floor. This will make your tailbone point up to the ceiling instead of pointing down to your feet or the floor.
  4. Stay in this position for 5–10 seconds while you gently tighten your muscles and breathe evenly.

Cat–Cow

Do these steps until your lower back bends more easily:

  1. Get on your hands and knees on a firm surface. Keep your hands under your shoulders, and keep your knees under your hips. You may put padding under your knees.
  2. Let your head hang down, and make your tailbone point down to the floor so your lower back is round like the back of a cat.
  3. Stay in this position for 5 seconds.
  4. Slowly lift your head and make your tailbone point up to the ceiling so your back hangs low (sags) like the back of a cow.
  5. Stay in this position for 5 seconds.

Press-Ups

Do these steps 5–10 times in a row:

  1. Lie on your belly (face-down) on the floor.
  2. Place your hands near your head, about shoulder-width apart.
  3. While you keep your back relaxed and keep your hips on the floor, slowly straighten your arms to raise the top half of your body and lift your shoulders. Do notuse your back muscles. To make yourself more comfortable, you may change where you place your hands.
  4. Stay in this position for 5 seconds.
  5. Slowly return to lying flat on the floor.

Bridges

Do these steps 10 times in a row:

  1. Lie on your back on a firm surface.
  2. Bend your knees so they point up to the ceiling. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  3. Tighten your butt muscles and lift your butt off of the floor until your waist is almost as high as your knees. If you do not feel the muscles working in your butt and the back of your thighs, slide your feet 1–2 inches farther away from your butt.
  4. Stay in this position for 3–5 seconds.
  5. Slowly lower your butt to the floor, and let your butt muscles relax.

If this exercise is too easy, try doing it with your arms crossed over your chest.

Belly Crunches

Do these steps 5–10 times in a row:

  1. Lie on your back on a firm bed or the floor with your legs stretched out.
  2. Bend your knees so they point up to the ceiling. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  3. Cross your arms over your chest.
  4. Tip your chin a little bit toward your chest but do notbend your neck.
  5. Tighten your belly muscles and slowly raise your chest just enough to lift your shoulder blades a tiny bit off of the floor.
  6. Slowly lower your chest and your head to the floor.

Back Lifts

Do these steps 5–10 times in a row:

  1. Lie on your belly (face-down) with your arms at your sides, and rest your forehead on the floor.
  2. Tighten the muscles in your legs and your butt.
  3. Slowly lift your chest off of the floor while you keep your hips on the floor. Keep the back of your head in line with the curve in your back. Look at the floor while you do this.
  4. Stay in this position for 3–5 seconds.
  5. Slowly lower your chest and your face to the floor.

Contact a doctor if:

  • Your back pain gets a lot worse when you do an exercise.
  • Your back pain does not lessen 2 hours after you exercise.

If you have any of these problems, stop doing the exercises. Do notdo them again unless your doctor says it is okay.

Get help right away if:

  • You have sudden, very bad back pain. If this happens, stop doing the exercises. Do not do them again unless your doctor says it is okay.
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