Since my post on piriformis syndrome and how I overcame my low back pain, I have gotten a lot of feedback from people dealing with hip and pelvic pain related to piriformis syndrome, and who have thanked me for the checklist I provided in the post as a bonus. I felt so thankful for taking the step to opening up to you and writing about my experience. My intention was to give hope for all of those who are feeling hopeless about it. Because let’s face it, it can be really tough when you have seen about 100+ practitioner and no one seems to be able to “fix” you.
A lot of you guys probably have experienced low back pain at some point of your life, and it can be a frustrating thing to deal with. I have dealt with all kinds of low back pain – piriformis syndrome, disc herniation, and pelvic inflammation.
In my experience, doing less was always more. Too much stretching, and foam rolling always backfired on me. I remember taking a break every hour or half an hour to stretch. It only aggravated things and felt much worse afterwards.
Today I want to introduce you to 3 postural therapy exercises and 2 strength training exercises that have helped me TREMENDOUSLY in the healing process that I still made it a practice for me to do every day.
Postural therapy is an amazing practice you can do from home to realign your joints and restore proper alignment. We tend to spend too much time sitting, standing, looking at our phones with our heads down. This creates a lot of muscle imbalances that lead to chronic pain.
I make postural therapy a must. Otherwise, I am just treating symptoms. Working on your posture also reduces your visits to the physio clinics because you don’t need to get “re-adjusted” every week to treat the symptoms of postural misalignment.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying going to physio is bad, I go there myself when I need to. I am just saying that doing some work at home can help make those visits less frequent. Less pain = fewer visits 😉
LOWER BACK PAIN RELIEF – POSTURAL THERAPY EXERCISES
Wall stretch: My most favorite exercise. I can’t get enough of how much relief this exercise gives me. You stand facing the wall. Your feet, hips and knees should be aligned (one line). Lock out your elbows, and kick your glutes backward to create an arch in your low back (try your best). Tighten your quads and disengage your shoulder blades. Breathe and hold for at least 30 seconds.
Sitting Floor: An Egoscue exercise that I do everyday (with or without pain) – sit against the wall. Have your legs in front of you, hip-width apart. Your glutes and shoulder blades should be touching the wall or as close as possible. Tighten your quads and have your feet flex to point towards you. This may make your legs start to elevate and that’s totally fine. Rest your hands on your thighs and hold for at least 5 minutes.
Hip Flexor Stretch: As illustrated make sure you do not lean forward too much. The twist is great to feel a deeper stretch and also to target the psoas muscles. You can lift your hand up to increase the stretch too. Hold for few seconds, release and hold again.
LOW BACK PAIN RELIEF – STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
Cobra move: This is an amazing exercise to restore the spine curvature. I suggest you start slowly and move up as your flexibility increases. Going on your hands too early may put more pressure on your low back, so it’s all about starting small. I would hold this for about 20 seconds, take a break and do 2 more reps.
Opposite hand to leg reach: You can do this without the stability ball. Since this is a strengthening exercise, I love adding the core challenge. The ball actually also adds some stability in addition to the challenge. As you lift your arm and leg, keep your core tight and focus. If you lose focus you will lose stability. The mind-body connection is key here. Do 10 reps alternating, rest and repeat two more times.
How to apply these moves into your life or fitness program
The postural therapy exercises can be done at any time during the day. I prefer doing it early in the morning for about 15 minutes and also during the day for a few minutes. It’s kind of pressing the reset button and realigning your body after long hours of sitting and/or driving.
The strengthening exercises can be done once a day, preferably early in the morning. You can start with 2 sets of each exercise and increase to 3. As you can see, none of the strengthening exercises involve crunching.
I would completely eliminate crunches as it only aggravates the pain, especially if you happen to have a disc herniation.
Dealing with low back pain requires patience and also listening to how your body reacts to certain exercises. Take notes each day about how you are feeling and the improvements you have made. If you are currently following a rigid fitness program, or just doing the same old I invite you to take a short break from that. It is important to review your program and see which exercises are not supporting you heal or that are causing more harm than good because you are not performing them well.
Assessing your form, assessing if you recover enough as well as what you are doing outside of the gym, is very important. You may be spending 15 minutes a day doing the exercises in this post, but what are you doing during the other 12 hours?
It is my hope that you will use these exercises and do them. If you need to consult with your physician before trying them, please do so. In my experience, I only got relieved from them. If you have done any of these and found them helpful, let me know in the comments area below 🙂 I’d love to hear your feedback!