Are you familiar with Pilates?
This popular workout was the creation of Joseph Pilates back at the beginning of the 20th century, and it has long been lauded for its ability to help muscle conditioning. Beyond that benefit, many believe that it can help with lower back pain, countering the effect of too much sitting and insufficient core strength.
Pilates classes are widely available, but if you have low back pain and don’t have time or access to a studio or instructor, you can still learn to do many of the exercises on your own. The goal is to strengthen your core muscles: this includes the abs as well as the back muscles, hips and glutes, all of which form the support for your spine.
The following four Pilates exercises will all fit the bill of strengthening your core, as well as pinpointing areas of weakness that your lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey will need to know about should your pain continue.
Read below for detailed instructions on how to do each.
- Pilates Scissors
- Hip Bridge
- Pilates 100
- Bird Dog
Begin the scissors exercise by lying flat on your back, with your legs outstretched and your arms extended over your head. Lift your right leg straight up while tightening your abs and curling your shoulder blades up, reaching for either your thigh or your calf until you can grab it with both hands. Your left leg should be lifted off the ground. Once you’ve completed this move, switch your legs so that your left leg is pointing up and you are grabbing it while your right leg is just above the ground.
Begin the hip bridge exercise lying on your back with your knees bent. Your arms should be flat on the ground next to your body, with your hands resting close to your hips and your feet about hip distance apart. Push your hips up off of the ground while keeping your heels on the ground, squeezing your gluteal muscles and focusing on keeping your back a straight diagonal line between your shoulders and knees.
Begin the Pilates 100 exercise lying on your back with your knees bent. Squeeze your heels together and point your toes while stretching your legs out and lifting them about 65 degrees off of the ground. At the same time, contract your stomach muscles and lift your head and shoulders off of the floor, extending your hands and arms straight down towards your hips while pumping them up and down as you inhale five times and exhale five times. Repeat ten times for a total of 100 inhalation and exhalation.
The bird dog exercises starts in table position with your back straight. Point your right arm forward while extending your left leg straight out behind you, keeping your back flat and your hips square to the ground. Hold and then switch sides. Repeat several times.
If these exercises don’t provide you with relief, it may be time to seek help from our New Jersey lumbar spine pain specialist.