Lower Back Pain:
to Prevent Lower Back Pain
Dr. Ben Kim
could choose just one exercise to do regularly to prevent low back
pain, it would be the yoga pose that you see in this picture. This
simple pose - often called a form of "Warrior Pose" - combines two
actions that I have found to be critical for preventing chronic low
first action is to stretch your hamstrings. Your hamstrings are
the thick muscles that line the back of your thighs. When you do Warrior Pose,
the leg that you have rooted on the ground experiences an effective hamstring
stretch as your other leg rises behind you.
second action is to stabilize your core by strengthening your lower back
muscles. Warrior Pose requires that you contract your lower back muscles
as you bring one of your legs up behind you while keeping your upper body parallel
with the ground.
you find the Warrior Pose difficult to maintain, try doing it while using both
of your arms to hold onto a stable surface, like a chair, table, or sofa. Doing
this won't take away from the two components of Warrior Pose that are important
for low back pain prevention, and will actually allow you to perform Warrior Pose
for longer stretches of time.
long should you maintain Warrior Pose? For as long as you can comfortably maintain
it while feeling your hamstrings stretch and your lower back muscles contract.
If you haven't been physically active in some time, then I recommend beginning
with just a second or two on each leg. As your stamina and physical condition
improve, you can work your way up to holding the Warrior Pose for 10-30 seconds
at a time on each leg.
often should you do Warrior Pose? As often as you can without causing an uncomfortable
strain in any of your muscles.
doing Warrior Pose, please remember to maintain steady breathing. An effective
way to promote steady breathing while doing any stretch is to make a conscious
effort to keep your facial muscles relaxed. As you maintain Warrior Pose while
breathing evenly, visualize your hamstrings becoming longer and stronger, and
your lower back muscles becoming stronger as well.
you have a health challenge with one or both of your knees that makes it difficult
to do Warrior Pose on a fully straightened bottom leg, you can try this pose with
your bottom leg slightly bent (flexed) - this will take some pressure off the
surfaces of your knee joint, but won't take too much away from the hamstring stretch
and the lower back contraction.
Notes on Exercising and Stretching to Prevent Low Back Pain:
why stretching your hamstrings is critical addressing chronic low back pain, view
the following article:
Stretch for Chronic Low Back Pain
fitness and physical health care experts recommend doing abdominal exercises to
strengthen your core trunk region. While I support this recommendation, my experiences
have led me to believe that low back strength is more important than abdominal
strength for preventing low back pain. If you can regularly exercise both regions,
I encourage you to do so. If you're just looking to do one exercise/stretch to
begin with, the Warrior Pose is an excellent choice.
Pose and all other strenuous exercises should be avoided during episodes of acute
low back pain. For more information on treating acute low back pain, view:
Best Treatment For Acute Back Pain
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