Low back pain and instability wreak havoc among active and inactive people alike, and while there are varying intensities and causes, the discomfort can be debilitating. There is no single factor that links every low back problem to one another but there are a few common themes between them. One of the major contributing factors to low back pain is the muscular system, specifically the musculature surrounding the upper legs, hips, spine, and abdominal regions. Muscle weakness and/or tightness in these regions combined together can place a great deal of stress on the vertebrae of the lumbar (lower) spine, which in turn causes pain. Without personal alignment and muscle testing it is impossible to prescribe a single set of exercises and stretches to solve everyone’s lower back pain. However, there are a few things that everyone should do to rehabilitate and prevent further back pain.

Isometric holds are a great way to train the muscles that surround the lower back and abdominal region. Planks and superman’s are good examples of these exercises. To execute a plank, hold your body in a straight line while propped on your forearms and toes. If this proves too difficult, use your knees instead. People often experience low back pain while doing this exercise because their backs are arched backwards. To fix this, raise the butt up slightly in the air. The superman is a similar exercise but safely works the lower back muscles instead of the abdominal muscles. Simply lay on your stomach with your arms outstretched overhead and your legs straight. Simultaneously lift your legs and arms off the ground and hold them about six inches off the ground.

These two exercises are a great place to start when recovering from a back injury or if you are looking to prevent one. Either way, start small and slow and as always ask a trainer if you are interested in learning more.