How is your lower back feeling after doing the exercises in the How to Treat Your Low Back Disc Pain – Part I? If you made it through and are experiencing some relief, great! If you are still in pain, I recommend you try this next set of exercises as well. Every disc injury is different, and one or all of these exercises may be the answer to your relief. If none of these help, read through our Diagnosing the 3 Types of Lower Back Pain blog to make sure you aren’t experiencing a different type of lower back injury. You might be experiencing a joint or muscular pain instead of a disc issue.
Exercises for Lower Back Disc Pain
If you have a disc herniation and subsequent spinal stenosis, a few of these exercises may give you discomfort or pain down the leg. Expect to have a 4/10 pain on the pain scale when doing some exercises; the pain should subside over the coming weeks.
Exercise Superman to Strengthen the Lower Back
This is an excellent exercise to strengthen the lower back muscles and reinforce your injured disc. Lay on the floor with both arms extended overhead and lift the upper body and legs off the ground. Hold this position for 2 seconds, then release back to the floor. Do 10-20 repetitions for 2 sets.
Strengthening with Side Plank
This exercise is simple, yet effective, at strengthening the oblique muscles, abdominals, and quadratus lumborum muscle. Side planks greatly benefit our patients with disc pain, and they build strength around their weakened spine. Start this exercise on one elbow and your feet as shown in the picture. Keep your feet, hips, and shoulders stacked on top of each other like you were flat against a wall. Hold this position for up to 1 minute per side. If this position is difficult, bend the knees at 90 degrees and do the side plank on your knees rather than your feet.
Split Squat to Keep Neutral Spine
Similar to a lunge, this exercise teaches you how to keep a neutral spine. I highly recommend you do this in front of a mirror. Follow along with our short Split Squat Basic video to help you with basic concepts. Start this exercise in the kneeling position. Get your ear, shoulder, hip, and knee in perfect alignment as if your back was up against a wall. Both knees should be bent to a 90-degree angle. Lift yourself off the floor by straightening the front leg. Keep the back knee slightly bent so that you maintain the alignment of your ear, shoulder, hip, and knee. It is normal to feel an immense stretch in the front of the leg that is down on the floor. Do 5-15 repetitions per side for 2 sets.
Test Your Core Strength with Leg Drop
This is an expansion on the “Roll Up” we discussed in How to Treat Your Low Back Disc Pain – Part I. This exercise is meant to test your core strength! Keep your abs engaged and your back flat to the floor. Very slowly drop one leg, exhaling as you drop the leg and inhaling as you lift it. Do 20 alternating leg drops for 2 sets. The most important part of this exercise is to maintain a flat back on the floor. Seriously, everything from your tailbone all the way up to your shoulders should be completely flat on the floor! If you have trouble keeping it flat, don’t drop your leg all the way to the floor, or consider just holding your legs above your hips as shown in image 2 for 2 minutes.
Quadratus Lumborum Door Stretch
This one is just too difficult to explain in text. Watch our Quadratus Lumborum Stretch video showing how to do it, and if you have any questions (about any of the exercises), please leave a comment below!