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Abdominal Exercises

To be most effective, abdominal exercises should include focus on working the following muscles:

sciatica exercise

  • The abdominal muscles
  • The lower abdominal muscles
  • The outside (oblique) muscles
    sciatica exercise

Pelvic Tilt – Lie on floor with knees bent, feet parallel and arms to the side

  • Tighten lower abdominal muscles, pulling the navel and lower back toward the floor, without using buttocks or leg muscles (See Figure 10)
  • Hold for 5 seconds
  • 5-10 repetitions

exercise ballTrunk Curl – Lie on floor with knees bent and arms crossed on the chest

  • Using upper abdominal muscles, raise trunk of body off the floor slightly, to about 15 degrees (See Figure 6)
  • Hold 5 seconds
  • Lower trunk slowly to the floor.

To be effective, motion should raise the chest, rather than the head or neck, and only be only a slight lift. Rising too far, to a sitting position, works leg muscles not the abdominals.

Water Exercise/Leg Lifts – Stand in the pool next to the side wall with one hand on the edge

    • Raise one straight leg slowly to the front
    • Lower slowly to the starting position
    • 5 repetitions per leg

Also see Water Therapy Exercise Program

In This Article:

  • Back Exercises and Abdominal Exercise Recommendations
  • Abdominal Exercises and Back Exercises – Getting Started
  • Abdominal Exercises
  • Back Exercises
  • Video: Why is Exercise Important for Lower Back Pain?

Exercise Ball/Sit-ups – Sit on the exercise ball with back in neutral position, feet flat on floor and arms straight overhead

  • Lean back, flexing at hips, and pointing toes to ground (See Figure 5)
  • Hold for 5 seconds
  • Sit up slowly, setting heels back on the ground
  • 5-10 repetitions

Exercise and Back Pain

A typical response to experiencing back pain is to take it easy – either staying in bed or at least stopping any activity that is at all strenuous. While this approach is understandable and may even be recommended in the short term, when done for more than a day or two it can actually undermine healing. Instead, active forms of back exercises are almost always necessary to rehabilitate the spine and help alleviate back pain.

Watch: 3 Simple Ways to Indulge Your Spine

When done in a controlled, gradual, and progressive manner, active back exercises distribute nutrients into the disc space and soft tissues in the back to keep the discs, muscles, ligaments, and joints healthy. Consequently, a regular routine of lower back exercises helps patients avoid stiffness and weakness, minimize recurrences of lower back pain, and reduce the severity and duration of possible future episodes of low back pain.

In This Article:

  • Exercise and Back Pain
  • Stretching for Back Pain Relief
  • Specific Hamstring Stretches for Back Pain Relief
  • Back Strengthening Exercises
  • Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise
  • Video: Why is Exercise Important for Lower Back Pain?

Depending upon the patient’s specific diagnosis and level of pain, the back pain exercises andrehabilitation programs will be very different, so it is important for patients to see a spine specialist trained to develop an individualized program of back exercises and to provide instruction on using the correct form and technique.

See How a Physical Therapist Can Help with Exercise

To be effective, a patient’s program of back exercises should be comprehensive, working the whole body even if it targets the back. Two back exercises commonly advised by physical therapists to treat back pain are McKenzie exercises and dynamic lumbar stabilization.

A balanced workout of back exercises should include a combination of stretching, strengthening, and low-impact aerobic conditioning.