How to Relieve and Prevent Lower Back Pain
By Steve Berry
Updated on October 24, 2018
Expert Content This article contains content contributed by an expert in their field.

Most people will suffer with lower back pain at some stage in their life.

The lumbar spine is the most moveable area of the back, and is therefore the most prone to injury.

When the discs become irritated, this can cause an intense and sharp pain or a continuous dull aching sensation.

Sometimes, the pain will ease on its own. However, when it doesn’t there are many effective ways to improve and reduce symptoms.

When we feel tension or pain, it’s often because of the soft tissues in our body.

Daily activities, such as sitting at a desk for prolonged periods and using our mobile phones regularly, causes us to lean into a “foetal” position.

This causes the muscles on the front of the body to develop tension, causing a curved back, bowed head and rounding of the shoulders.

This posture can cause tension in the surrounding muscles, such as the hip flexors and chest, and may cause weakness in the supporting hip muscles, such as the glutes (buttocks) and core.

Eventually this will lead to poor posture and back pain.

Why Lower Back Pain Is So Common

Lower back pain is the most common reason why people visit me for a sports massage.

It is the most common musculoskeletal reason for hospital visits and it is one of the most common reasons why people call in sick at work.

Working at a desk for prolonged periods can cause lower back pain (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Working at a desk for prolonged periods can cause lower back pain (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Let’s take a look at the main culprits.

When the hip flexors are tight they pull the torso forwards, especially when sitting or doing exercises like squats with poor form. This movement is called hip flexion.

In order for this movement to occur the hip extensors, primarily the gluteal muscles, must relax.

Prolonged sitting may cause the glute muscles to be in a state of relaxation for long periods, eventually leading to weakness.

This, in turn, will place a lot of stress on the lower back, specifically in the lumbar region, because there is no support from these huge and powerful postural muscles.

The hamstrings also contribute. Short and tight hamstrings may cause a posterior tilt in the pelvis, leading to stress, again in the lower back, as well as postural misalignment.

Those of you who work at a desk all day – and perform squats, deadlifts or lunges frequently and do spin classes often, are likely to suffer the most.

How To Prevent and Relieve Lower Back Pain

There are a few ways to prevent this common form of lower back pain.

Standing or going for a short walk regularly (every 20 to 30 minutes) when working at a desk all day may help.

Regular sports massages can help to correct posture problems (Photo: Steve Berry)
Regular sports massages can help to correct posture problems (Photo: Steve Berry)

Stretching and opening up the chest and hip flexors (Yin yoga is great for this), and strengthening the glutes, core and back muscles may also help.

This, combined with regular sports massages and yoga, will improve muscle imbalances and postural abnormalities.

If you suffer with back pain get in contact with me (see below).

I can provide a course of sports therapy treatments as well as rehabilitation exercises that will help improve your posture and reduce chronic lower back pain.

3 Quick Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain Fast

Gently try these exercises to help relieve some of your lower back pain. Only perform them if the pain is not too severe.

You should see your doctor if your pain doesn’t improve within a few weeks and/or you experience severe pain while trying any of these exercises.

1) Knee To Chest

Knee to Chest stretch
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Lie on your back with your toes pointed towards the ceiling.

Slowly bend your right knee and pull your leg up to your chest.

Put your hands around your knee and gently pull your leg towards your chest. Hold for around 20 seconds.

Slowly return to the starting position and repeat with your other leg.

2) Cobra Stretch

Cobra Stretch
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

This stretch can help to loosen tight abdominal muscles and help the lower back.

Lie on your stomach with your legs extended and your flat on the floor either side of your head.

Slowly push your body upwards until your weight is resting on your hands and arms.

Keeping your hips as close to the floor as possible, you should be able to feel a gentle stretch in your abdominal muscles. Hold it for around 15 seconds.

Slowly return to the starting position and repeat five times.

3) Knee Rolls

Knee Rolls
(Photo: YouTube / sportsinjuryclinic.net)

Lie on your back and place a small cushion under your head.

Keep your knees bent and together (you can place a pillow or cushion between your knees for comfort). Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.

Roll your knees to one side, keeping both shoulders on the floor. Only perform the movement as far as feels comfortable.

Hold the stretch for one deep breath and return to the starting position.

Repeat the movement four to five times on each side.

See the NHS website for more tips on relieving lower back pain.

About The Author: Steve Berry

I became a personal trainer because I’ve always been passionate about exercise and living a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Everyone knows that exercise and healthy eating is beneficial for your health, but some people find it difficult to find motivation. This is where I can help!

Steve Berry is a London-based Personal Trainer (Photo: Steve Berry)
Steve Berry is a London-based Personal Trainer (Photo: Steve Berry)

I provide knowledge, supervision and inspiration in order to help people achieve their desired goals, whether it’s to improve fitness, lose weight or tone up, I will be there to help every step of the way.

My training sessions combine functional fitness workouts with boxing-based exercises, in order to improve muscle tone, fitness, weight control, endurance, core strength, co-ordination and posture. I train most people in the comfort of their own home. The space required is minimal. No gym, no problem!

When I qualified as a trainer in 2012, I spent seven days a week doing high intensity exercise.

I picked up many injuries from over-training and I had to put everything on hold. I decided to give sports massage a go.

To my amazement, a lot of my injuries were completely fixed within a few treatments, and my flexibility and performance improved significantly. I felt like a new person!

I found this very interesting so I decided to enrol on a two-year course in sports therapy. Since then, I have helped hundreds of people improve their overall quality of life by remaining injury free.

You can contact Steve Berry on Instagram, his official website or by phone on: 07840 949723.