Low Back Rehab
When dealing with low back pain, the first thing to address is posture and the relationship between the spine and pelvis.
This first exercise is Posterior Pelvic tilt; tucking the pelvis underneath and pulling the belly button back against one's spine.
Next exercise - Bridge. starting with a flat low back against the floor, contract the glutes and push the hips up as shown below. Hold this position at the top for 2 seconds and then relax back down.
Next exercise - Bird-dog, is an exercise to train the arms, legs, and core simultaneously. Focus on keeping belly button to the spine and not over arching the low back. Pictured below is the starting position. The ending position is where you bring the outstretched elbow and outstretched leg together for 2 seconds keeping the rest of the body still. This exercise is meant to be performed slow and controlled.
Next exercise - Partial sit up focusing on proper core activation and less strain on the low back than a typical crunch. Starting position the hands are underneath the low back. Low back is flattened against hands the entire time.
Notice that the ending position is only far enough for the shoulders to leave the ground. Keeping flat low back the entire time, breath out as lifting upper body off the ground, hold for 1 second and then back down.
Next exercise - Deadbug. This exercise is good for retraining the core and low back to work together during every day movements such as walking, standing, sitting, and exercising. The first step is: tucking low back against the floor, knees bent and arms straight out. Next bring the opposite arm and leg together, still keeping the low back flat, hold for 1 second and then alternate to the other side. Notice the other arm not touching the knee goes back into extension.
Next exercise - Side plank, Modified version. Focus on keeping the spine in a neutral position and head in line with the shoulder and a tight core. Pictured below is the starting position with the knees bent. This exercise improves the strength of the quadratus lumborum, a very important muscle that stabilizes the low back and is typical underactive in people with low back pain. After this variation is mastered, one can move onto a harder variation.
Side plank - variation 2. This is the 2nd variation of the side plank with one leg outstretched and the other lending support. Remember: keep core tight and spine neutral. Work up to holds of 15 seconds.
Side Plank - advanced. This is the hardest of all the side planks with both legs outstretched.