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low back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability. At least 80 percent of Americans will experience low back pain in their lifetime.

Most low back pain is the result of an injury, such as muscle sprains or strains due to sudden movements or poor body mechanics while lifting heavy objects.

Low back pain can also be the result of certain diseases, such as:

  • Cancer of the spinal cord
  • A ruptured or herniated disc
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney infections
  • Infections of the spine

Acute back pain can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, while chronic back pain is pain that lasts longer than three months.

Low back pain is more likely to occur in individuals between the ages of 30 and 50. This is partly due to the changes that occur in the body with aging. As you grow older, there’s a reduction in the fluid content between the vertebrae in the spine.

This means discs in the spine experience irritation more easily. You also lose some muscle tone, which makes the back more prone to injury. This is why strengthening your back muscles and using good body mechanics are helpful in preventing low back pain.

What are the causes of low back pain?

Strains

The muscles and ligaments in the back can stretch or tear due to excess activity. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the lower back, as well as muscle spasms. Rest and physical therapy are remedies for these symptoms.

Disc injury

The discs in the back are prone to injury. This risk increases with age. The outside of the disc can tear or herniate.

A herniated disc, which is also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the cartilage surrounding the disc pushes against the spinal cord or nerve roots. The cushion that sits between the spinal vertebrae extends outside its normal position.

Physiotherapy Exercises for Lower Back Pain in Women

This can result in compression of the nerve root as it exits from the spinal cord and through the vertebral bones. Disc injury usually occurs suddenly after lifting something or twisting the back. Unlike a back strain, pain from a disc injury usually lasts for more than 72 hours.

Sciatica

Sciatica can occur with a herniated disc if the disc presses on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve connects the spine to the legs. As a result, sciatica can cause pain in the legs and feet. This pain usually feels like burning, or pins and needles.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is when the spinal column narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

Spinal stenosis is most commonly due to degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae. The result is compression of the nerve roots or spinal cord by bony spurs or soft tissues, such as discs.

Pressure on the spinal nerves causes symptoms such as:

  • Numbness
  • Cramping
  • Weakness

You might feel these symptoms anywhere in the body. Many people with spinal stenosis notice their symptoms worsen when standing or walking.

Abnormal spine curvatures

Scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis are all conditions that cause abnormal curvatures in the spine.

These are congenital conditions that are usually first diagnosed during childhood or adolescence. The abnormal curvature causes pain and poor posture because it places pressure on:

  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Vertebrae

Exercises to strengthen your back

Bottom-to-heel stretch

Kneel on all fours while trying to keep your back and neck straight but don’t lock your elbows. Slowly move your bottom backwards to meet your heels. Hold the stretch for a deep breath and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Cat and dog stretch

Kneel on all fours and arch your back upwards while dropping your chin to your chest. Then drop your stomach and lift your head up tilting your pelvis as you do so. Repeat 10 times.

Child’s pose

Sit back on your heels with your arms stretched forwards, head and palms down. Work your hands as far away from you as you can, using your fingers to pull your hands along. Now take a deep breath in and out. Then do this to each side. Turn to your right and place your hands flat on the ground. Reach again, breathe again. Then turn to your left and do the same.

Lying knee hug

Lie on your back. Lift your shoulder blades off the ground. Clasp your hands on your right knee and pull it towards your chest. Now swap legs. Repeat 10 times.

Bird dog

Kneel on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Stretch your left leg and right arm so they are as horizontal as you can get them, in line with your back. Hold it for three to five seconds. Then swap, stretching your right leg and left arm. If you can, tense your bottom muscles while stretching.

Plank and feet

Go into a push-up position with your arms extended — not bent. Lift your left foot upwards a few inches and down again. Do the same for the right foot. Remember to keep your back straight. Repeat 10 times.

Kneeling psoas stretch

Go into a lunge, with your left knee on the ground and place your hands on your right knee. Hold your body upright to stretch the front of your left leg. Then swap. Repeat 10 times.

Back extension

Lie face down on the floor (it can help to place a cushion under your hips). Place your arms by your side. Now lift your head and arms a few inches, hold for a few seconds, then slowly release. Repeat 10 times.

Pelvic tilts

Sit on the edge of a chair or bench and slowly rock your pelvis forwards, and then backwards. Do this for 30 seconds.

Piriformis stretch

 

Sit in a chair and place your right ankle on your left leg. Press down gently on your right knee while holding your ankle with the other hand to stop it sliding. Now sit up tall, then lean forwards. Hold for 30 seconds and slowly sit back. Now repeat for the other leg.

The bridge

Lie on your back with your knees raised and your feet flat to the floor. Allow the natural curvature of your back to remain — don’t make your back flat to the floor. Now lift your hips upwards, tilting your pelvis as you go. When your body and legs are in a straight line, hold for ten seconds.

Lying lateral leg lifts

Exercises for Lower Back Pain in Women

Lie on your side (a towel or flat cushion to fill the gap between your tummy and the floor can help). If you can, do this exercise with your back to a wall and place your lower foot flat against the wall. Keep a slight forward tilt of the pelvis and use your hand to stop you from rocking forwards. Breathe in, and, as you breathe out, lift your uppermost leg. Ensure you do not twist your foot to point upwards.

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