Lower back pain is the number one cause for people to drop out of work. According to the World Health Organization, about 60-70% of all people will experience lower back pain at least one time in their life.



Often, there is no specific reason why you’re feeling pain in your back.

We call this nonspecific back pain and is often felt during bending forward. If this is the case, you can learn here how to bend forward without pain.

But sometimes the cause is very clear. We call this specific low back pain.

And for this type of back pain, it is known that exercises will help you solve this back pain.

And here I will teach you the different types of nonspecific low back pain and how you can treat it yourself with exercises.

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In fact, this is everything you will learn here:

As you can see it’s a lot so let’s jump right in it.

The anatomy of your lower back

Your lower back consists of 5 vertebrae. These are the individual bones of your back. It is also known as your lumbar spine.

lower back anatomyOn the bottom, your lower back is connected to your sacrum.

Between these vertebrae are intervertebral discs present. They are located on the body of the vertebrae. The last one is located between your last lumbar vertebrae and the beginning of your sacrum. This disc is called the L5-S1 disc.

The vertebrae also have a connection with each other. The superior articular process connects with the inferior articular process of the vertebrae above. They form a joint through which your back moves. They are covered with a thick layer of cartilage to smoothen the surface, as is your vertebral body.




Due to the orientation of the bone parts, there is a hole formed on the side of your spine. This is the place where your nerves leave your back. On every segment, there is one nerve leaving. After leaving they form bigger nerves that run through your legs.

Your spinal cord runs through the vertebral foramen.

As you get older changes to start to happen in the anatomy of your lower back. These anatomy changes can have an influence on the mobility of your back and the space for the nerves.

It also decreases the function of the stabilizing muscles in your back. Because they work less efficient your big back muscles take over. It makes them stiff which may also cause lower back pain.

Therefore the following problems might start to occur.

Sciatica causes and treatments

One of the most known terms in describing lower back pain is sciatica.

lower back pain sciaticaSciatica is the term for back pain with radiation in your leg sometimes all the way to the foot. There are many causes of sciatica. Some are not even located in your back like piriformis syndrome.

The term sciatica comes from the nerve in your leg, the sciatic nerve. It runs from your lower back through the back of your leg all the way to your foot.

Sciatica can also be caused by the following conditions:

  • A herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Osteoarthrosis

All of these conditions occur due to degeneration of your lower back.

I will explain to you what exactly happens and what you can do to reduce or even cure your symptoms.  I will start with the herniated disc as this is one of the best-known conditions.




Herniated disc

A herniated disc occurs when your intervertebral disc breaks.




Here’s what happens exactly:

Your intervertebral disc consist of 2 parts:

  • A soft gel-like inner circle
  • A hard cartilage outer circle

As you get older the outer layer becomes fragile because it loses quality.

When this happens, combined with an increase in forces applied on the intervertebral disc the outer layer might rupture.

When this happens the inside of the intervertebral disc can be pushed out.

Because space here is so small, it might put pressure on your nerve.  This pressure causes radiation problems in your in your leg. This results into a shooting pain and possible numbness in your leg.

The other thing that can happen is in an inflammatory reaction.

You see, the inner substance of your intervertebral disc has always been sealed off. This means that it didn’t have any contact with the rest of your body.

So when it suddenly happens it’s sometimes considered a treat to your body. So your body wants to clear it through an inflammatory reaction.

This also affects the nerve which causes loss of function of your leg, changes in sensation and pain.

This is when you have a herniated disc that causes problems.

However, a decent amount of herniated discs doesn’t cause any problems at all. So not everything on the MRI might be a problem.

The treatment of a herniated disc is based on pushing back the inner layer of the intervertebral disc back into place. When this happens the pressure on the nerve reduces and the intervertebral disc can recover.

With the right exercises, a herniated disc will normally fully recover within 6 months. This way you can often avoid surgery for your back pain.

On our herniated disc page you can find the complete treatment options including the right exercises and more information on the condition.

Only when there is no reduction of symptoms or you experience bladder problems or a big loss in strength surgery might be indicated.

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Degenerative disc disease

The degenerative disc disease is caused by degeneration of the intervertebral disc.

As you get older the amount of water binding fibers decreases. This means that your intervertebral disc becomes flatter since it can hold less water.




This is also the main reason you shrink when you get older.

What also happens is that your vertebrae get closer towards each other. This results in a smaller intervertebral foramen. This will apply pressure on your nerves causing radiation in your leg.

It usually only happens on one side but it might happen in both legs.

The following symptoms might point out  a degenerative disc disease:

  • Stiffening of your back
  • Radiation into your leg
  • More radiation and pain during sitting, standing or walking
  • Less radiation when laying down
  • Difficulty bending to the side of the radiation
  • More radiation when putting more weight on your shoulders

The symptoms occur through decreased space for your nerves.

It’s also a form of spinal stenosis. This is because a spinal stenosis is caused by space occupying degenerative changes in your back. This also includes a herniated disc.

Also, because of the degenerative disc, the stabilizing muscles in your back don’t work as good as they should anymore.

This is why the degenerative disc treatment is based on increasing the space in your back and restoring the mobility and stability.

I will show you which exercises to do in the treatment of spinal stenosis, which I’m about to discuss now.

The surgical option to restore the space in your back is by replacing the intervertebral disc with an artificial one. This is a big surgery with risk of lasting nerve damage. That’s why you want to avoid this surgery by doing the exercises I will show you later.

Spinal stenosis causes

As I already told you, a spinal stenosis is caused by space occupation inside the vertebral foramen, also known as the spinal canal. The following changes can  cause a spinal stenosis:

  • spinal stenosisHerniated disc
  • Degenerative disc
  • Thickened ligamentum flavum
  • Thickened ligament posterior
  • Facet arthrosis
  • Forming of osteophytes

Al these degenerative changes of your lower back can cause compression of nerves inside of your spinal column.

There are a few things that can contribute to these degenerative changes:

  • Poor posture
  • Doing heavy work
  • Overweight
  • Osteoporosis
  • A spinal injury in the past
  • Age
  • Smoking

The following symptoms can indicate that you have spinal stenosis:

  • Symptoms in both legs
  • Leg pain is worse than lower back pain
  • Pain during walking and standing
  • Less pain when sitting

Also, being older than 50 combined with the above symptoms increases your changes of heaving spinal stenosis.




The reason that you have more problems when standing is that the vertebral canal is smaller when you stand then when you bend over.

The treatment of a spinal stenosis is based on increasing the mobility of your back as well as the stability.

The reason this works so well is that the symptoms are often caused by lack of mobility due to the degenerative changes. Solving this mobility issue will increase the space within the vertebral column.

When this is done through surgery, the surgeon will remove parts of your vertebrae to increase the room. This usually reduces the mobility of your back. this is something you want and can avoid.

The following 4 exercises work great for increasing the mobility and stability of your lower back, solving lower back pain in many cases.

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Lower back pain treatment with 4 exercises

This lower back pain treatment is based on improving the mobility, stability, and strength of your lower back to avoid back surgery.

I often see a problem in at least one of these factors.

but training this can take up a long time.

Luckily there is a shortcut to relief the pain right away.

This is by wearing a lower back support brace.

This brace will take over the function of your back muscles.

And this will work great for reducing lower back pain.

When you don’t feel your lower back as much as you did before it will also make it easier to perform the following lower back pain exercises.

This will make sure you won’t ever feel your back again.

That’s why I went ahead and selected the best lower back brace for you.

And by buying it here you will also support our site.

So now it’s time to start the exercises.




Lower back pain exercise 1: Solve your stiff back

It is best to do all of the exercises on a yoga mat.

You have to do all of these exercises a few times a day. And it’s best to keep doing them for the rest of your life.

So you want to do it right.

Your bed is too soft to do the exercises the right way. And the floor is to hard.

That’s why I would recommend buying a yoga mat. this is the best and most comfortable way to perform the exercises.

So I went ahead and selected the best yoga mat for you to purchase.

And when you do it here you will also support the website.

So let’s get started:

This first lower back pain exercise will increase the rotation of your lower back.

Although this is not the biggest movement possible of your lower back, it’s still important for the function of your muscles.

The exercise goes like this:

  • Lay down on your back on a firm surface
  • Bend both knees and place your arms in a 90 degrees angle
  • Now rotate your knees to one side
  • Rotate as far as you can but keep both shoulders on the ground
  • Hold this for 10 seconds
  • Repeat this 5 times for both sides

You can also find the exercise on the video below.

Repeat this exercise twice a day. You will probably notice that one side goes easier than the other side.

Lower back pain exercise 2: Increase the extension of your lower back

The second exercise is designed to increase bending and extending your lower back. Because extending your back causes compression of the nerves in spinal stenosis, increasing this mobility will reduce the pressure on the nerves.

You can perform the exercise like this:

  • Lay down on a firm surface
  • Place both hands next to your shoulders
  • Push your upper body up
  • Keep your pelvis on the ground
  • Hold this for 3 seconds
  • Keep looking forward or even upwards
  • Repeat this for 10 seconds

You can also find a video of the exercise below:

 

Also repeat this exercise twice a day. You will notice that you will get a little higher every day. At first, it might cause pain in your lower back but this will go away.

Now that the mobility of your lower back is getting better, it’s time to increase the strength and stability of your lower back.

Lower back pain exercise 3: Training the stability of your lower back

The next exercise is designed to increase the stability of your lower back.

The stabilizing muscles are trained to work when you move your back.

Unfortunately, they don’t adjust to the degenerative changes without training. This means that because the vertebrae are closer together the moment these muscles have to react changes as well.

To correct this, we have to train the muscles properly so they will react in time again.

We’ll use the following exercise for this:

  • Lay down on your back on a firm surface with your knees bend
  • Cross your arms over your chest
  • Lift up your pelvis and hold this for 10 seconds
  • Repeat this 10 times

This is the basic version of the exercise. As you will get better you can increase the difficulty in 2 ways:

  • Hold it for 15 seconds
  • Extend one leg

You can see how to perform the exercise in the video below.

Repeat this exercise twice a day. Build it slowly just in the way I explained in the video.

exercise ballWhen you find these exercises a little boring, or they get to easy I have another suggestion for you here:

You can perform a similar exercise on an exercise ball.

You can find it in the picture below.

Because this exercise ball comes with a complete exercise guide you will now have a dozen lower back stability exercises to choose from. And at the same time, you’re supporting this website to stay for free.

And when you can perform the exercise below, I will also guaranty you that your lower back pain is over.

You can also use this ball for the next exercise.

This exercise is also great in treating a thrown out back.

lower back stability exercise

Lower back pain exercise 4: Increase the strength of your back muscles

The purpose of the last exercise is to increase the strength of your back muscles. Your big back muscles are often overused due to the lack of mobility. By training them again they will recover, reducing tension and pain.

The exercise goes as follows:

  • Lay down facing the floor.
  • Now lift up your chest, arms, and head of the ground.
  • Repeat this 10 times.
  • Make sure you keep your feet on the ground.

Try to repeat this exercise 3 times. When this is too easy, you can increase the number of repetitions to 15 or 20. Perform this exercise 2 times a day.

These 4 exercises together will solve most of your back problems. Therefore they are a must do when you experience back pain.

Osteoarthrosis causes and treatment

Another very common cause of lower back pain is osteoarthrosis.

osteoarthrosisOsteoarthrosis is caused by the degeneration of the cartilage in your lower back joint.

This can be either in de facet joints or at the coverage of the vertebral bodies.

The cartilage in your joint has to important functions:

  • Shock absorption
  • The mobility of the joints

Because your cartilage contains a lot of water, it’s great for shock absorption. This way it protects your bones as well as your intervertebral discs.

The second function is to facilitate the movements of your joints.

It smoothens the surface of your bones. This makes it easier for your bones to slight over each other. This is how your joint moves.

So when the cartilage disappears, it makes it harder for your joints to move. This causes a stiff back.

Luckily I have good news for you:

There is a way to compensate for this loss of mobility.

We can’t get the cartilage back yet, but you can do exercises to regain the mobility in your back. It just takes a little effort.

That’s why not everyone in their ’80s is old and stiff. It’s mainly a matter what you do about it yourself. When you get older it doesn’t come easy anymore and you have to actually work for it to stay healthy and mobile.

You can do this by doing the exercises described earlier. This will keep your lower back strong and flexible, preventing lower back pain.

Spondylolisthesis

A spondylolisthesis is often a result of the osteoarthrosis I described earlier.

When the cartilage on the facet joint disappears, these facet joints to resist the vertebrae above in its movements.

This makes it able to shift forward pulled by gravity. This gives you a hollow back and can also cause a form of sciatica.

You can try to solve this by adjusting your posture and training your back muscles. This way you can keep your back as straight as possible reducing lower back pain because of this.

The other option is a lower back surgery where they fixate your spine to prevent your spondylolisthesis to get worse.

These are the most common causes of lower back pain.

Typically there are a few situations that can cause lower back pain such as lower back pain after sleeping, lower back pain after walking or lower back pain after standing.

These all have to do something with the lower back pain causes I described above and I’m going to tell you everything about it now.

Lower back pain after sleeping

Lower back pain after sleeping is one of the most common problems people with back problems experience.




There are 2 main causes of lower back pain after sleeping:

  • Osteoarthrosis
  • Old mattress

As you already know now, Osteoarthrosis can cause lower back pain because it stiffens your lower back.

This stiffness is increased when you don’t move your back for a long period of time. This is the case in the morning after a good night sleep.

What happens is that the amount of liquids within your joints decreases when you sit still or lay down for a long time. When you start moving again everything feels stiff and hurts.

When you’ve moved for a bit your back loosens up and the pain goes away.

To solve this problem you can perform the exercises mentioned earlier. This way your back gets more flexible and also stronger. This will solve the problem.

The second cause for lower back pain after sleeping is an old or bad mattress.

A normal mattress ‘lives’ for about 10-15 years. After that, it gets too soft and doesn’t support your back enough anymore.

It will form some sort of hole what gives you a bad position lying in bed. It puts more stress on your lower back during the night, which results in lower back pain after sleeping.

So when you’re sleeping on an old mattress it just might be time to buy a new mattress and your lower back pain will be over.

Lower back pain after running

Lower back pain after running is a result of pore stability of your lower back.

Especially during running, your back has to be stabilized constantly. This is because every landing on your foot changes the forces on your back. This has to be re-stabilized.

Usually, this is done by the small muscles surrounding your lower back.

But when these muscles are reacting to slow or don’t have enough endurance, your large back muscles take over the task. They get exhausted very quickly.  This results in lower back pain after running.

To solve this problem you have to retrain the small stabilizing muscles in your lower back.

You can do this by performing the stabilizing exercise I described earlier here. Within a few weeks, this should solve your lower back pain after running.

Lower back pain when standing

Lower back pain when standing can have to causes:

  • Poor posture
  • Poor lower back stability

Many people have a very passive posture when they stand for a longer period of time. They lean back when standing.

What happens is that you don’t really use your muscles, but more the ligaments that hold your joints together.

The problem with this is that it gives a lot of pressure on the bones and joints in your lower back. This results in pain in your lower back.

The second reason is poor lower back stability. This makes you unable to stay up straight in the first place because it causes exhaustion. To avoid this you will adjust to a more passive posture.

To solve your lower back pain when standing you should correct these two things:

  • Improve your posture
  • Increase your stability

For good posture you need to pay attention to the following things when standing:

  • Place your body weight on the back of your feet
  • Slightly bend your knees
  • Pull your stomach in
  • Stretch up your chest
  • Lift up your head

In the next video, you can see how to correct yourself and what good posture looks like.

At first, it will feel weird because your body tells you it’s wrong. It will take 2 weeks of good practice to make it feel normal.

You can do this by constantly correcting yourself on your posture. After a while, you will feel that you stand correctly without thinking about it.

It can also be tiring at first but this will get over soon as well.

This exercise is also great for treating neck pain and a headache.

You can find the stability exercise here.

Lower back pain during period

Lower back pain during a period is a form of so-called referred pain.

Referred pain means that you feel pain somewhere but that the cause for this pain lies somewhere else.

This is the case in lower back pain during your period.

It works like this.

When you have your period things change in your uterus. This results in pain.

The problem is that your brain has a hard time to localize the signals correctly. This is because your uterus is innervated poorly by your nerves.

Your lower back, however, is well innervated by nerves.

So your brain projects the pain that is caused in your uterus back on your back. This is why you feel lower back pain during your period.

What helps with this are usually painkillers specific designed for this type of pain. When your period is over again the back pain will disappear as well.

Lower back pain during pregnancy




The last thing I will discuss here is lower back pain during pregnancy.

When you become pregnant your body starts to change. In early pregnancy, the lower back pain will mainly be caused by referred pain from your uterus, just like when you have your period.

Later during the pregnancy, when gain weight and your back starts to get unstable the changes in posture will be the main reason for lower back pain.

Therefore there are 2 things you should do:

  • Improve your posture
  • Improve the stability

As you can see, these are the same things as when you have lower back pain when standing. This is because the problem is more or less the same.

That’s why the solution will be more or less the same as well.

The only thing is that at some point this won’t work anymore. This will be in the last 4 weeks of your pregnancy. At this point, you just have to sit it out and wait till it’s over.

Conclusion

As you can see there are many causes and solutions for lower back pain to avoid surgery.

If you still have questions left after all this information you can send me an e-mail.

If you find our information helpful and would like to support us you can donate here through PayPal or leave a review on Google or Facebook.

Also, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more video’s.