An astonishing number of Americans spend more than a third of their day sitting at a desk. It’s a horrible habit, enforced by sedentary work conditions, and it comes with a laundry list of consequences. It increases your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and deep vein thrombosis. You’re also more likely to gain weight and have difficulty managing your diet due to minimal energy use. However, there is one consequence that you’re probably already dealing with: back pain. But we have some ways to strengthen your lower back.
Strengthen Your Lower Back for Your Desk Job
The human body was designed for movement. Staying in one position all day strains all of our most vulnerable systems, and the majority of that strain ends up affecting your spine one way or another. Now, we realize that you can’t up and quit your job, but there are a few things you can do to reduce the damage.
Getting up from your desk regularly, stretching, and exercising are great ways to give your body the support it needs to handle the demands of your job. In fact, you can use targeted exercises to strengthen your lower back to give your body the extra help it needs. Your Los Angeles spine surgeon has put together this guide to help you.
Three Exercises Your Lower Back Will Love
To strengthen your lower back, here we provide a few great options.
This exercise is great for targeting your neck, lower back, and buttocks at the same time. In order to do a bridge stretch properly, you’ll want to lay on the ground. Place both feet on the ground about a shoulders’ width apart and push your bottom up. Keep your shoulders, arms, and neck flush with the ground. Ideally, you should be able to draw a slightly rounded right triangle from your feet, to your knees, to your shoulder blades, and back to your feet along the floor.
Once in position, squeeze your buttocks together, then slowly lower yourself to the ground. You’ll want to repeat the motion about fifteen times, allowing for rest periods in between. Most experts suggest doing three sets of bridges, but you should be cautious if you feel any discomfort in your neck, shoulders, or lower back. You will feel some tension in the thighs and buttocks, but everything else should just feel like a nice stretch.
Lateral Leg Lifts
Leg lifts are a simple exercise that can be creatively used to target several different muscle groups. In this case, a lateral leg lift strengthens the hip abductor muscles, improving the support system that keeps the lower portion of your spine in position.
To do this exercise:
- Start by lying down on your side.
- Support your head with the arm closest to the ground, and stack your feet on top of each other.
- Keep your body straight by supporting yourself against the floor with your other arm.
- Simply lift the foot on top to between a 45 and 90-degree angle.
- Keep your leg straight and in line with the rest of your body.
- Lower the leg gently and repeat about 15 times per set.
To increase the challenge you can always add ankle weights or resistance bands, but proceed cautiously to avoid straining yourself.
You’ll probably feel a bit like a beached whale doing this exercise, but it’s actually a great way to work on your lower back strength. All you have to do is lie down on your front and pretend you’re a superhero. Lift your head, arms, and legs up from the floor, creating a shallow curve with your body. Hold for a moment, then gently release before repeating.
Giving Your Back What It Needs
These three exercises are a great way to start giving your body the care and support it needs. However, if you’re already in pain, then you may not want to start here. Instead, pay a visit to your local spinal specialist at Yashar Neurosurgery. For patients who are already suffering from significant back pain resulting from stationary habits, non-surgical spinal decompression in Los Angeles can provide the relief that nothing else can. From there, you and Dr. Yashar can discuss long-term options for protecting your back from further damage.