Lower back exercises
In the above video, Kenny from Physio K is showing an exercise program for people with lower back pain, tailored for people who have disc issues or sciatic nerve problems. Numbness in the bum or further down the leg or the feeling of pins and needles could be an indication of this problem.
1. Cat cow exercise.
On your hands and knees, in all four position, making sure that your hips are above your knees and your hands are underneath your shoulders. Try to tilt your pelvis forward and backwards. We're going to focus on the lower back, imagining tucking a tail in between your legs and then putting your tail up in the air. The curved up position is a bit like how a cat is rounding its back and the opposite, curved down position, is similar to the position of a cow. Make sure you stay mid range, don’t push all the way up or down if you have disc issues or sciatic nerve irritation. Do this for about a minute: 20 to 30 times and if possible multiple times a day.
2. McKenzie extension exercise
Laying on your tummy on a mat on the floor and putting your elbows underneath your shoulders (sphinx pose). Try to extend your lower back and look up with your head. You'll have a little bit of compression in the lower back which is great for your disc and you can also feel a little bit of stretch in the front so that's why you have to look up to have the maximum amount of stretch in the front.
Stay in that position for 20 - 25 seconds and go down again. Do that four to five times in a row. If this is too easy for you then you can go to the next step, which is trying to extend your elbows. Put your hands underneath your shoulders, extend your elbows totally and try to relax in your back and look up.
3. Stretch of the Piriformis
Laying on your back on a mat, pull up one leg and grab your knee with one hand and grab your heel with your other hand. The purpose is to try and pull your knee towards your
opposite shoulder and make sure you leave your head relaxed on the table. You should feel a deep stretch under your glutes. The piriformis is a muscle that's laying in the pelvis, underneath your glutes. That's a very important muscle for your nerve health. If you have any kind of nerve issues make sure you do that stretch. Hold this position for 20 to 25 seconds, relax, do that four or five times in a row. Make sure you have a straight angle in your knee which is 90 degrees and pull across
4. Nerve glider
Laying on your back on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. If the problem is on the right side, then you'll do the exercise with your right leg. Put your right knee on top of your left knee and then, in this position, relax your foot and try to extend your right knee up and down. Don't hold, don't try to stretch, we're trying to get a glide in the nerve. This is a good stand alone exercise, or could be used as a warm up. The next step is the same thing but at the same time, pull your toes towards your nose while you extend the knee and then go down again, leaving your knee on top of the other one. Try to do 20 to 30 repetitions each, a few times per day.