How to Improve Your Mobility to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Updated March 2016 

stretching and mobility

Continued from, Stretching and Lower Back Pain.

One of the keys to relieving lower back pain is to address any limited mobility one may have developed over time.  Areas such as the muscles of the lower back, hips and legs naturally become tighter and weaker with time.  Back pain itself deters one from further using these muscle groups.

This results in a cycle of further weakening and increased pain.  This weakening leads to muscle tension and tightening.   This then reduces the mobility in the lumbar spine, hip joint and knee joint.

Without adequate strengthening, a muscle does not have sufficient strength to overcome or balance out the increased tightness and shortening of the opposing, antagonistic muscles of the joint.

Although stretching is an important component in increasing the mobility needed, strengthening of antagonistic muscles are vital to aiding in releasing this tension and bringing more balance to a severely imbalanced joint.  The lumbar vertebrae and hips are most prone to this type of imbalance and require specific strengthening and stretching exercises for long term stability.

A typical example of this imbalance would be in the case where the abdominal muscles are too weak and the lower back muscles are too tight.  This is common in people with weak abdominals and anterior pelvic tilt. Chronic tension in the lower back leads to a relaxing and lengthening of the abdominal muscles.  Without adequate abdominal exercises to combat this, the imbalance leads to lumbar disc wear and injury.  There is almost no mobility of the pelvis with respect to the lumbar spine.  These muscle groups are antagonistic to one another.

Weak Abdominals and Tense Lower Back Exercise

For Hip Mobility and Disc Balance

Click Image for full instructions

Weak Abdominals Exercise

To reverse this condition, the reverse must be applied so that the abdominal muscles must become proactively antagonistic to the lower back muscles.  By exercising and strengthening the abs, together with relaxing the accumulated tension of the lower back, more balanced can be achieved.  This helps to restore pelvic mobility and brings added or even distribution of pressure on the lumbar discs.  Less strain is also applied to the facet joints thereby reducing facet joint pain.

Merely stretching the lower back muscles will not fully correct this problem as strengthening the abdominals are needed to play an antagonistic role to relaxing the lower back muscles.

Most issues of mechanical lower back pain are related to lack of mobility. By conditioning and strengthening weaker muscles one can relieve tension from over tight and tense antagonistic ones.  Increased mobility reduces the chronic tension that is placed on the lumbar discs and vertebrae.  This reduces risk of injury and pain dramatically.

There are many important exercises available that can be used to target chronic low back pain.  Long term reliefcan be achieved through a thorough and proven exercise program designed on this foundation.

“the ideas here apply to several forms of chronic pain, in my case hip pain. Simple, easy to understand steps that have made a huge difference in pain management and improving quality of life – thank you”