Lumbar Lower Back Pain – Exercises Workout and Stretches

Q: I am a girl of age 19. From the last few months I am experiencing a severe pain in my back. Initially it was in my shoulders, but these days it has even spread to my lower back and sometimes left leg too. I am done with x-rays and MRI test, but it shows no sign of abnormality. Doctor said that it’s all due to stress from my studies, but the fact is that I am enjoying my studies to the fullest. I don’t feel stressed in any way. I feel like my doctor doesn’t examine me properly. He gave me a pain killer and back exercises which are to be done 15 times in the morning and same amount in the evening. But I don’t feel any relief. Please guide me.
– By Raveena

Reply:

It’s very good that you are enjoying your studies. Keep it up!
As far your neck and back are concerned, it looks more like a functional problem. If it were any orthopedic problem, it would have shown up on the investigations you had.
Stress is of many kinds. Mental stress is just one kind. Another is physical stress.
Long study hours do require you to sit on the chair for long. This typically makes the back and neck areas stiff. When such episodes are repeated, it leads to a sore back.

Management

  • You don’t have to cut down on your studies. While you study, all your muscles are flexed (contracted). Relaxing or stretching exercises need to be done.
  • Take frequent breaks between your study sessions. For every hour or so that you work, take a 10-15 minutes break. This also gives your brain a little rest and keeps you more focused when you are actually doing work.
  • Drink a lot of water. It’s good for your brain so you will be able to concentrate more. And a big plus is that the bags underneath you’re eyes won’t look that bad!

Recommended Exercises and Workout for Back

Ankle Pumps: Lie on your back. Move ankles up and down. Repeat 10 times.
Heel Slides: Lie on your back. Slowly bend and straighten knee. Repeat 10 times.
Abdominal Contraction: Lie on your back with knees bent and hands resting below ribs. Tighten abdominal muscles to squeeze ribs down towards back. Be sure not to hold breath. Hold 5 seconds. Relax.
Repeat 10 times.
Extend yourself backwards gradually. Hold for 5 seconds and then gradually come back to normal position. Repeat this 5 times.
Wall Squats: Stand with back leaning against wall. Walk feet 12 inches in front of body. Keep abdominal muscles tight while slowly bending both knees 45 degrees. Hold 5 seconds. Slowly return to upright position. Repeat 10 times.
Heel Raises: Stand with weight even on both feet. Slowly raise heels up and down. Repeat 10 times.
Straight Leg Raises: Lie on your back with one leg straight and one knee bent. Tighten abdominal muscles to stabilize low back. Slowly lift leg straight up about 6 to 12 inches and hold 1 to 5 seconds. Lower leg slowly. Repeat 10 times.
Hamstring Stretch: Lie on your back with legs bent. Hold one thigh behind knee. Slowly straighten knee until a stretch is felt in back of thigh. Hold 20 seconds. Relax. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Remember – do everything you can to protect your back because surgery rarely helps once you have screwed it up!
Let’s follow all this for some time more. If even after a month your back does not seem to improve, we’ll have to investigate further. May be it’s not an orthopedic problem. Disorders like fibromyalgia have to be ruled out.
Take Care,
Buddy M.D.