If sharp back pain has already occurred, it is quite possible that you will have to learn to tolerate it for a time while learning some exercises which will help you to reduce the pain.
Below we will present some reliable exercises which will help people suffering from back pain and sciatica. You need to remember that if you have already had back surgery, or the pain intensifies following exercises, that you must immediately stop further rehabilitation and visit your physiotherapist to be recommended a different approach. However, if you feel pressure only in the lower part of the back, everything is fine. If you decide to visit a good physiotherapist (information about recommended physiotherapists can be found on a separate link), which we strongly advise you to do, ask them what they suggest regarding specific exercises. They should recommend a specific set of back exercises to be done at home.
McKenzie Back Exercise 1
Lie on your front on a stable surface (see the picture above) such as the floor or a foam mattress. Put your hands palm down on the floor 20cm to either side of your head. After 10 seconds inhale through the nose and push up from your hands. Once your head is raised, exhale through the mouth and keep the position for 4-5 seconds. Go back to the starting position and repeat 10 times.
Repeat this exercise during the day as much as possible. The more you exercise, the quicker you will notice a positive effect, and pain relief speeds up. Three times a day is good, 5-6 times is excellent. Remember that to a large extent the well-being of your spine depends on your own work.
The McKenzie back exercise described above should be repeated at least three times per day. After a week your spine will be ready for the second McKenzie back exercise.
McKenzie Back Exercise 2
After doing the first McKenzie exercise mentioned above, lie on your right side. Lift your left leg and left arm a couple of centimeters above the floor. Imagine a clock face above you. Your head is at 12 o’clock, while your legs are at 6 o’clock. Straighten your left leg so it is at 5 o’clock, and your left arm to 11 o’clock. Your left leg and arm should be in a straight line. Now try to straighten up and stretch your leg as much as possible whilst straightening your left arm in order not to overburden your shoulders.
It is helpful to imagine that there are two hands on your torso which will separate from each other as you are stretching your leg. Keep the position for a couple of seconds, and then allow your arm and leg to fall to the floor. Repeat the exercise 5 times, and relax for a moment.
Next, remaining on your right side, lift your left arm and leg, put your leg at 7 o’clock, and arm at 1 o’clock, so they form a straight line. Again try to straighten your leg as much as possible while straightening your arm just a little. Keep the position for a couple of seconds. Repeat 5 times, and relax.
Now, go back to the first McKenzie back exercise and repeat 10 times. Following this, turn to your left side and repeat the second McKenzie back exercise again, but using the right arm and leg. After this, for the final time, repeat the first exercise 10 times.
Personally I have repeated these McKenzie back exercises every day for the last 3 months, and I am aware they are not the easiest ones. It is important to remember, however, that the most effective way to eliminate back pain is systematic work. It is best when rehabilitation is supervised by a physiotherapist, who as your trainer will motivate you to be more systematic in your approach.