5 Moves to Fight Lower Back Pain
- Mahri Relin
- Feb 24 2014
- 1 comment
There’s a big difference between lifting a ten-pound weight at the gym and lifting (and carrying) a new baby—all day, every day. If you’re a new mama, it's natural to feel some strain in your back. But one of the best ways to avoid and relieve lower back pain after having a child is to strengthen the core as soon as possible.
“New moms experience lots of lower back pain simply because the abdomen has been stretched to its max, weakening it," says Joanna Castro, a new mom and certified trainer. "Use your core and your legs, instead of your back, to help lift your baby off the ground. Form is everything when preventing injury. You want to make sure you are staying injury free especially when you have a little person depending on you to maintain a healthy body and mind.”
Here, Mahri Relin, a NASM certified personal trainer and pre- and postnatal exercise specialist, shares five moves that will help to counteract back pain and to strengthen those core muscles.
Strengthening the Core
One way to perform a kegel is to think of engaging the muscles that stop the flow of urine. You might also want to imagine drawing up and tightening the muscles from the front opening of the vagina to the rectum, as if lifting a hammock. Make sure to keep your buttocks relaxed. Pull up these muscles, hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat two to five times a day.
Pulses in Tabletop
- Lie on your back, and place your hands under your pelvis to prop it up into a slightly tilted position. Pull the lower abs tightly to the spine. Keep them engaged as much as you can, which will also help prevent transferring too much of the work to the hip flexors.
- Lift both legs into a tabletop position, legs bent at a 90-degree angle with shins parallel to the floor. If you feel any strain on your back, lift your legs a bit higher.
- In this position, gently pulse both legs up and down in very small movements, keeping your abs engaged and pulled in at all times. The pulse comes from the feet going towards the ground and back up again with subtle lifting and lowering movements. Do 25 repetitions.
Pulses in Tabletop Variation 1: Toe Taps
- From tabletop position, tap your right toe on the ground and lift it back up to tabletop. Repeat 20 times on the right and 20 times on the left. To increase the difficulty, try tapping your toes farther away from your body.
- Once you feel comfortable with this, trying running the legs, alternately tapping each toe down to the ground. (Two toe taps equal one set.) Keep your abs engaged and pulled into the spine. Complete 20 sets.
Pulses in Tabletop Variation 2: Diamond
- From tabletop position, open your knees and keep your feet together to form a diamond shape. Pulse the legs up and down in this position. Repeat 25 times.
Stretching for Lower Back Pain Relief
Double Pigeon on the Back
- Lie on your back and bring both knees to your chest. This is a great stretch on its own, so stay here as long as you like.
- Cross one leg over the other so that both knees are touching each other.
- Grab the opposite foot in each hand (your right hand grabs the left foot and vice versa) and pull your feet out to the sides as much as possible with the knees together. Pull each foot down toward you simultaneously. You should feel a stretch in each outer hip.
- Repeat the movement on the opposite side.
Mahri Relin was a professional dancer and performer in New York City before creating her own dance-based fitness method, Body Conceptions. She was a trainer at the Tracy Anderson Method and then served as the Creative Director for FlyBarre at Flywheel Sports as it grew and developed nationally. In her private training practice, Mahri began to realize that a special fusion of the dance and fitness principles she practiced led to amazing results and also created a workout that engaged and energized her clients. Mahri is a NASM certified personal trainer and a AFPA Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist. She is a graduate of Williams College and she holds a masters in Clinical Psychology.